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Powergen Manages Compliance and Change Management with Serena Dimensions

Executive Summary

With increasing scrutiny from auditors and regulators, Powergen, the United Kindom’s second largest energy provider, needed to ensure that the application development team in their Energy Trading business complied with regulatory requirements and provided clear audit trails for the software development process. The company selected the Serena® Dimensions™ solution to unify the process of software configuration management, provide consistency, and ensure adherence.

Serena Dimensions enables Powergen to visualize, orchestrate and enforce policies that deliver the auditable change management, transparent reporting, and accountability needed to meet compliance requirements. With Dimensions, Powergen’s approach to software development and rollout is more controlled. It helps drive efficiency and productivity with business-aligned workflows, automated processes for documenting change, and a central repository for software configuration and change information. Development teams can concentrate their efforts on the actual business of software development, rather than on documenting their actions—saving time and reducing costs.

Challenge

  • Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements
  • Provide clear audit trails for the software development process

Solution

Serena Dimensions selected to unify the software configuration management process

Results

  • Workflows aligned to business processes
  • Automation of software change documentation
  • Clear, objective auditing accountability
  • Transparency of reporting for simplified auditing
  • Central repository for software configuration and change information

Serena Dimensions delivers consistent, enforceable, auditable processes

“Dimensions has helped us ensure that we have a highly consistent process. Not only that, but it clearly demonstrates that we are adhering to that process and the authority levels associated with it.”
- Neill Yates, Implementation and Operations Manager, Powergen

Overview

With increasing scrutiny from auditors and regulators, Powergen, the United Kingdom’s second largest energy provider, needed to ensure that the application development team in their Energy Trading business complied with regulatory requirements and provided clear audit trails for the software development process. The company selected Serena Dimensions to unify the process of software configuration management, provide consistency, and ensure adherence.

Dimensions enables Powergen to visualize, orchestrate and enforce policies that deliver the auditable change management, transparent reporting, and accountability needed to meet compliance requirements. With Dimensions, Powergen’s approach to software development and rollout is more controlled. It helps drive efficiency and productivity with business-aligned workflows, automated processes for documenting change, and a central repository for software configuration and change information. Development teams can concentrate their efforts on the actual business of software development, rather than on documenting their actions—saving time and reducing costs.

Challenge

Powergen, the United Kingdom’s second largest energy provider and part of the E.ON group, serves nine million electricity and gas customers. Legislation governs every aspect of Powergen’s business, and the whole company is under constant scrutiny. Powergen’s Energy Trading business is not only regulated by Ofgem (the body overseeing the UK’s electricity and gas industry), but is also licensed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

With regulators demanding more and more transparency across business processes, visibility and control are increasingly crucial. In Powergen’s case, not only does the company open itself to external scrutiny from auditors and regulators, but there is a very strong internal audit function that is just as rigorous as external audits.

Each audit results in set of actions to be implemented and followed up. Providing the information and audit trails to enable this process used to be very time-consuming, and pulled resources away from the core business of application development.

To balance audit and compliance demands with development objectives, Powergen Energy Trading needed to manage change in a disciplined and fully traceable way across all aspects of its information systems. The challenge was to monitor and manage the configuration not only of applications, but also of the data that feeds into those systems, and the workflows and infrastructure on which those business applications run.

Solution

Powergen selected Serena Dimensions to manage change in the Energy Trading application development department. Introducing Dimensions has helped to bring about a fundamental culture change in the IT department. Dimensions enables the development team to manage the changes that affect their software and to document their information-related assets. It gives users and managers complete transparency in terms of who has made changes, when they were carried out, who authorized them and what was changed.

 “Using Dimensions has helped us to ensure that we have a highly consistent process explains Neill Yates, Implementation and Operations Manager for Powergen Energy Trading. ”Not only that, but it clearly demonstrates that we are adhering to that process and the authority levels associated with it.”

Result

For Powergen Energy Trading, being able to prove that development and software maintenance teams are following the agreed processes removes the need for internal or external auditors to make personal, subjective judgments. Before introducing Dimensions, the application development department had to consciously document everything they did as part of the software development process, including all approvals and steps in the process - in order to prove compliance. With Dimensions in place, this all happens automatically. This not only saves a great deal of time and reduces the risk of human error, but it also makes audits much simpler and clearer.

“The whole approach to software development and roll-out is increasingly rigorous and controlled,” Yates points out.

Now that they no longer have to actively think about creating audit trails and documenting software changes, the application development team can also be much more productive. When Dimensions was first brought in, Powergen estimated that the reporting system alone would save some £100,000 a year in staff costs. Two years on, the Energy Trading IS program office team in has reduced costs by two thirds, and the overhead for maintaining and configuring Dimensions has also been surprisingly low.