Utility giant Centrica is taking advantage of onshore and offshore software testing skills through an £8m deal with Software Quality Systems (SQS).
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The 12-month managed software testing contract will test business critical systems such as those being used in Centrica's smart metering programme.
The deal is a signal of the increasing importance of software testing to Centrica, the parent company of British Gas. Previously the firm contracted SQS on a project-by-project basis.
Centrica will gain access to testing resources locally and offshore. SQS has software testing resources in India and South Africa.
The need to get smart metering applications right has increased Centrica's software testing requirement. The billing systems related to smart metering will be complicated because of the requirement to allow consumers to manage when they use energy and bill them accurately.
"Smart metering is new to the UK so Centrica needs to get applications right or the government's £20bn smart meter plan could fall flat on its face," said one industry source.
Centrica is currently shaking up its IT outsourcing portfolio. It recently brought in HP and Fujitsu to run its datacentres and desktops and commissioned T-Systems to develop cloud SAP services.
SQS recently won a contract to test software for Deutsche Bank.