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Customer Story

Automate Studio Powers Mass Uploads of HR Data at Centrica

Centrica is an integrated energy company that secures and supplies gas and electricity to over 20 million business and residential customers across the United Kingdom and North America. Operating under its core retail brand names, British Gas and Direct Energy, Centrica is the largest supplier of natural gas in the UK and one of the largest energy and energy-related services providers in the United States and Canada. The company also offers drain cleaning and plumbing, as well as lock and security services, through the Dyno Group.

Centrica employs almost 34,000 people worldwide and went live with SAP in 1997.

In 2009, Centrica embarked on a project to implement a new identity access management system, a move that would reconcile data from SAP HR as the trusted source and access to Centrica’s UK-based IT systems. “Our HR databases included all of our paid employees, but we needed to capture data for our non-payroll contractors and third-party suppliers to ensure that each person that accessed our systems had a unique identifier,” says Julie Hunt, HR Business Solutions Analyst at Centrica.

Called the Identity Access Management (IAM) project, the plan not only required the company to update its backend systems, but it also meant that Centrica had to upload 5,500 new records to its SAP HR module quickly. “Usually, for bulk uploads, we would have to spend time determining if our developers had already created a tool that would work. If not, it would take them at least another two months to develop, test, and deploy one,” Hunt says. “If we had to wait that long to start updating our data, the entire IAM project would be delayed. That just wasn’t an acceptable option for us.”

Hunt and her team began searching for a technology that would accelerate bulk uploads to SAP and bypass the lengthy in-house custom development process. They found that solution in Automate Studio.

“When we had to create our own upload tools, it required at least two months for development, testing, and implementation. Even worse, if you needed to make any changes, it meant the tool would be back in development for at least another two months. With Automate Studio, we can create a new script and start uploading within a matter of hours, a change that has enabled us to respond to the needs of the business much more quickly.” — Julie Hunt, HR Business Solutions Analyst, Centrica

Centrica had been using Automate Studio in other areas of its business, specifically to manage maintenance at its energy plants. “Another internal unit within the company was using Automate Studio to streamline plant maintenance functions, so they approached us and suggested we try it,” Hunt says. “ After we l earned more about the technology and explored its functionalities, Automate Studio seemed like the ideal tool for accelerating the bulk data uploads that HR needed to accomplish.”

Read more about how Centrica successfully uploaded non-payroll information to SAP within a short timeframe and adjusted trade union rates for thousands of employees in one day.