National Grid has signed up to spend up to $44.5m (approx. £32.2m) with Wipro, which will take on the energy infrastructure company's data centres and mainframes with a view to introducing a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
The global gas and electricity network firm has contracted the India IT services provider, in a US currency deal, to provide "next generation capabilities in data center, networks, and improve the operating model."
According to a contract award notice: "It's key that National Grid achieve improved service delivery speed, scalability, and flexibility delivered though the optimization of data center footprint, automation of operations and the developing and implementing hybrid cloud architectures that meet National Grid's current needs and can flex to meet our future."
Based in London, National Grid is a private company that owns and operates electricity and natural gas transmission networks both in the UK and the US. It was formed following the break-up and privatisation of the UK's Central Electricity Generating Board in the 1990s, becoming National Grid Company plc, listed on the London Stock Exchange. After that it made several acquisitions in the US, demerged its telecoms outfit, and merged with Lattice Group, owner of the Transco gas distribution company.
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The Wipro agreement is divided into four lots. First up is data centre co-location, which looks for a global approach to regional regulatory compliance and facilities in which to host IT hardware, including network services, maintenance, physical security and cybersecurity. Next is hardware managed services, which includes data centres and cloud estate, OS, hypervisor and all storage services, backup, patches, licensing etc. National Grid said it also wants Wipro to manage co-location for mainframe services. Finally, Wipro will offer migration services including data centres and applications.
In December 2020, National Grid published a "digitisation strategy" for its gas and electricity transmission businesses, in which Andi Karaboutis, group chief information and digital officer, talked about how digitisation would help the group's efforts in cutting carbon emissions.
"It also provides an opportunity for the energy sector to bring about cost savings for consumers, improve customer experience, enable greater whole system coordination and transparency, and accelerate the development and deployment of innovative technologies," she claimed.
The document said the electricity transmission had "simplified" the customer connections process, and rebuilt the core gas transmission data platform and its front end "to provide clearer visuals and easier to use API feeds for direct access to data."
It said the company had begun its "Agile Transformation, establishing a core Agile capability and delivering products" and invested in data platforms "such as our data lake, that enables us to gather, manage and share our data more effectively."
Wipro has been on something of a hot streak in the utility sector recently. It has won places on frameworks with Southern Water Services (£50m), SSE Gas and Electricity (£12.5m), and Northern Gas Networks. ®