Case Study: Environment Agency CRC

THE CHALLENGE

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is a UK government scheme. It is designed to improve energy efficiency and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in private and public sector organisations. The Environment Agency (EA) administers the scheme for the UK and regulates the scheme in England. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales regulate the scheme in their own countries.

To administer CRC, the EA operate a web-based registry that processes £900M of allowances per annum and is used by over 2,000 organisations nationwide. The registry also integrates with third party systems, for example for user authentication and payment processing.

The legislative future of CRC had been uncertain for a number of years. This meant:

+ There had been minimal investment in the application or the physical infrastructure

+ Hardware was end of life and beginning to fail. Replacement parts were difficult and expensive to source.

+ COTS components were several versions out of date, creating security risks, whilst being expensive to licence.

+ Usage of the system had become more concentrated into peak periods, meaning that there was a requirement for more flexible capacity management.

+ There was a need to improve the business reporting service.

 

THE APPROACH

SCISYS was contracted by the EA to perform an application and infrastructure design and transformation. Initially, SCISYS worked with the EA to consider the options and construct a business case. The business case needed to be, at worst, cost-neutral. The solution identified by SCISYS involved two main tasks:

+ Replacement of expensive COTS elements with equivalent enterprise Open Source tools

+ Transformation of the application from dedicated infrastructure to Amazon Web Services

 

It was vital that the application upgrade process did not interrupt the BAU service and was completed before the start of a key scheme reporting period. The closure of the third party data centre created an additional hard deadline.. During the upgrade and transition, SCISYS provided a fully managed support service for the existing application.

 

THE BENEFITS

Transitioning the CRC Registry to a new platform and architecture has:

+ Reduced annual hosting and licensing costs by 74%.

+ Reduced support effort requirements through automation of tasks e.g. automating environment creation, testing and deployment and through use of AWS services

+ Delivered a more resilient and scalable hosting platform that better fits with business needs and the real-world usage profile

+ Simplified and enhanced disaster recovery capabilities by replacing traditional redundant environments with automated disaster recovery services on the AWS platform.

 

Overall the project has delivered a cheaper, faster, more flexible and more efficient platform that better serves the business needs for the remaining life of the registry.

About SCISYS Group:

Employing around 670 staff, SCISYS Group is a leading developer of information and communications technology services, e-business, web and mobile applications, editorial newsroom solutions and advanced technology solutions. The Company operates in a broad spectrum of market sectors, including Media & Broadcast, Space, Government and Defence and Commercial sectors. SCISYS clients are predominantly blue-chip and public-sector organisations. Customers include the Environment Agency, the Ministry of Defence, Airbus Defence & Space, Thales Alenia Space, Arqiva, Vodafone, the European Space Agency, Eumetsat, the BBC, Radio France, RTL, RNLI, Pets at Home, Siemens and the National Trust. The Company's registered office is in Dublin, with UK offices in Chippenham, Bristol, Leicester and Reading and German offices in Bochum, Dortmund, Darmstadt and Munich.