Centrica’s global desktop delivers agility and sustainability

Industry: Utilities |  Solution: Digital business

Centrica

Cloud-first global energy company gains scalability and sustainability

Centrica plc is an international energy services and solutions company with locations all around the world, ranging from customer contact centers to energy traders working in the financial markets. A cloud-first strategy enables the business to deliver agility and sustainability.

26M
customers

30,000
employees

1,200
applications

Business challenge

Centrica used a virtual desktop solution running on physical servers in its datacenters. The solution functioned well though was difficult to scale at speed or cost-effectively.

“The need for flexibility and scalability was a big driver for change. Whenever we had to expand the platform, it took four months to go through the paperwork, purchase and deploy the hardware. It was costly and not very agile,” explains Patrick Babic, Service Owner for Centrica’s End User Computing (EUC) team. This made it impossible to flex capacity in line with business seasonality, such as the greater demand on contact centers during the UK’s winter period.

As the server hardware was approaching end of life, the team, along with Citrix and Centrica’s EUC service partner Fujitsu, saw an opportunity for a new approach. Centrica has a cloud-first strategy and moving the virtual desktop to cloud would allow the business to simplify and standardize its desktop while also bringing greater flexibility, cost savings and carbon reductions.

The solution

From design to deployment in just five months – two desktop solutions were rolled out to 18,000 users around the world. For standard users, a single desktop, collating and simplifying 1,200 different applications. For energy traders, where their trading software did not support a move to cloud, the team designed an on-premises desktop located in the private datacenter used by traders.

Using Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service means that staff have the same, familiar desktop experience while IT enjoys streamlined management processes like patching, app testing and delivery. Ultimately, as Darren Miles, Centrica’s Vice President of Enterprise Services, says, “The benefit is the user experience. It gives our frontline staff a common experience, which means we can better serve our customers.”

Citrix ADC brings added flexibility, as James Boswell, Centrica’s Global Director of End User Computing explains, “Citrix ADC allows our workforce to use any device, connect into the corporate network and use corporate applications. It enables our employees to work remotely on any device and be both agile and secure.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the UK government announced its lockdown policy, Centrica was able to move quickly to maintain service to its customers.

“Using the Citrix platform, Microsoft Teams and working in an agile fashion, we were able to respond very quickly,” says Boswell. “Azure and Citrix Cloud services meant we could go rapidly from 2,000 users a day on the new platform to 14,000, taking tens of thousands of customer calls. We had whole contact centers working from home, almost immediately. As we added more people, the platform just auto-scaled to handle the additional workload.”

Centrica is already seeing efficiency savings in IT management, with fewer management servers in operation. Unexpectedly, the sudden move to empowered remote-working resulted in a decrease in calls to IT support, indicating future savings from a flexible model.

Results

Saving IT costs

Centrica’s desktop project is already cost-neutral and the business forecasts it will see cost savings in the first full year of operation.

Supporting sustainability goals

Reduced infrastructure footprint and low-energy devices means reduced energy consumption, while remote workers equates to reduced emissions.

Agility and scalability to meet customer needs

Cloud services enabled rapid business continuity during the pandemic, enabling call centers to be up and running and taking calls in just a few hours.

Citrix gave us the agility and scalability to meet our customers' needs, and the ability to respond at the pace we did, to serve our most vulnerable customers.

Darren Miles
VP of Enterprise Services
Centrica plc

Read the full customer story

About Centrica

Centrica plc is an international energy services and solutions company serving 26 million customers in the UK, Ireland and North America. The business has 30,000 employees in locations all around the world, ranging from customer contact centers to energy traders working in the financial markets. As a major energy services business, Centrica is committed to protecting the planet and has set itself an ambitious target to become carbon neutral by 2050.

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Citrix gave us the agility and scalability to meet our customers' needs, and the ability to respond at the pace we did, to serve our most vulnerable customers.
Darren Miles
VP of Enterprise Services
Centrica plc

Industry

Solution + Key Benefits

  • Citrix Cloud Services delivers a secure, scalable and energy-efficient desktop for 18,000 users.
  • Citrix ADC provides secure, remote access to corporate resources from any device, anywhere.