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Anglian Water fishes for on-trend laundry list – including low-code work – in £24m trawl

Citizen app, reporting for duty

UK utility Anglian Water has declared itself in the market for suppliers to help with DevOps, Agile, and big data "transformations", reciting a laundry list of requirements that is as remarkable for its sheer exhaustiveness as it is for swallowing the buzzword dictionary.

The framework deal could be worth up to £24m and is set to last for eight years, but the services required - only tier one and 2 suppliers need apply - notably includes low-code work, "wearables solutions", "hackathons" and "thought leadership". If some of that sounds vague, it's because said thought leadership is supposed to guide later stages of the "life of the contract" because the nature of technology is - ahem - fluid.

The East England utility firm supplies water and water recycling services to more than six million customers.

The tendency to act like it has swallowed an IT consultant's slide deck might be explained by the £1.2bn-turnover water utility's existing relationships with Atos, Capgemini and Cognizant. Anglian set up an "IS Alliance" with the three consultancy firms in 2016 (archived article courtesy Wayback Machine), although this article was disappeared some time in the last 11 months.

Although the relationship was set to last eight years, it is up for review this year. Anglian Water would not comment on whether the current procurement is aimed at replacing the contract of the incumbent IT services suppliers.

As for the current tender notice – you can take a gander here: Anglian Water is keen to "develop information management and governance excellence, innovative, advanced data driven models, algorithms, dashboards and visualisations and implement new business applications, services and associated processes as well as delivering changes to existing applications and associated infrastructure, using the skills and capabilities" with its new suppliers.

It is looking for "human-centred design and design thinking, UX and UI design", and something to do with "multi-experience solutions" including "immersive" technologies – which we imagine aren't referring to the underwater kind.

Some specific details which seem useful include transition to Agile development, mentioning DevOps and scrum management. Cloud, hybrid environments, big data cloud, and hybrid infrastructures also feature on the wish list.

To the litany of on-trend tech terminology, Anglian Water added "low-code development platforms and citizen app development; process and workflow automation; logical data warehouse and data as a service architectures; AI and ML tooling and capability including commercial AI/ML; explainable AI; and augmented analytics tooling and capability."

In 2019, Anglian Water tendered for a £15m customer experience platform, which was due to be linked its SAP ERP system, which itself appears likely to be in the midst of an upgrade to the S/4HANA version, judging by numerous live job ads posted online.

Anglian Water uses the Azure cloud infrastructure but would not answer questions on whether it also uses AWS.

Whatever the outcome of the procurement, Anglian Water's people seem happier than the beanbag-perching lot at Google - even back when people were still partaking of the in-office perks. In 2018, it ousted Google from the top spot in Glassdoor's 2019 Employee's Choice Best Places To Work list. ®

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