Environment Agency

Proactivity brings added value

England’s Environment Agency relies on Fujitsu to manage its critical Flood Warning System (FWS). Fujitsu proactively moved the crucial system to the public cloud. Hosting it in Amazon Web Services (AWS) has increased scalability, reliability and visibility.

Challenge

Keeping up with technology can be difficult; investments can be significant and returns take a long time to come. England’s Environment Agency needed a partner to take its Flood Warning System to the cloud.

Solution

The mature partnership means Fujitsu understands the agency’s business well. Fujitsu not only proposed the cloud migration, it also architected, planned and delivered the successful project.

Outcomes

  • Improved service scalability and reliability
  • Reduced time to deploy new changes, enabled innovation and access to cloud native tools
  • Enhanced reporting capabilities and data visibility
Fujitsu has consistently added value to our relationship through proactive feedback and suggestions for improvements to the Flood Warning System, the latest being the move to AWS.

Steve White, Delivery Manager, Environment Agency

1 million

timely alerts sent to warn of flood risk

About the customer

Established in 1996, the Environment Agency is tasked with creating better places for people and wildlife, supporting sustainable development and protecting and improving the environment in England. Its Flood Warning System (FWS) is one of its primary systems, sending out timely alerts to warn those citizens most at risk of flooding.

Modernising critical IT systems

Public sector bodies must comply with government spending controls when modernising their IT systems. But investments can be heavy, and the returns can take a long time to come. For this reason, the Environment Agency teamed up with Fujitsu in 2004 to develop England’s first national Flood Warning System (FWS). Externally, the FWS sends messages across a wide range of channels to those at risk from flooding. Internally, it feeds downstream systems to ensure the agency’s entire estate works from a single source of the truth.

The Environment Agency has relied on Fujitsu to evolve the FWS over the years. The relationship has evolved too, with Fujitsu today an integral part of the team. Steve White, FWS Delivery Manager at the Environment Agency, describes how Fujitsu participates in the agency’s daily Agile ceremonies: “We’ve seen real value from working in a more integrated way where Fujitsu fully understands our business.”

Proposing improvements and delivering excellence

The Environment Agency wanted to use the public cloud more extensively in line with the Technology Code of Practice from the Government Digital Service. Fujitsu proposed moving the FWS to the public cloud, specifically Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Fujitsu architected, planned and delivered the migration project. White reveals that “delivery was excellent, I couldn’t fault it” and that “Fujitsu managed the go-live well; there was no impact on the business.” He also notes that “Fujitsu gave plenty of notice for any configuration changes, months even. The instructions on what was expected of us were very clear and concise.”

Scaling for whatever the weather

The new system went live in the first week of February 2022. Just a week afterwards, the Environment Agency faced one of the most significant flood events of the year, an event that tested the system’s performance and scalability. Storm Eunice brought severe gales to the UK, a tidal surge and driving rain. The FWS sent out just short of one million messages, including 440,000 phone calls, 248,000 emails and 238,000 text messages – a significantly larger number than the 660,000 it sent across all of January, March and April.

White spoke of how hosting the FWS in Amazon Web Services (AWS) has delivered beyond the benefits initially expected with moving to the public cloud: enhanced
reliability, the ability to scale faster and a reduction in time to deploy changes, enabling innovation. “Fujitsu is leveraging the enhanced reporting capabilities and access to data available in AWS to push information through to a dashboard for us to manipulate to see how effective our various channels are,” he says.

White concludes: “Over the years, Fujitsu has consistently added value to our relationship through proactive feedback and suggestions for improvements to the FWS, the latest being the move to AWS.”

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