A partnership combining sewage with Cloud Computing might seem unlikely, but that’s just what’s happening in a collaboration between tech company Accenture and Thames Tideway Tunnel, the company set up to construct and manage the new ‘super sewer’ being built under the Thames.
This 16 mile-long tunnel will run from West to East London intercepting overflow water and sewage currently being drained into the river, and transporting it to treatment works to alleviate the pressure on the capital’s Victorian-era sewage system.
It will be one of the capital’s biggest-ever infrastructure projects and is expected to bring environmental, health and economic benefits by preventing millions of tons of sewage from being emptied into the Thames each year. The tunnel will take seven years to construct and is expected to be complete in 2023.
The costs are huge – it’s a £6 billion project – so careful project management and budgeting is clearly of vital importance. To this end, a fully integrated IT infrastructure is required, preferably at low-cost, and tech specialist Accenture has implemented a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
What will the ERP achieve?
Accenture worked closely with NetSuite Inc, a provider of cloud-based financials, ERP and E-commerce facilities, to create a solution in the form of the latter’s OneWorld ERP. This will support the financial planning and management such as procurement, financial consolidation and tax compliance.
A spokesman for Thames Tideway Tunnel – the company set up to build and maintain the new sewer – said that: “an agile and intuitive back-office IT system is critical for effective management and delivery if large-scale infrastructure projects”.
The new collaboration is predicted to not only facilitate the efficient financing and construction of the sewer but keep costs down as far as possible. Accenture claim that the NetSuite Platform they’re helping to implement will enable the Thames Tideway Tunnel to “streamline its core operations and make faster and more-informed business decisions based on real-time data”.
The company say that this collaboration is the first true multi-tenant cloud-based ERP system for a regulated utility in the UK.
Who are Accenture?
They are a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company serving clients in more than 120 countries. They have worked on more than 9,000 cloud computing projects so the project would appear to be in capable hands.
Who are NetSuite Inc?
They are an industry leading provider of cloud-based financials and ERP and also offer a broad range of business applications covering areas such as accounting, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and commerce.
A popular and efficient form of providing data resources, software and data is stored on remote servers usually provided by a third party supplier. This means it isn’t necessary to provide an expensive computer hardware facility in-house and employ IT staff to maintain it, so reducing costs.
Cloud systems can be accessed by approved personnel from just about any remote location with an Internet connection.
With such a big budget project, costs have to be kept in check as far as possible, and there is strong opposition to the Thames Tideway Tunnel in terms of what it will cost and whether it’s the right solution to the sewage overflow problem. By implementing a cost-effective IT structure such as the collaboration with Accenture, it offers the potential for costs to be kept as low as possible.
Fraser Ruthven is the Marketing Associate for London Drainage Facilities, one of London’s leading drainage companies. London Drainage provides a wide range of drainage diagnostic and repair services in and around London.