Centrica to deploy Azure and Office 365

Microsoft Azure on a computer screen
(Image credit: Bigstock)

Utilities giant Centrica has signed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to deploy several cloud services.

The owner of British Gas and Dynorod will move most of its existing UK on-premise datacentre to Microsoft’s Azure NextGen datacentre. It also plans to adopt cloud-based services from Microsoft such as Office 365 to bolster worldwide collaboration among employees and Dynamics 365, which will be used to improve service in the field by engineers. The company currently stores information in on-premise servers.

“Microsoft is a partnership that goes beyond technology. Microsoft is investing time supporting us to realise our digital transformation ambitions, offering advice and guidance when we need it," said Mike Young, Centrica's global CIO.

“Working with Microsoft will accelerate our Digital Workplace initiative; empower our global workforce with Office 365; and modernise field service (within DynoRod) using Dynamics 365. Moving our on-premises data centre to Microsoft Azure is one of a number of foundational steps we are taking at Centrica to build a truly digital business for the benefit of our customers,” he added.

The deal is part of Centrica’s digital transformation plans, which it hopes will result in better services for customers and optimise its operations. David Trice, Centrica’s CTO, added: "Microsoft's investment in the enterprise, with the maturity of its security, controls and ability to handle mission critical workloads is key.”

Centrica’s efforts to make its business more digital has seen it deliver more than four million smart meters to UK homes and businesses over the past eight years, helping people monitor how much energy they use. It has also installed 527,000 Hive-branded “home hubs” so homeowners can change their thermostats and use plug sockets and lights via mobile devices.

Microsoft has also signed up the Ministry of Defence to use Azure as well as South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the country’s largest mental health trust, and Clearbank, the UK’s first new clearing bank in more than 250 years.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.