Dedicated and fully integrated app further extends efficiency gains for Centrica

“We’ve taken the transformational impact of Workday even further. Our new Workday Extend app is driving huge efficiency gains in a highly complex operational process that is unique to our business.”—Carmen Frost, Workday Architect

Tailored solution overcomes slow and time-consuming manual process

Dramatic improvement in recruitment agility and efficiency

Seamless and reliable functionality with immediate user acceptance

Fully integrated app harnesses single source of truth

Responsible for the first public supply of gas in the world, Centrica’s heritage spans two centuries.  Today, it is an international energy and services solutions business operating in 12 countries with over 10 million residential and business customers.   The company’s largest presence is in the UK, Ireland and Denmark where it is more familiar as its trusted consumer brands, British Gas and Bord Gáis Energy. 

It now has a range of complementary businesses operating right across the energy value chain and is playing a central role in not only helping to create a more inclusive and sustainable future but also to achieve net zero.  In addition to the supply of energy, Centrica offers an extensive range of products and services including heating installations, renewables, energy storage, smart devices, heat exchange, commodity trading and insurance. Consequently, the company has an extremely diverse range of skills in its workforce of well over 20,000 employees as well as second- and third-party contingent workers.

Around 6,500 members of the UK-based workforce are field-based engineers responsible for fixing and installing boilers, heating exchanges, smart meters and EV chargers.  Great care is taken to ensure the recruitment process and support for such front-line roles matches Centrica’s high customer service standards.  For example, it is a requirement for individuals to live within the same area they serve, although the geographical criteria vary for different roles and certain areas qualify for additional allowances.  The highly complex task of matching the thousands of job applications every day with their eligibility to work and current vacancies in different areas was previously undertaken manually on spreadsheets – an onerous and very time-consuming undertaking.   

Centrica has, for many years, been taking advantage of Workday technologies to streamline processes and operational efficiencies.  Having direct access to all relevant data in the same place and in real-time proved to be transformational.  Building on such success, the company was keen to “really push the boundaries” and further extend the functionality of Workday to automate the unique and complex recruitment and area management for engineers.

Inclusive approach culminates with the seamless introduction of a new app.

Centrica chose to take full advantage of Workday’s flexibility by introducing Workday Extend. This highly versatile technology platform enables organisations to build and deploy new capabilities, apps and dedicated solutions that run natively on Workday to address specific and constantly changing business needs. It provides fully integrated solutions that also benefit from a consistent user experience because of their day-to-day familiarity with Workday.

Working closely with Alight, a longstanding Workday partner, Centrica initiated the development of a dedicated Engineer Area Management app using Workday Extend. It was essential the Project Team included personnel with a detailed understanding of Workday’s deployment in Centrica as well as those who have in-depth knowledge of the specific business processes in question.

It was also important for the company to involve the recruiters right from the start of the project to secure their ‘buy-in’ and ensure their needs are met. Using such an inclusive approach and Alight’s hands-on design methodology allowed adjustments during the development of the app to take account of new requirements.  As a result, building the various elements of the new application and User Acceptance Testing proceeded smoothly and rapidly.


The power of Workday Extend is the ability to automate and simplify complex processes. This app is a great example of how it can be used to streamline a largely manual process and quickly add real value.

David Mulhern, Workday Technical Architect, Alight

Complex and challenging administrative tasks now completed within seconds.

Workday core functionality was used in developing the Engineer Area Management app; however, Workday Extend provided the ability to address the unique and complex recruitment criteria and processes for engineers. It also ensured the new app was entirely consistent and fully integrated with other Workday products used at Centrica.

The first task was to extract information from the earlier manual spreadsheet to clearly define different areas of the UK in accordance with Centrica’s established geographical specifications. This resulted in custom lists to reflect different geographical groups, wards, and patches, as well as mapping to postcode sectors and the assignment of engineers to different training areas. This approach has provided a scalable solution that also accommodates mass loading and updating, with the maintenance of custom lists carried out exactly as other drop-downs in Workday.

Every effort was made to take full advantage of the core functionality of Workday in the development of the new Engineer Area Management App. However, the use of Workday Extend provided the scope to take full account of the unique and complex recruitment criteria and processes for engineers. It also ensured the new app was entirely consistent and fully integrated with other Workday products within Centrica.

It was also important to add another layer of security to reflect the different ways the app is used within Workday by administrators, recruiters and other personnel responsible for updating information following address and role changes. And, as well as determining eligibility and ensuring alignment with Centrica’s existing job catalogue, employment agreements and job architecture, a new job classification group was created to simplify the management and adjustment of job profiles.

For recruiters, the new app has improved data visibility considerably and overcomes previously onerous tasks such as matching candidates who live in an area where there is a vacancy. Significantly, Centrica is now able to build up lists and select from pre-qualified candidates within the candidate pool without any delay and without needing to advertise the role.

A versatile tool to reflect the unique and dynamic nature of the business.

Removing the need to copy and paste information into spreadsheets and providing real-time access to information has improved operational efficiency considerably, and has already saved the recruitment team the cost of at least one FTE. Great care is now being taken to embed the solution into the company’s field operations fully and to surface data so it can be sent to downstream systems. Given the dynamic nature of the business and the versatility of Workday Extend, process refinements and enhancements within the new app will be continuous.

As Centrica and Alight have shown, added value is achieved by maximising the capabilities of Workday Extend. This enables work completed by different people within the business to be re-used to full effect and allows for solutions to be scaled securely and safely to meet new demands and unplanned requirements without any fuss. Such agility and positive outcomes are simply unachievable with a general-purpose platform.

Workday Extend represents the art of the possible and has helped us simplify and streamline an extremely complex process. We’ve also launched additional Workday Extend apps to cover specific areas like volunteering and workplace adjustment passports.

Carmen Frost, Workday Architect 

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