Severn Trent Water CIO on transforming the tech behind the tap

CIO Interview: Myron Hrycyk, Severn Trent Water

Severn Trent Water is in the middle of a major technology transformation that will see a fundamental change in the way its employees work and also underpin a new state-of-the-art headquarters.

When Myron Hrycyk joined Severn Trent as CIO around two and a half years ago, he was charged with constructing the technology strategy that would support the utility company's next five-year planning cycle, which starts this April.

The cycle will be focused on the twin challenges of reducing customer costs while delivering better quality services - challenges the water industry as a whole is being put to by its regulator - and Severn Trent is already using technology to help meet these objectives by making staff more effective and efficient in their daily work.

With such efficiency in mind, the technology transformation currently underway at the water company will change the way the company is organised, with a higher degree of mobility a priority.

"What I realised when I joined two years was that actually to achieve those new ways of working... what we needed to do was transform the underlying technology infrastructure," Hrycyk told

The business transformation kicked off in December 2008 with the implementation of a new SAP ERP system, to replace ageing Oracle financial technology as well as more than 100 other legacy systems.

A major tech transformation is underway at Severn Trent Water

A major tech transformation is underway at Severn Trent Water
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

With the help of IBM, the replacement of the legacy back office systems was completed one year later, and saw the introduction of new employee and management self service portals, as well as core HR, financial and procurement tools.

The second phase of the SAP implementation, begun in January this year, will see the replacement of the company's legacy asset management system as well as bringing in new work scheduling and mobile functionality to employees.

The £60m SAP implementation went on to spawn a desktop virtualisation project to allow staff to access business systems wherever they happen to be working within the organisation, helping to support the aim of making the workforce more mobile.

Around the time the first phase of the SAP rollout was completed, Severn Trent commissioned Computacenter to run a desktop virtualisation pilot of around 50 staff to deliver the Windows 7 OS to thin clients PCs using technology from Citrix - something that was quickly seen as a success.

"People who weren't on the thin clients, virtualised technology and new Microsoft platform actually were clamouring to get their hands on it because they could see the look and feel was better and the features were really attractive," Hrycyk said.

Following the pilot, Severn Trent chose Computacenter to carry out the full-scale rollout of the virtualisation technology, with the planning stage beginning at the start of 2010.

The deployment, due to be completed in June or July of this year and costing Severn Trent £3.5m, will see the 2,000 strong workforce move off a Windows XP and Lotus Notes environment onto...