WS Atkins is an engineering support company, with operations in many different engineering fields that are heavily underpinned by IT. It is the largest engineering consultancy in the UK and the largest multi-discipline consultancy in Europe. Its corporate structure reflects the different markets it operates in: highways and transportation; rail; design and engineering; management and project services; asset management; equity investments; and the Middle East and China. It has a large IT consultancy arm, which specialises in content management, geographical information systems and managed services.

Last year it set up two steering committees to align IT more closely in such a diverse business and to streamline IT decision making. It works across both the public and private sector and most recently won a £65 million rail infrastructure contract with Network Rail to carry out a signal and infrastructure upgrade.

The company recently bought engineering consultancy MSL Engineering for £6.8m, which could present some IT integration challenges. MSL specialises in the integrity management of offshore oil and gas installations and has large contracts in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Atkins has been in the oil and
gas business since 1975, providing support and engineering through the value chain, from exploration to retail. It specialises in applying advanced analysis techniques throughout the lifecycle, from planning and feasibility through to commissioning, operation, upgrade and abandonment.