Sainsbury's Energy

Migrating customers to a new platform in record time

With just an eight week lead time, Somo used AWS to help migrate Sainsbury’s Energy customers to the E.ON Next platform.

The Vision

E.ON’s brief to Somo was to help them move all customers from their subsidiary brand, Sainsbury’s Energy, to the E.ON Next platform by April 2021. Our task was to build a new front-end in the Sainsbury’s Energy brand utilising the user and quote portal we had already created for E.ON Next earlier in 2020. With this came two objectives. Firstly, to ensure there were no changes or disruption to the Sainsbury’s Energy customer experience and secondly, to do this whilst reducing digital operating costs.

Industry Landscape

The utility sector is a highly commoditised and price-driven market. But with the explosion of choice in energy suppliers unencumbered by legacy infrastructure, and a big appetite for digital tools among customers, there is a strong opportunity to do things differently. The focus is now shifting towards moving out of the ‘low interest’ category and creating solutions that help utility companies become customer-first and experience-led.

Challenge

There were inherent security and technical challenges which made this migration project more complex than normal. Apart from implementing Nectar card points into the platform (a key brand benefit), we had to ensure that the new user interface could support the back office function of porting customers’ personal and payment details, with zero errors.

But the biggest challenge was time. With COVID-19 related factors postponing the start of the job, we had just 2 months in which to do the work. Thankfully, Somo’s agile methodology and AWS expertise meant we could hit the ground running.

Approach

We harnessed the power and scale of AWS technology to host and manage the new website exclusively. Key features were enabled through AWS Lamdas (serverless compute services) in order to perform complex tasks including the creation of extra code for Nectar card and Worldpay functionality.

By using Terraform and Gitlab pipelines into AWS S3 buckets, we took the “infrastructure as code” approach which helped to rapidly cut deployment time rather than having to provision servers in a data centre. Meanwhile, the front-end was built in React.js to provide a fast, flexible and simple UI.

In just 2 months, Somo was able to build a fully working, next generation platform, complete with a dashboard to manage bill and meter readings (the staples of any energy supplier website) as well as an enhanced sign-up and user portal journey.

Business Outcomes

We delivered a seamless migration experience which meant users could still carry out all the transactions, access the same information and enjoy the same benefits they had before on the old platform as Sainsbury’s Energy customers. But in doing so, we also streamlined the new sign-up process to help optimise new customer acquisition and conversion.

By using AWS tools we were able to meet operational objectives too and save E.ON millions of pounds in front-end deployment costs.

Impact

  • £ millions
    saved in front-end costs by using AWS solutions
  • 100%
    migration of all customers
  • 2 months
    to complete end-to-end design, build and delivery

What the client said

"

It's seriously impressive how quickly Somo can deliver a fully functioning website and service user portal. Within a matter of weeks we were able to launch a new website and portal that million of our customers now use. Their knowledge of AWS and how it was used to speed up development was paramount to the project; the Somo team knew exactly what services were best suited for us and delivery would have been impossible without AWS

Claire Tait
Product Manager at E.ON