Thames Water, the UK's largest water services company, approached us alongside Microsoft to help them achieve an ambitious S/4HANA project and a first for the utilities industry.
Thames Water are early adopters in the world of digital change, championing an agile and data-led IT strategy. An enterprise level drive to move the business to SAP S/4HANA as a primary technology, alongside a shift to Microsoft Azure meant automation was required in order to realise the benefits of both platforms, and enable a modern operating model.
The scope of this project, which involved automation at an infrastructure layer alongside the HANA database, the NetWeaver platform and the S4 product, was not only a first for the utilities industry, but a world first. The business made the decision to insource their Cloud team, bucking the trend of the industry, and tasking them with delivering world-leading automation, to deliver SAP S/4 environments in hours rather than weeks.
The first challenge faced by the Thames team was the need to blend both Microsoft Azure and SAP technical skills to manipulate cutting edge technology from both vendors, ensuring the best possible outcomes. The desire to use code at an infrastructure layer, and also further up the stack, meant support was required to complement the newly formed in-house team.
Centiq were selected to assist in the delivery of the project following an introduction from Microsoft, based on our unique combination of HANA, Linux, SAP on Azure and DevOps expertise. Centiq's Define, Design, and Build methodology engaged all key stakeholders in an agile working process from day one, where daily reviews, and iteration demonstrations were standard practice.
We achieved a four month duration to deliver the design for a highly configured RedHat, SAP HANA Cluster on Azure, alongside the code needed to deploy the design. Following the success of Phase 1, Centiq were invited to implement a second phase project: to deliver the design and build for S/4HANA and B/4HANA applications, championing automation and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) principles.
Paul Haigh, Head of Cloud Thames Water