Severn Trent Water CIO’s strategy update

Back in March 2010 I travelled to Birmingham to interview the CIO of Severn Trent Water, Myron Hrycyk. During the interview the CIO discussed the new headquarters that the utility company was building for itself and how he as the CIO had been involved in its development.

It didn't need Hrycyk to say it, because it was clear that their Birmingham HQ building was looking more than a little tired. A year later I again met with Hrycyk to discuss how his strategy was developing at the new HQ in Coventry.

The transformation in working environment was staggering, not only because we were now meeting in a shining new building with lots of natural light, but as Hrycyk showed me around, you could see how the CIO has helped garner a collaborative and fluid working environment where workers pool together for creative thinking rather than being penned in by cubicles. There are spacious areas for large groups to use electronic whiteboards and group-think up a way to solve problems. A constant flow of walking traffic takes place as workers move about freely and perch on each other's desks to share ideas. This reservoir of open space exists on every floor, even the executives on the top floor sit in an open space that reflects their workforce.

Hrycyk joined Severn Trent Water two and half years ago. He works directly for the chief executive and is on a new board at the utility that has been transforming the organisation since it first sat round a table.

Myron Hrycyk explains his total operational reorganisation" href="">Severn Trent Water CIO Myron Hrycyk explains his total operational reorganisation

"There were three main strategic aims, a new infrastructure around the SAP implementation; accommodations, our new building and thirdly the Safer Better Faster technique that we have adopted from the automotive sector," Hrycyk explains.

Severn Trent Water has 42,000 kilometres of water services, enough to journey from Coventry to the moon and back again.

"The water industry is very heavily regulated. The regulations set some tough standards to the industry on how we spend capital and on the levels of operational expenditure and they wanted us to lower our bills to our customers," Hrycyk says of why the new Severn Trent Water board had to set out on its three way journey to renew its IT infrastructure, building and business processes.

"To do that we needed to drive out efficiencies in the way we work." One of the strategic decisions Hrycyk and his fellow board members took was to adopt workforce management technology at the same time as they implemented an SAP enterprise resource planning system as the backbone of the Midlands operation. Hrycyk went for the system offered by ClickSoftware, who also provide workforce management systems to OnStream, a part of the National Grid company, Sky the broadcaster and insurance providers Aviva.

"Click plays directly to the KPIs of Severn Trent Water in terms of customer complaint avoidance and that means we spend our operating expenditure more efficiently; and it will feed into a far more efficient use of our capital expenditure as well," he says.

"We saw a good opportunity to improve the way we repaired leaks, attended to maintenance in our infrastructure through changing our working practices and technology.

"We have some very clear aims on the benefits: a better service to our customers, to fix faults and repairs more timely and appointments to be more convenient for customers." Severn Trent Water also believes this strategy will enable it to make more efficient use of its work crews of civil engineers.

Myron Hrycyk, Severn Trent Water" href="">The CIO Questionnaire: Myron Hrycyk, Severn Trent Water

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