Sydney Water is boosting its mobility credentials with the rollout of Apple iPads and Windows 8 smartphones across most of its workforce. The organisation is also deploying the Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based productivity and collaboration suite and Lync to support workers.\nThe Windows 8 smartphones were chosen due to the seamless integration with Microsoft SharePoint and Office applications, CIO Stephen Wilson said in an interview published in the latest edition of CIO Australia.\n\u201cWe have about 1400 of the [Windows 8] devices now, so for the first time, we have equipped all field staff with these phones,\u201d Wilson said.\n\u201cThe total cost of ownership of the whole fleet only went up by 7 per cent. And what we gave people is not just a smartphone, access to email and contacts, but more importantly, data.\n\u201cEmployees could take photos of incidents or unsafe things and report them immediately. We also targeted an app for safety reporting and put it on a Windows 8 phone,\u201d he said.\nSydney Water is testing whether the shift to Office 365 can further improve productivity.\n\u201cIf there\u2019s no difference between Windows and another platform, we might ultimately say they can get anything they want as long as they use it in these parameters,\u201d he said.\nMeanwhile, the organisation has formed a new team \u2013 including people from IT and customer service \u2013 to create customer-oriented mobile apps.\n\u201cThe customer app being tested was driven by the customer division, but we also have a safety app that has been driven by people, leadership and culture division with service delivery; and we have a leak detection reporting initiative,\u201d Wilson said.\n\u201cThese are being brought together under a new group which is going to determine how we go forward with a centralised customer app strategy. It\u2019s not just IT. We all work for the customer.\u201d\nThe company is using Windows 8 devices to beta test the customer app, with plans to extend to iOS and Android phones later in the year.\nFor a full rundown on Sydney Water\u2019s strategic vision for technology, read our profile interview with Stephen Wilson in the latest issue of CIO Australia.