Centrica Powers Multibillion-Dollar Enterprise Using SAP on AWS
Capgemini is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner
Centrica maximizes the performance of the financial systems controlling its multibillion-dollar business with SAP S/4HANA running on AWS. Centrica is a leading international energy services and solutions organization with annual revenues of £26.8 billion (US $35.2 billion). With support from AWS Premier Consulting Partner Capgemini, it migrated 15 SAP financial systems to AWS in just 10 weeks, using AWS Landing Zone and Amazon EC2 for compute and Amazon EBS, Amazon EFS, and Amazon S3 for storage.
Global Energy Business Running on SAP
Centrica is an international energy services and solutions company headquartered in the UK. It supplies services and solutions to over 26.2 million customers in the UK, Ireland, and the US. Centrica, a FTSE 250 company, produces and processes gas and oil and develops new fields to maintain reserves in Europe and the US. It has more than 26,000 employees.
The organization’s financial systems use SAP S/4HANA, a leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) application providing real-time data insights. The SAP suite of applications plays a critical role with finance teams across its global operations who use them to determine the company’s financial position and deliver crucial monthly, quarterly, and annual reports.
Aging On-Premises Platform behind S/4HANA
Centrica needed to replace many of the 100-plus servers supporting the SAP landscape when they reached end of life. It couldn’t risk any issues affecting the performance of the software supporting its global enterprise. “We had to take action—we couldn’t extend the life of the infrastructure,” says Lloyd Smith, Director of Enterprise Systems and Services (SAP) at Centrica. “We spent a lot of time deciding on our best option to make sure we got it right.”
AWS Provides the Right Solution
The best option for Centrica’s SAP S/4HANA suite was AWS. “We have a substantial relationship with AWS, and we run many of our business workloads on AWS,” comments Smith. “While we work with several cloud providers, we decided that the group financial SAP applications would be run on AWS. We trust it to deliver the performance and reliability we need.”
Moreover, Centrica could migrate to SAP on AWS with the support of Capgemini, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN). “Over roughly seven years, Capgemini had been managing the SAP financial systems’ on-premises infrastructure,” recounts Smith. “It always ensured the infrastructure had the right capacity and usage reporting was good. We knew Capgemini had the skills to handle the migration to AWS.”
Seamless Migration Even during Lockdown
Working with Capgemini, Centrica migrated its SAP finance systems to AWS in just 10 weeks—despite everyone having to work remotely. In that short period, SAP consultants from AWS Professional Services and AWS solutions architects made sure Capgemini and Centrica had the support they needed to accelerate and de-risk the migration. They also ensured operational best practices for SAP workloads running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) virtual machines, with a combination of Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storage.
Capgemini then built a highly secure AWS Landing Zone and deployed the Capgemini cloud management platform. With the AWS Landing Zone in place, Centrica gained a major advantage. It automated the deployment of the identity and access management, governance, and data security controls for the seamlessly scalable Amazon EC2 instances running the SAP applications.
Looking back on the migration, Smith comments, “Working remotely was new to all of us. Yet we managed to build a platform of 130-plus virtual machines and migrate 15 SAP applications and around 35 terabytes of data in just 10 weeks without disruption to the organization. It shows how flexible Capgemini and AWS were around the project and committed from the start to delivering a successful outcome. We established a high level of trust.”
“I’m incredibly proud of what everyone has achieved by working together, and we’re on our path to delivering growth through technology for Centrica.”
- Darren Miles, Chief Information Officer, Centrica
Reduces S/4HANA Costs 20–30%
By migrating SAP to AWS, Centrica reduced the costs for the SAP S/4HANA–based financial systems by 20–30 percent compared with the on-premises solution. Smith comments, “These savings align our SAP system with a number of Centrica’s strategic goals. We are reducing costs to serve customers as well as rationalizing and simplifying our operations.”
Increases Agility through Rapid Scaling
On AWS, the SAP S/4HANA systems are now more agile than before. Thanks to the flexibility of AWS services such as Amazon EC2, infrastructure and environments can be quickly scaled up and down as needed to support requirements such as financial year-end reporting. The performance boost from AWS has enabled Centrica to capitalize on the real-time insights available in SAP S/4HANA. Miles says, “Being able to access real-time data will bring us advantages in developing new products and services and the ability to scale new businesses in other markets.”
Enables Continued Digital Transformation
Centrica can respond quicker to requests from the business for new environments, providing better support to personnel. “People and culture come first,” says Miles. “My vision is that everyone in Centrica will have the opportunity to learn about how digital will improve their working life. Working with AWS, we can test its latest products and services, learning all the time.”
By using AWS, Centrica can further drive innovation, delivering more value to customers and shareholders. Miles concludes, “Our vision is a world where our interactions with customers will be more efficient because we’ll have access to real-time data. We’ll be able to tailor conversations with customers, using artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
Centrica is an international energy services and solutions provider that supplies electricity and gas to more than 26.2 million customers. The organization, which has over 26,000 employees worldwide, is divided into Centrica Consumer and Centrica Business. It is focusing investment on the consumer-facing business, enhancing its capabilities in areas such as energy optimization in homes.
Capgemini is a global leader in consulting, digital transformation, technology, and engineering services. At the forefront of innovation, it addresses the breadth of clients’ opportunities in the evolving world of the cloud, digital, and platforms. Building on its 50-year heritage and deep industry-specific expertise, Capgemini enables organizations to realize their business ambitions through services ranging from strategy to operations. In 2019, it reported combined global revenues of €17 billion ($20 billion).
Published December 2020