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Costain: Turning data to value for more cost-effective infrastructure management

Explore Costain’s journey with SAP

When the UK transportation sector needed help consolidating and accessing siloed data, Costain proposed an intelligent infrastructure control centre (IICC) built on SAP Business Technology Platform. By unifying project data, the hope was to make transportation projects more efficient while lowering emissions and saving public funds.



lower IT infrastructure costs, thanks to data virtualisation in SAP HANA.



increase in machine efficiency as measured by idle machine time, helping lower emissions and costs.



targeted cost savings of spend over five years (£180 billion of £600 billion).

Our goal is to digitalise the infrastructure sector. SAP Business Technology Platform helps drive innovation that optimises existing infrastructure, development, and the UK’s net-zero carbon journey.

Charlie Davies
Strategic Growth Manager
Costain Group plc

The Challenge

Unifying project data to increase visibility and lower costs

Whether traveling under the sea in the Channel Tunnel or under the street on the London Underground, safe, reliable, sustainable, and cost-effective infrastructure is critical to UK society.


Costain Group plc delivers cutting-edge integrated, smart infrastructure solutions to meet transportation, water, energy, and defence needs. When the nation’s transportation bodies were struggling with consolidating infrastructure project data from disparate, siloed sources, they chose Costain. 


To improve data management and enhance analytics across the UK’s £600 billion capital infrastructure investment portfolio, Costain proposed a common data platform called the intelligent infrastructure control centre (IICC). The goal was to increase visibility and insight so teams could make faster, data-driven decisions that would streamline planning, increase equipment performance, improve financial tracking, reduce the carbon footprint, and lower transportation infrastructure costs.

The Solution

Collaborating to build an intelligent infrastructure control centre (IICC)

Costain enlisted the help of SAP and Keytree, a Deloitte business, to co-develop the IICC using SAP Business Technology Platform


The company used the SAP HANA Cloud database and SAP HANA smart data integration to create a central, real-time database and enable data virtualisation. Data is sourced from third-party systems, including those for program management and costing, as well as external sources, such as weather and site access. 


The SAP Analytics Cloud solution allows real-time data analysis and provides easily accessible dashboards with live views of external data and KPIs for project performance. The SAP Data Intelligence Cloud solution uses machine learning-based modelling to predict complex project plans and external factors, like weather. 


With SAP Integration Suite, an open connector framework allows APIs to be consumed directly through virtual tables or to pass through the suite by way of OData. Data held by suppliers and customers can be complemented with external APIs for things such as air quality. 

The Result

Using data transparency to boost efficiency, reduce emissions, and save on IT

With the IICC and SAP Business Technology Platform, the UK transportation sector has the data intelligence it needs to effectively manage operations and inform processes. 


With data virtualisation making siloed data available, 80% of all data is now accessible, up from 30%. Full data transparency allows all management levels to see the impact of day-to-day project activities, providing critical information to help support key government decision-makers. Predictive analytics reduce unknowns and lower risk while helping further cut costs and increase project efficiencies. 


The IICC has helped lower infrastructure costs by 66%, as data virtualisation eliminates the need for siloed data warehouses. This, in turn, lessens the need for data centres, helping the sector reduce its carbon footprint and achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. As data doesn’t reside in the platform, security is improved and customer adoption barriers are lowered. 

The Keytree team has been critical to the success of the IICC project. They help us use SAP Business Technology Platform to turn data into real value for the public and the planet.

Tim Embley
Research, Innovation, and Emerging Technology Director
Costain Group plc

Future Plans

Increasing data value across the infrastructure sector with intelligent technology

As Costain and Keytree continue developing the IICC, new innovations are in the works. 


Advanced analytics leveraging SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP HANA Cloud, and SAP Data Intelligence Cloud are being used to project task progress against plans to tell if performance is on track. Time-series analysis can correlate combined cost projections and progress models against potentially influencing external factors. 


Meanwhile, cloud-based data and analytics using SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Digital Boardroom will enable real-time mapping of construction sites that can be accessed using SAP Integration Suite. Machine learning using SAP Data Intelligence Cloud aims to enhance the IICC’s productivity engine and help model complex project plans using external data. 


Looking forward, SAP HANA Blockchain service will enable automated payments through distributed ledger technology, and SAP Integration Suite will be used for further cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-on-premise integrations with SAP and third-party applications. 

SAP helps Costain run better

Key business outcomes and benefits

  • Faster, data-driven decisions to maximise the economic, environmental, and social benefits of each project
  • 80% of all data accessible – up from 30%
  • Data virtualisation that eliminates siloed data warehouses and reduces the need for data centres
  • Increased data security
  • Predictive analytics to lower risk, increase efficiency, and cut costs 

Featured solutions and services

  • SAP Business Technology Platform brings data management, analytics, AI, application development, automation, and integration into one, unified environment.
  • SAP Analytics Cloud combines business intelligence, augmented and predictive analytics, and planning capabilities into one cloud environment, supporting advanced analytics.
  • SAP Data Intelligence Cloud transforms distributed data sprawls into vital data insights, delivering innovation at scale.
  • SAP Integration Suite allows you to you combine on-premise and cloud-based applications and processes with tools and prebuilt content.

About Costain

Partner to government agencies in the United Kingdom, Costain Group plc offers consultancy and digital technology services, asset optimisation, and complex program management for infrastructure projects. From implementing high-speed rail to upgrading the London Underground, the company helps ensure maximum economic, environmental, and social benefits for every project. 

Featured partner

Keytree, a Deloitte business and member of SAP AppHaus Network, brings a design-led, human-centered approach to supporting everything from integration and data management to data intelligence and analytics. It helps partners get maximum value from their technologies.

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