Gas pipeline operator Interconnector (UK) Limited (IUK) has turned to Infor CloudSuite Industrial to help manage its operation. IUK has chosen to implement Infor CloudSuite Industrial, Infor Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Infor Expense Management. The solutions will run from the Infor AWS cloud environment.
Terry Stephens, IT & Business Systems Director at Interconnector (UK) Limited revealed the strategy driving the decision saying: “IUK’s aim is to divest itself of all its datacentres. The Infor system is pure play SaaS, which supports this strategy. Costs are based on the number of users rather than application and database licences, allowing us to have powerful application functionality at a reasonable outlay.“
Founded in 1992, IUK owns and operates the only bidirectional pipeline between the UK and mainland Europe. It links Bacton in the UK and Zeebrugge in Belgium. They have 1000’s of fixed assets located between the two sites.
Stephens revealed their historic on-premises solutions by saying “IUK have legacy ERP and HR systems over ten years old and a host of ad-hoc reporting systems based on spreadsheets and Access databases. These will be integrated into the Infor system.”
Those systems include a PAT (Priority Action Tracking) system developed by Cooper Software using IFS on an Oracle database. Cooper Software is to run the project on behalf of Infor. They are also providing technical consultancy according to Stephens. Cooper clearly know the IUK systems well, but their website reveals them as an IFS and NetSuite partner, and an Infor one. Perhaps another announcement is pending?
Why select Infor
IUK looked at six other suppliers during the tendering process. That list will almost certainly have included IFS who also have a cloud-based EAM solution. Cost will also have played a part in the decision.
The solution also includes the Infor middleware, Infor Ion. This meshes disparate system together, both Infor and non Infor, cloud or on-premises. It will allow IUK to implement an interim hybrid solution as they migrate applications to the cloud. The company is not large and with only 100 employees running a piece of critical national infrastructure they would not take the risk of a big bang approach.
Enterprise Asset management
Stephens explained the scope of the EAM project explain the IUK infrastructure as. “Two gas terminals linked by a pipeline. The terminals each have four large compressors: the Bacton compressors are driven by gas turbines and the Zeebrugge compressors are driven by variable speed motors. In addition, both sites have gas processing capabilities, including metering, heating, filtering and let-down stations.”
Stephens is looking for the new EAM solution once in place to improve maintenance planning. He explained further “The implementation of the Infor system is combined with business process re-engineering to ensure efficient use of plant/equipment outages based on campaign maintenance principles and increasing the MTBM based on data analysis.
One measure of the Infor success may be the amount of downtime that IUK has during its annual maintenance checks. This year the UK-Belgium connector will be shutdown for 15 days in June. Once the Infor system goes live it will be interesting to see what improvements in downtime are achieved.
This is a significant win for Infor and shows that its strategy of cloud first is starting to deliver customers. The Infor EAM has had some significant successes over the last year including ScotRail and New York MTA. While IUK are a small organisation, their infrastructure is critical to keep running.
Phil Lewis, European VP for Solution Consulting, Infor commented: “By fusing the best possible asset management of this critical infrastructure with improved efficiency, Interconnector UK really demonstrates the maturity of cloud. Our commitment to the cloud and continuous improvement matches the dedication and expertise within IUK to push the gas industry forward as the industry undergoes such drastic change.”
A recent PWC report highlighted the changes(registration required). One of the highlights is identifies is that the Oil and Gas industry needs to become more cost efficient. This trend is due to the rise of low carbon energy sources that are becoming more efficient.