Centrica looks to the cloud to support collaboration with global teams and third parties.

Centrica is an integrated energy company, operating predominately in North America and the UK. Upstream, it sources, generates, processes, trades and stores energy. Downstream, it supplies gas and electricity to millions of homes and businesses, offering a distinctive range of home energy solutions and low carbon products and services.

Centrica has hundreds of projects taking place across the country at any one time. To help the company implement these ventures successfully, it works with a variety of third parties. The type of third party and skills required are dictated by the project, but each has one thing in common; a constant stream of communication. This communication is vital to ensuring that projects continue to move forward, that everyone is kept up-to-date on the latest developments, and that work is completed within the designated timeframe.

Kiffey Dalvi, Senior Project Manager, Centrica explains: “Depending on the project, we might have teams in the US, Glasgow, India and Germany all working together. The teams are remote – if they have a question, they can’t just walk across the office and ask a colleague. Previously, these teams were collaborating over email and it wasn’t proving productive in terms of fostering and supporting a workforce. When you have people working together over four different time zones, all inputting into one document, it is easy to get confused about the status of activities.”

 

"When you have people working together, all inputting into one document, it is easy to get confused about the status of activities.” 

 

Relying on email, made keeping track of approvals and amendments for auditing purposes overly complex. Centrica was also faced with the issue of sharing large files. The files that teams need to collaborate on, such as property catalogues, are exceptionally large and exceeded mailbox limits. Although the content could be sent via ‘YouSendIt’, it was impossible to know if the file had been received, successfully downloaded and that the recipient was clear about next steps.

“Email is in no way intuitive. You need to sift through your inbox and pick out what you believe to be the latest version. It’s unproductive and frustrating for all concerned. We wanted to give our partners a more interactive and user friendly platform to swap ideas and collaborate on,” Dalvi continued. Centrica selected Huddle as it was the only collaboration platform that was able to offer the security measures the company required. Centrica often gives third parties access to commercially sensitive information. For example, it shares its interim results with PricewaterhouseCoopers via Huddle so that the consultancy can write its annualn report. The organization needed to ensure that the data would not be compromised or viewed by someone who does not have the right level of authorisation. Using Huddle, Centrica can create secure workspaces specific to each project and they can be only accessed by the individuals working on it. Since implementing Huddle, Centrica and the third parties it works with no longer experience the administrative burdens previously associated with managing projects. 

 

"Centrica selected Huddle as it was the only collaboration platform that was able to offer the security measures the company required."

 

Dalvi explains: “Everything is now streamlined. If you make a change to the document, all you need to do is upload it and notify the rest of the team. They can then go in, add their thoughts and notify you that the document has been reviewed. Rather than trawling through email, everyone knows that the document is on Huddle and as there is only one copy, it’s the correct one. We now have more than 300 active users using Huddle.” “The adoption of Huddle has grown organically across the organization as people in different teams work together and see how it could benefit their department. For example, their HR department now interacts with our debt recovery agency using Huddle as it makes more sense then going back and forth over email.”

The audit trail capabilities of Huddle have also proven to be exceptionally useful. At the click of a button, project managers can now access information about amendments and authorizations, which is particularly important as Centrica operates in a heavily regulated industry. “Huddle has given us a one stop shop to manage our communication. From finance and project management through to HR, Huddle has made us much more focused and efficient.” 

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