Modernisation of Market Facing Systems
Improvement programme summary
Our central market operating system (CMOS) plays an integral role to the functioning of the market. The system has been in its current form since the market opened and, like any system, it has a ‘shelf life’. Our systems strategy developed through 2020/21 has considered how we modernise CMOS to better meet the long-term needs of the market and ensure it remains ‘fit for purpose’.
Our IT modernisation programme will move us to a new system architecture in a series of phases over the next three years and beyond. This approach will be lower risk, deliver benefits earlier and cost less than a full system replacement in a few years’ time. This is in line with the systems strategy that has been developed through 2020/21.
The new architecture is a ‘marketplace ecosystem’ where the key functions and services of our systems are separate and discrete rather than the current heavily integrated and inflexible system. This will enable a much wider range of services and innovation to be provided, including from third parties, and will cost less to maintain with the system hosted on the cloud. It will also enable changes to be made more quickly and at lower risk.
The programme complements and enables a number of improvement programmes within our wider plan, including the Bilateral Transactions Programme and Channel Management. The overall impact will be a much-improved user experience – with access to a set of simplified services through a ‘single front door’.
Delivery of the programme will be in three phases:
Phase one – Enabling stage - rehost of CMOS to a public cloud, improve cyber security maturity and upgrade the Medium Volume Interface (MVI) (some work in 2021/22 but primarily in 2022/23)
Phase two – ‘Containerisation’ of CMOS - moves from one large unwieldy system to a series of discrete functions and services, as we begin to separate out key functions into distinct microservices - also known as ‘decomposition’ (delivered through 2022/23 and 2023/24)
Phase three – Improving accessibility to CMOS - enables widespread integration with the CMOS database to support innovative solutions that improve the customer experience (starting in 2023/24 but continuing beyond this three-year plan)
In building our business plan we have moved the overall timing of the programme further back than originally scheduled (by approximately nine months) – spreading the cost over a longer time period and recognising the cost pressures in 2021/22, which include the key delivery phase of the Bilateral Transactions Programme.
How trading parties and customers will benefit
The programme delivers benefits across a range of areas:
Agility – containerisation allows market change to be delivered in the affected area only, allowing quicker and lower risk implementation, and thereby enabling a more flexible and agile market
More cost efficient – migrating the system to the cloud enables reduced hosting/service costs of around £130k per annum
Increased capacity – systems are more ‘scalable’ providing additional ‘burst' capacity when required such as during an Interim Supply Allocation (ISA) process
- supporting the introduction of a single MOSL account (single sign-on) and eventually integrating with trading parties own ‘Active Directory’ accounts as well as supporting other benefits through the Channel Management programme
Innovative – new modern architecture will increase accessibility. It will be much easier for third parties to engage with and allows simpler and more widespread integration with the CMOS database. This will stimulate increased innovation and use of technology from third parties, in areas such as meter reading and data enrichment.
How the workstream builds on our current 2020/21 Business Plan
The modernisation programme moves MOSL to the new target architecture in a series of phases. This architecture has been developed and reviewed throughout 2020/21.
As well as completing detailed planning for our technology roadmap, we have also placed significant focus on cyber security, recognising the increasing risk and focus in this area. We have already delivered a range of technical improvements, including Mobile Device Management and Multi-factor Authentication but recognise that there is more to do. We engaged a security partner to conduct a Security Maturity Assessment against the defined ISO27001 standard, to detail a further roadmap of improvements to both process and technology and to outline a cyber target operating model which we are working towards as part of this programme.
The migration of CMOS to a public cloud environment is a key foundational step in our modernisation programme. In 2020/21 we ran a Proof of Concept (PoC) for the migration, recognising that rehosting a critical operational system is a major undertaking. That PoC is now complete and clearly demonstrates not only the need for the migration and the benefits to the market but has provided confidence that the full migration is deliverable.
Delivery for 2021/22 – milestones and outcomes
Three-year delivery plan
Our high-level, three-year plan is set out below together with work completed this year. For this programme we have also included an indication of stages beyond this three-year horizon: