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Broadband ISP Cuckoo Adopts Kraken Utilities Platform

Thursday, Jul 13th, 2023 (11:59 am) - Score 2,856

UK ISP Cuckoo (Giganet), which sells broadband packages to consumers via Openreach’s full fibre (FTTP) network, has today signed a deal to adopt the cloud-based Kraken Utilities (part of Octopus Energy Group) platform, which they claim could lead to “better customer and employee satisfaction“.

At this point the marketing spin for the new platform, which is full of generalisations and promotional wording, actually makes it difficult to understand how the new system actually works. But the gist of it seems to be that this is an overall management platform, which uses machine learning to help Cuckoo both run its business and interact with customers.

Kraken aims to enable the replication of Octopus’ operating model, which apparently reduces the cost-to-serve by up to 40%, leads to better client and employee satisfaction, and also makes it easier for customers to solve their own issues (no examples are given for that).

Tommy Toner, Co-Founder of Cuckoo, said:

“We set up Cuckoo in the depths of the pandemic because we had the burning drive to make the broadband experience better. We’ve grown quickly, but to drive real change, we need the tech prowess and operational expertise that Kraken will unlock. We’re delighted to be their first broadband client.”

Development work has already begun, with the intention of starting to migrate Cuckoo’s customers to its own Kraken-enabled in-house tech platform in the next few months. We suspect this may also help with their plans to start offering broadband packages over other networks too, such as those provided via Fern Trading (e.g. Giganet, Jurassic Fibre and Swish Fibre) – assuming they aren’t sold off post-consolidation.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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17 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Alastair says:

    Octopus themselves do alright but their main outside customer for Kraken is Eon.Next, who have just had an investigation opened by Ofgem into their terrible customer service…

    1. Avatar photo The banditman says:

      So has Cuckoo with ofcom, seems to be a match made in heaven.

    2. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      The remarkable thing is that E.ON UK have adopted as their core business CRM platform for the UK that is controlled by a major competitor, designed around that competitor’s requirements and processes (maybe the IT platform should have been called Cuckoo?). I’m sure it looked like amazing value to E.ON’s management, but because Octopus group are not an IT group, they’ll eventually sell Kraken, and the new owner will either sunset the product or put the licence fees up to pay for the acquisition costs. That’ll likely be repeated a number of times until the product is either dead or in the hands of SAP, Oracle or Infor (for those interested in the lifecycle dynamics of IT assets, search ERP Graveyard).

      E.ON has energy supply businesses with 51m customers across Germany, UK, Sweden, Holland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania etc logic would suggest that they need a single core CRM with per-country adaptations. Some years ago they were moving towards SAP as being the group standard, I’m sure the finance and transactional back office systems remain SAP, why take a strategic risk with a CRM system cobbled together by a new entrant?

      For Cuckoo, whilst it seems like common sense to adopt a group platform, is it really? Kraken was built for energy supply, and the different regulation, different products, different billing conventions mean that an energy CRM is probably a poor basis for a telecoms CRM. Those outside of both industries probably won’t see that argument, those within either will realise that the needs and business processes are hugely different. But of course, if you’re going to sell Kraken, you’ll want a sizeable client roster.

    3. Avatar photo Chris says:


      They probably realised that they couldn’t compete with the newcomers such as Octopus because their legacy outdated CRM was probably an absolute mess that was unable to be adapted. Note that before adopting Kraken they didn’t offer any proper smart products.. in fact I don’t think any other supplier has managed to with extent that Octopus has.

      Also the points you mentioned regarding acquisitions and license fees going up.. yeah that’s all valid but how do you know that wasn’t already the case with their existing CRM?

      I can completely understand it from their point of view. A decades old company stuck using various systems built up and cobbled together over the years, developed by companies that no longer exist or people that have died. Then all of a sudden there’s a modern cloud based platform that does exactly what they need and then some. It’s probably cheaper too and a million times easier for support personnel which means they’re more productive and ultimately less staff are required which saves a fortune.

      You mention that Octopus are not an IT company. Perhaps the overall group but Octopus Energy is 100% an IT company. They’re not UK Power Networks or other grid operators. They are a service company that has developed a platform that enables them to act as an energy reseller.

      Also regarding your last point, I imagine they have effectively two versions of Kraken now. Probably merged their existing telecoms platform into it and rebranded or are writing from scratch. Like having one called Kraken Energy and the other Kraken Telecoms but both under a single brand for marketing purposes.

  2. Avatar photo Ben says:

    ISP ultimately owned by Octopus Investments adopts platform ultimately owned by Octopus Energy. Not particularly surprising?

  3. Avatar photo bob says:

    This is interesting as they’d put a lot of work into their own “Flock” platform and had hoped to licence it as a competitor to Kraken. But I guess makes sense now they’re ultimately owned by Octopus

    1. Avatar photo Skeptic says:

      Cuckoo to me, as a non customer with no problems with them, just comes across as a typical startup that won’t really innovate or do much in the long term besides grow as a challenger to ‘big internet’.

      Let’s be honest, they’re only as big as they are because of marketing plus help from a £5,000,000 investment before acquisition. The guys who found it are pretty good at starting up brands, but in 10 years from now will Cuckoo actually be as good as they say they want to be, or are they destined to become what they say they don’t want to be & just be another typical large household name?

      I don’t see the grassroots in them that you would have saw in the earlier days of retail ISP’s. I don’t see guys that were into the technology when they started up. I see the founders as people who read a book on creating businesses, wrote a story ‘internet service bad, big corporate no good, industry needed fix’, then raised more money than I’ll see in my life to make the business a reality.

      Maybe they’re really good. But I’m skeptical in the long run because another business that I’ve had no dealings with, Andrews and Arnold, does actually have a culture of being something different by either doing stuff from scratch or adopting approaches fairly early on. They had a de-facto SoGEA product about 20 years ago and used VoIP. They have their own line of networking appliances instead of just purchasing from pre-established vendors, created services such as SIP2SIM that looks very cool (but expensive for my taste), multiple lines with bonding/failover, mobile broadband backup, and are already known as one of the best retail suppliers in the market by choosing to go for a boutique market of clients that will pay more for a service they can depend on.

      The closest Cuckoo has ever come to innovation is overnight couriering you a dongle with a SIM card and modem, to get you online before the activation/switch to them happens. As far as I know you can not even pay Cuckoo to use it as a backup connection, you need to pick somebody else’s network afterwards.

      [Quick sidenote actually – the dongle is £40 unless you return it to them in the prepaid envelope. I assume it’s on top of the 40 you pay to receive the Eggspress service so £80 if you keep it. Probably decent if it works with all routers and devices. I have a dongle that uses RNDIS which works great with Windows but absolute pain for anything else; WiFi router doesn’t really like it, Ubuntu doesn’t really like it either.]

      I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of the ‘flock’ platform & a quick Google search turned up nothing for me, so will take your word on it. If it’s true that it was an intention of theirs then it isn’t a surprise that Kraken was adopted, they don’t exist to be anything unique. Every new ISP has similar words in their marketing, Cuckoo just happens to be very good at marketing.

      Nothing very innovative will come from them anytime soon or in the far future. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were in ten years a generic household name with not much to offer, like all the others they claim to dislike

  4. Avatar photo Tom says:

    Kraken has transformed the energy sector and its about time we can better service in Broadband. Well done Cuckoo and Kraken.

    1. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      I’m an Octopus Energy customer, to say “transformed” is a bit over the top.

      My smart meter data is collected and a bill is issued and paid via direct debit just like any other supplier does. Octopus haven’t “transformed” any of that for me. As I do not have an electric car (couldn’t have a charger installed anyway) and am not in a position to have solar installed, none of the fancy tariffs benefit me.

      I got a few quid back when they were trialing the (no) power hours but that was based on a National Grid idea anyway.

    2. Avatar photo Matt says:

      You get a daily breakdown of usage, on each bill, in 30 minute chunks.

      My partner has been with 3 different suppliers over 3 years and you cannot look for anomalies of why a bill was high or low, the lowest granularity you get is monthly. (With a smart meter)

      You can see live data from the app, regardless where you are if you have a home mini – as a credit customer, not PAYG.

      You can query your own data and do with it whatever you want, start the washing machine, charge batteries etc. etc.

      I’m not sure how you can say its not transformative. Go ask any other supplier (of any size) what they can do and it pales in comparison.

      Just because you’re not using anything they provide, doesn’t mean it isn’t a positive for the industry.
      The only downside is since they took on Bulb I think they’ve had some staffing growing pains. Hopefully they sort that out reasonably quickly.

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      Yes, I have the mini display that came with the meter and it tells me what’s going on (without Octopus’s help). I also still have a Current Cost meter in the drawer that did it before I had the smart meter.

      I’m sure some technically minded people will love the ability to query the APIs and get the data and all that guff – but my complaint was about the word “transformed”, implying something big, and it’s really not. It’s stuff that 99.999% of customers aren’t using, and as I said, that includes people like me who *can’t* make any use of the agile tariff.

      On the stuff that *does* matter, I remember multi-day waits for email replies, and that was before buying Bulb.

    4. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Ivor, I have no idea what this Kraken does or if it makes any difference to the service I have from Octopus. I read my meter a couple of times a month, send it to them via the net, and they send me a statement of how much I have spent.

    5. Avatar photo Mr Nice says:

      @Ad47uk says “I read my meter a couple of times a month, send it to them”

      Surely once a month is enough, two times is the act of a crazy man.

    6. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Mr Nice, that is not very nice, maybe you should change your name 🙂

      A smart meter sends the data to the energy company every 15 minutes or so, which means the meters are being read every 15 minutes, people can look at that data when ever they want. I am doing the same thing, but twice a month.
      I just keeping it in check.

    7. Avatar photo Guy says:

      It hasn’t transformed the energy sector. However it’s a modern alternative to the legacy heap of shit CRMs and energy management platforms that all the other suppliers were using.

      Our retail energy suppliers just resell from the grid and don’t do much more so having the best software is the primary reason octopus have been able to get a foothold and take customers from the other suppliers.

    8. Avatar photo André says:

      Well, they have control of my car’s charging and schedule sessions so that they coincide with times of less stress on the grid or lower carbon intensity.

      So far it’s been working fine, I would certainly call that pretty innovative. 🙂

  5. Avatar photo Emma Ayers says:

    They’ve just made the majority of their Service team redundant and their GlassDoor reviews speak volumes about the internal culture and toxicity – I couldn’t support a company like that

Comments are closed

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