Keytree & Essar build a Digital Customer Experience – Essar Stanlow 2.0

Essar Oil UK own and operate the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex – the third largest refinery in the United Kingdom that provides 16% of the UK’s road transport fuel requirements. Following a major overhaul of the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex, which has provided Essar with increased operational capabilities, the business is delivering Stanlow 2.0 – a programme that is digitally transforming refining operations.

A pivotal aspect of this transformation is the introduction of a new digital channel to allow Essar customers to easily interact with the organisation. To ensure this strategy becomes a reality Essar has engaged with customer and user experience experts Keytree to deliver the new Essar Customer Portal. Keytree was selected to deliver the Essar Customer Portal based on its experience in delivering projects within the oil and gas industry alongside its knowledge and expertise in mobile technology.

To ensure Stanlow 2.0 continues to grow and enhance the business, Essar also chose to introduce agile working into its ecosystem, with Keytree positioned to support this initiative. Keytree’s experience in agile delivery was used to deliver the Customer Portal project, which will go on to form a vital part of Essar’s delivery processes. Essar now has a system, technique and respective tooling to ensure agile methodology will support future delivery.


“Keytree is a leading SAP partner with extensive C/4HANA knowledge. Their agile approach to delivery combined with user experience skills and knowledge of the Industry will help drive this important project to success.”

Raahil Burhaani – Chief Information Officer at Essar

Keytree deliver the Essar Customer Portal

Essar’s existing processes did not enable the use of digital channels so Essar decided the creation of a Customer Portal, based on SAP C/4HANA and SAP Commerce Cloud technology would provide the platform to meet evolving customer expectations and demands. The B2B Customer Portal enables Essar and its customers to embrace digital channels and remove previous processes in a move that will also help expand the business. Essar required a portal that would allow its customers to order its products online as previously customers would have to contact the sales team and place orders over the telephone. Essar wanted to replace this time-consuming process, giving customers the ability to process a significant proportion of orders through a Customer Portal and avoid spending time fixing potential issues – this approach enables Essar to focus on its core operations.

As the business grows and its expected market share in the retail sector expands, the current set up would not be able to cope with demand. This was one of the key drivers behind the introduction of a Customer Portal – an approach that also helps create a modern business outlook. As a major company, Essar needs to be able to offer online ordering capabilities to customers, a move that will also help to positively influence its client base.

SAP Commerce Cloud – building a cloud infrastructure

Implemented on SAP Commerce Cloud v2 (C/4 HANA/Hybris), the Essar Customer Portal interfaces with SAP ECC via SAP CPI. Keytree worked in close collaboration with the Product Owner and technical team at Essar to ensure the new technical features of SAP Commerce Cloud and SAP CPI were integrated seamlessly with all technical challenges overcome through a strong working partnership. During delivery, Keytree utilised the in-built functionality, templates and accelerators in SAP Commerce Cloud to create a Customer Portal that gives Essar customers a seamless, customer-centred, checkout experience.

Keytree customised the ‘Checkout Accelerator’ in SAP Commerce Cloud so Essar could continue to meet the individual requirements of each customer. This let Essar offer a bespoke service, so each customer views a list that is tailored for their specific purchasing needs, creating a personalised customer journey. Phase one of the project produced a Minimum Viable Product that provides the functionality to create and place orders, and Phase two introduced intuitive real-time Statements, Order History and instant download of invoices, with reports downloadable as Excel spreadsheets, or on any device from mobile to desktop. In addition, the Customer Portal has transformed the way the Customer Support Agents work with customers, with the ability to utilise SAP Commerce ASM (Assisted Service Mode) to give a real-time view of how the portal looks to each customer, with the ability to take over their basket and order on their behalf and reset passwords for them, all from the same intuitive front-end.

Self-service B2B administration has been introduced to customers so that customer administrators can manage who and what their employees can do on the portal, receive email copies of orders made by other employees, reset passwords, and add/remove/disable/enable logins as needed. The Customer Portal has transformed the way clients order products and access real-time business information and used in conjunction with the call centre, it is creating more capacity to facilitate business expansion.


“The Customer Portal will replace the need to make a phone call to place an order or raise a query, ensuring all business processes are fit for purpose while enhancing operations.”

Raahil Burhaani – Chief Information Officer at Essar

Helping drive expansion and growth at Essar

Essar offers products such as petrol, diesel and kerosene to a broad range of clients including Blue Circle Industries, Emirates, Manchester Airport, Rail and Bus network, Walkers Snacks plus numerous Essar branded forecourts – all of which require bulk quantities of fuel.

The Stanlow 2.0 programme, incorporating the new Customer Portal, forms an initiative that will drive the business forward with the end goal of increasing the number of UK customers and Essar forecourts. The expansion and growth of the business will be supported by sales and marketing teams and a Customer Portal that will enable the sales department to process and manage a greater volume of orders.

Essar now has a new and up-to-date cloud-based platform that will provide customers with quick and easy access to Essar products. The Customer Portal is an easily maintainable application with the added flexibility for easy expansion and just as important, will not be a burden to maintain having been tested rigorously by Keytree.

The project demonstrated to Essar the value of embracing a cloud-based approach in readiness for the future rollout of strategic solutions such as S/4HANA. The project followed the Keytree Delivery Method, using effective scrum delivery and methodology from the start plus the introduction of planning and retrospectives to create high-level reporting. Keytree showed Essar how to utilise a toolset including Confluence and Jira – tools now available to the Essar team.

Keytree also introduced the use of a Continuous Deployment Pipeline approach, with the ability to run front-end and integration automated regression suites to help ensure that incremental improvements can be tested and deployed in a timely and rigorous fashion. This included real-time feature-switching test tools so each piece of functionality could be tested against real data in production before being progressively released to the customer base.

The Customer Experience transformation at Essar will guarantee all customers have a superior user experience, and Essar now has a solution that will grow with the needs of both the customer and the business.