Airbus, Centrica Tackle Portal Projects

Aerospace company links employees, customers and suppliers; energy firm connects internal users


Centrica is looking to benefit from reduced printing, communication and photocopying costs, as well as improved knowledge sharing across the enterprise. The Essential portal has also helped to build a sense of community among the different Centrica brands, stimulating cooperation and encouraging collaboration, according to the portal provider.

Plumtree connects applications online in real time across the whole Centrica enterprise, enabling 27,000 employees to access corporate and team-specific information. In order to maintain local control for Centrica's individual business units, the portal has been divided into 45 communities, which map the various departments that make up each of the company's brands.

Centrica started building the portal in February 2003 and completed deployment in September. Senior executives showed their support and belief in the project from the outset by involving 1,000 employees from the finance department in the pilot stage. A survey conducted by Centrica found that 91 percent of these employees agreed that Essential will be really useful to their daily work.

"It's a huge improvement on what we had before," Plumtree quoted one user as saying. "When you are on the frontline dealing with customers, you need all the information in one place." Feedback from the survey highlighted the search engine as being a key tool. One employee said, "Not only is the portal laid out in an easy-to-use format, but it halves the time needed to search for files."

"Essential enables us to make the maximum use of our assets by providing rapid access to applications and information," said Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, program director for global intranet at Centrica. "Connecting the businesses is critical to the fulfillment of our long-term strategy to deepen relationships with our customers. We are also committed to being an employer of choice for the most talented people in our target sectors."

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