Severn Trent CIO Myron Hrycyk's big desk move

See also: Severn Trent Water in the CIO 100

Much has been said about CIO Myron Hrycyk’s rationalization of Severn Trent Water’s site portfolio into one location in Coventry.

A large part of the move from 12 sites to one, is around the deployment of an SAP-based ERP system, but as is often the case, the devil is in the detail and the project has now progressed to less grand but equally critical systems, such as email.

The water company, employs over 5,500 people and serves over 8 million customers across the heart of the UK.

1,900 staff occupy the head office building, but it’s not big enough for all of them at once and operates at 120 per cent capacity, Hrycyk explained to CIO UK.

The initiative included introducing a virtualized desktop environment with thin client laptops, Wi-Fi, mobile phones and follow-me printing.

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“Employees work at any desk. They can set up then and there and get the same look and feel from any PC,” says Hrycyk.

Part of that desktop toolset is email, which for a highly reactive customer-centric utility like Severn Trent can be business critical. Quest Software signed up to migrate email from Lotus Notes to Exchange and automate user provisioning through its identity management solutions.

Speed of response when customers have problems is vital, so there was no room for downtime during the migration.

At the bottom of the move is an intention by Hrycyk to improve on opportunities of collaborative working for the company’s workforce.

He says: “Now that we have virtual desktops, there is a greater opportunity for virtual teams to form. People can work more flexibly to come together to complete a task. Back-office staff sit alongside front-office staff to break down siloes.”

Email is the basic building block of this collaborative working environment as with any other workplace, but Hrycyk expects to integrate dedicated shared working applications, and thinks the move to Exchange will allow him to move to hosted desktop applications in a few years, once Microsoft has established a solid cloud offering.