A regulated gas distribution business, WWU has 34,000km of pipelines serving a catchment area of 7.4 million people throughout Wales and the South West of England. The WWU network was purchased from National Grid Transco in August 2004. Industry regulator Ofgem imposed a strict deadline of the 1st June for completion of the sale. From day one the processes and systems needed to be capable of supporting the business operation with approximately 1,200 staff.
The timeframe for defining the business processes and implementing the new systems and technical infrastructure concurrently was very compressed. Acutest was chosen for its proven ability to test effectively in these circumstances. Their approach combines focusing testing on the areas with the greatest likelihood and business impact of failure, finding problems early and building small collaborative testing units that include specialist testers, business users and staff from third party suppliers.
Acutest has helped Wales & West Utilities (WWU) to successfully launch its operation from a standing start in just eight months. WWU outsourced responsibility for its technical and business testing to Acutest in order to validate its ability to start trading without major risk and disruption. The project involved testing the business processes; the core systems, such as the SAP implementation and the Ingenuity HR system; ancillary and support systems; systems integration with third parties; and the technical infrastructure.
Acutest was accountable for validating WWU’s ability to go live without exposure to major risk. Test results provided the programme and business management team with valuable information and the clarity to make key programme decisions. We only had eight months, so it was impossible to test everything, but the fact that the systems and processes are performing so well is testament to the effectiveness of this approach.