Complex Project and Programme Management – Utilities

Anglian Water is the largest water and water recycling company in England and Wales by geographic area, supplying water and water recycling services to more than six million domestic and business customers in the east of England.

Their Story

Business Intelligence (BI) is an increasingly essential tool for largescale businesses. This is particularly true within the utility sector, which can use critical business data to support decisions on capital investment, automation processes and to help their customers manage their usage.

For Anglian Water BI is widely used to make data-driven business decisions. At any one time, multiple BI projects can be in motion.

Following a previous project management engagement with Anglian Water, where we had worked with the internal BI team to help them successfully run a series of BI projects, the Programme Director reached out once again for our expertise.

Whilst they still had a portfolio of BI work to do, they were coming under increasing pressure because of their existing systems – SAP Business Warehouse and Business Objects, as well as MS Access and MS Excel, reports.

Business Objects was running out of support, as was the underlying infrastructure.

Often from a management perspective, there is a shortage of skilled BI project managers which is hard to fill. Anglian Water had limited knowledge of SAP Business Warehouse. This meant they didn’t have the in-house expertise to action any changes or tweaks needed, and this had to be farmed out to a third party – proving costly and inflexible.

The key challenge was to improve the BI service within Anglian Water.

The internal BI team were over-subscribed and required dedicated project and programme management support. We were able to apply our Portfolio Management methodology framework to introduce more control and better use of the available resource. We helped the business prioritise their BI projects, fully align with businesses objectives and create a more focused road-map of work.

Our role was to go-to-market, perform an RFI based on their future requirements, and present solution options back to the IT Director, the relevant BI teams and other stakeholders, along with key recommendations.

We explored a number of viable options, narrowing it down to three:

  1. Do nothing – in this case, a viable solution. This meant that it would continue to be unsupported externally, but supported by an internal team.
  2. To upgrade their existing system to a later version. Enabling richer functionality and continuity because it was an existing system.
  3. Or go for a new ‘gold plated’ solution which had new in-memory capabilities.

Alongside the Head of BI, we presented back each option along with recommendations, supported by a portfolio analysis against each.

The analysis provided a clear ROI, which included all the outgoing costs, the run costs, what it would mean in terms of headcount.

Based on this analysis the business was able to make an informed decision to upgrade their existing solution.

There were three key decisions that were made as a result:

  1. All of the enabling infrastructures had to be updated. This formed a program of holistic projects.
  2. The upgraded applications would all go to the latest version. This meant that Anglian Water would benefit from the ‘latest and greatest’ and would stay ahead of the curve in terms of functionality.
  3. DWG was asked to support the existing BI team, so Anglian Water was able to meet the day-to-day demands of BI business unit, while the project upgrade was in motion. We were also able to ensure they could balance the right level of expertise within the department following the upgrade

Digital Works Group has expertise in both Agile Scrum and Waterfall. Often large organisations need to blend the two approaches.

At Anglian Water, many of the individual technology-based projects needed an injection of Agile work practices. This was unfamiliar territory to them, and we were able to support the team in this approach.

At the same time, it was critical for the Project Management Office to run in a stage-gate process and the over-arching programme of work was run in Waterfall. We were able to manage this back into the formal review process, blending both approaches for success.

A position in projects evolved to become a programme of works to deliver an SAP Business Objects upgrade, along with the SAP BODS data transformation software. Enhanced presentation layers were applied, delivering enhanced statistics and BI reporting capabilities previously unavailable.

There was also the ideal opportunity to perform a thorough audit of the existing technology and rationalise – getting rid of legacy components no longer required.

The total programme took 18 months and placed them in support for a further five years. This was well-aligned to their rolling five-year project strategy, meeting budget requirements and satisfying overall business needs.


Portfolio Management


Project and Programme Management

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