Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributor for the North of England, has signed a deal with Indian IT software and services firm Wipro to upgrade its business applications and IT infrastructure.
Northern Gas has brought in Wipro to meet a pressing business requirement: it has 18 months to move its applications and infrastructure away from those run by National Grid, which sold Northern Gas Networks in 2005. If this deadline is missed, Northern Gas will incur heavy fines, said Wipro programme delivery manager Kishor Gowdra.
In the time it has available, Wipro plans to retire 95% of existing applications, including those dating back to the 1970s running in Cobol and Pascal.
With shared services and a group of technology suppliers including Sun, SAP and WebMethods, Wipro will replace 54 systems run by Northern Gas with between 10 and 14 systems.
Sun is providing about 15% of the technology, including software and data management products, including Sun Fire V20z Servers, Storedge storage and Enterprise Storage Manager, and the Solaris Operating System. Other hardware will run the Windows Server 2003 operating system.
Applications will be run from datacentres in Australia, Bangalore and Canada.
As well as meeting the deadline to exit from National Grid's systems, the new infrastructure will also reduce support costs and enable greater business agility, Gowdra said.