Energy firm SSE heads for the clouds in $40m migration

One of the UK’s biggest energy firms is making a cloud migration of a massive scale.
5 March 2019

The SSE Hydro at night in Glasgow, Scotland. Source: Shutterstock

The UK’s second largest energy company, SSE plans to move its IT infrastructure to the cloud in a US$39.5 million project.

According to a procurement document, it plans to go to market with a public cloud service (IaaS/PaaS ) for their full infrastructure program through its “Future of IT” project.

It looks like the company will be envisioning a migration of its full suite of applications and programs to the cloud in a very bold move.

Apparently, the company’s strategy is to move away from on-premise architectures, while developing and integrating new services with legacy and mainframe-based systems.

Talking to industry press, the firm’s CTO, Chris Barnicott, said that technology at SSE has now evolved to a hybrid model, and this is about improving the digital user experience for energy supply customers.

Barnicott said that the company is looking towards conducting big data analytics on Microsoft Azure with cloud-based development using Docker containers within a Kubernetes cluster.

The company, which has over 20,000 employees at more than 150 locations around the UK, recently announced a partnership with Tigerspike to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to develop its smart city platform.

That will mean local authorities will have better information to enhance their services when it comes to elements like air quality, urban parking management, and EV charging.

This partnership is focused on developing the Internet of Things (IoT) platform to provide a common view of sensors and devices connected to its Mayflower smart lighting and other networks or, in other words, developing next-generation technology that will help make the smart city revolution a reality.

“This is part of a wider transformation that will encompass SSE’s full breadth of services including distributed energy, EV charging, building energy management street lighting, fiber communications services, and power network management,” said Stephen Stead, Head of Strategy, New Markets and Digital Services for SSE Enterprise.

Currently, SSE Enterprise already owns Mayflower Smart Control, a smart street lighting solution with over 400,000 installations across the UK.

Barnicott believes that the main challenge in terms of technical leadership revolves around finding the right architectural balance and the planning in terms of collaborative efforts.

He feels that all organizations need to develop a change in mindset and understand that leading a business means differentiating itself to be competitive in the future.

As always, when it comes to digital transformation, there are key learnings for all types of businesses out there, from the SMEs right up the large monoliths to take from an enterprise IT journey like this.