Gearing up for UK Link challenges

Jorone Taylor-Lewis

It’s no secret that Xoserve’s upcoming UK Link replacement programme/Project Nexus is going to create challenges for Gas companies in the short term.

Replacing the entire IT platform that supports the UK Gas industry’s data exchange is a major undertaking, and the scope of the transformation is significant. Just over half of the messaging data-flows between participants in the Gas market may need to be upgraded or replaced to cover the industry’s Project Nexus requirements and to meet Xoserve’s specifications to bring UK Link into the Smart era.

Gas companies will have to quickly carry out impact assessments to determine how to respond to the new requirements.

The industry deadline of October 2015 is just around the corner – gas transporters, distributors and shippers know that they will need to be in a position to comply sooner rather than later.

Preparing for a challenge
Most companies, therefore, have already decided that the next twelve months are likely to be something of a challenge on their agility to make the necessary changes to their business and support IT.

There will be a temptation to roll with the changes, and try to patch together a short-term fix until a more permanent solution can be found.

But what if there was a better way?

How AMT-SYBEX can help
Xoserve’s own data flow management solution for the new version of UK Link is going to be built on the Affinity Suite from AMT-SYBEX. As a result, we are uniquely placed to help Gas companies prepare for change and deliver a compliant solution.

Gas companies could look to insulate core CRM and billing systems from the new messaging requirements by deploying a data-flow management solution that can speak both old and new languages.

With such a solution managing all data exchange with Xoserve’s new UK Link platform, Gas companies will be able to upgrade their messaging capabilities while controlling the pace at which they make changes to their existing core systems.

Greater flexibility for the future
The data flow management approach will not only serve as an elegant solution for the immediate challenges presented by the UK Link replacement – it will also potentially provide a more flexible way to adapt to new data flow requirements in the future.

As Ofgem considers the possibility of greater convergence between the gas and electricity industries, even bigger changes to messaging standards may be on the horizon driven—for example, by smart metering, the need for faster switching and the plan to centralise registration. Putting a flexible data flow management platform in place now will provide the flexibility required to minimise the impact of these changes and the costs of doing business over the next few years.

Moving from challenge to opportunity
Although implementing these changes is a challenge having the right partner to provide support through the change process, and the right approach to protect core systems from expensive upgrade work will make a significant difference.

By implementing a more flexible solution to manage interaction with the industry, the opportunity is there to create a robust, flexible platform that will help manage a future where there is one thing we can be certain of, which is ongoing change.