04 May 2006View Comments
Energy giant Centrica has moved its £400m transformation programme in-house, taking back the running of the project from consultancy Accenture.
Centrica’s five-phase Jupiter customer relationship management (CRM) scheme launched in 2002 to consolidate the separate gas and electricity systems of its subsidiary, British Gas.
Centrica says it will continue to use Accenture for warranty work, but will carry out the project management itself.
‘We have transitioned the programme migration and support operations in-house, having developed the internal expertise,’ said a spokeswoman.
Jupiter’s first two stages, using Siebel software to create a single customer view, are in place. The third step is to migrate 17 million domestic energy accounts onto one SAP billing platform.
Centrica says the programme is on schedule and the third phase will be done by the end of 2006.
But company documents indicate a series of delays stretching back at least two years. An executive briefing in 2003 said the SAP migration phase was to be completed by mid-2004. And Paul Bysouth, the director in charge of Jupiter, is quoted as saying legacy billing systems will be terminated by the end of 2005.
By February 2004, an internally-circulated article by Paul Bowtell, British Gas director of finance, acknowledged a ‘frustrating’ nine-month delay.
In the 2003 documents British Gas managing director Mark Clare said that 2004 would be ‘a heavy year in terms of delivery cost’ because the company would be running new SAP software and old legacy systems.
So far only a third of customer accounts have been migrated onto SAP, and the parallel platforms will run until the end of this year.
Outsourcing expert Mark Kobayashi-Hillary says insourcing is rarely a positive decision.
‘Most insourcing is when a firm’s major outsourcing programme doesn’t work as well as expected so they retrench and bring it back in-house before deciding on the best way forward,’ he said.
Centrica is Accenture’s second big customer to bring a major programme back in-house – in October last year Sainsbury’s terminated its £1.7bn contract with the consultancy. The supplier also recently announced it is holding £260m of current profits against expected future losses on its two NHS IT programme contracts.
Accenture declined to comment.
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