AWS for Industries

EDF stays connected during Covid-19 pandemic

A key focus of our IT team here at EDF whilst working through Covid-19 is to maintain connectivity and continuity of service for our associates and customers alike. As the UK’s largest generator of low carbon electricity and a competitive energy provider, we aim to be available to our customers however and whenever they chose. Covid challenged our IT team to meet an urgent need to support remote connectivity for EDF customer operations normally located in offices. These customer teams work out of physical call centers located around the world — including Manila, Kolkata and Brighton in the UK — so we can provide around the clock coverage.

We first turned to our current capabilities from Citrix. The goal was to maximize use of existing capabilities before looking towards new solutions. The timeline to assess needs and deploy any new capability was very tight. As sheltering orders were rolled out around the globe, we needed to make sure our customers could always reach us and that meant ensuring our customer operations were ready. Particularly for Manila, where lockdowns came with almost no notice, we needed to move quickly. To meet our full range of needs, we ultimately turned to Amazon WorkSpaces.

Our team charter prioritizes safety, security, reliability, and agility. We needed to automate user roll out processes in a pre-configured and easily deployable approach. The goal was for users to deploy without need for direct interaction with our IT team. We wanted to be responsive and agile, and we achieved this using end-to-end self-service automation. We deployed ServiceNow to allow users to deploy WorkSpaces capabilities themselves.

EDF CIO Kelvin Wing (Photo Courtesy EDF)

Normally we locate our data in Dublin, but after initial roll out and testing, we realized response times would improve from the AWS Singapore Availability Zone. Using our cloud automated approach, and with the help of AWS, we were able to quickly move to AWS Singapore in less than a week and our users in the region had a better experience. We’ve since rolled out to over 900 workstations worldwide, and we’ve stood up the WorkSpaces capability in London as well. As our teams begin to return to the office we’re looking at new use cases.

The brilliant thing about standing up these capabilities in AWS is that we’ve been able to cycle up and cycle down as needed without making any capital investments whilst still ensuring excellent connectivity and service for our associates and customers. EDF has done much to support our communities throughout Covid, but maintaining our standards for timely customer support has been particularly critical, especially for our most vulnerable customers. Many of our customers have faced financial hardships due to Covid, and they’ve needed to reach us more than normal.

Simply put, we could not have met these needs at the speed required without the use of AWS services, WorkSpaces, and the support of our utility account team at AWS. Based on surveys and recent customer feedback, our EDF UK associates around the world have met the remote work challenges of Covid spot on, with a little help from our friends and colleagues at AWS.

About EDF UK:

EDF UK is an integrated energy company with operations spanning electricity generation and the sale of natural gas and electricity to homes and businesses with 5.7 million customers throughout the United Kingdom. We’re proud to be the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity. We believe that, together, we can create a cleaner, low-carbon future – helping Britain achieve net zero.

About Amazon WorkSpaces:

Amazon WorkSpaces enables you to provision virtual, cloud-based Microsoft Windows or Amazon Linux desktops for your users, known as WorkSpaces. Amazon WorkSpaces eliminates the need to procure and deploy hardware or install complex software. You can quickly add or remove users as your needs change. Users can access their virtual desktops from multiple devices or web browsers.

Kelvin Wing

Kelvin Wing

Kelvin Wing has been CIO at EDF since 2018. With a career spanning more than 40 years in the UK electricity industry, Kelvin started out in customer services before making the switch to information systems and IT, holding a wide range of senior project, service management and IT operations leadership roles. Kelvin is passionate about innovation, partnership working and empowering the team to deliver excellence for customers.