In 1999 Tarmac Construction de-merged its construction to services business and Carillion was launched on the Stock Exchange. In 2006 Carillion acquired Mowlem, giving the combined company an estimated annual turnover of around £4 billion last year, 50,000 employees worldwide – 35,000 in the UK – and a growing order book that is currently worth £16bn. The acquisition of Mowlem was a major highlight for the business last year, according to Steve Connor, group IT director of Carillion. “Mowlem was almost as big as Carillion, so absorbing it was an incredibly challenging opportunity,” says Connor. “Overall the integration of the business and the IT has gone really well. The time it has taken and the savings we have made on integrating the operating units, business units and people have exceeded both our own and City expectations.”

For the last two years the company has been implementing Oracle and, following the Mowlem acquisition, the project has been extended to encompass the enlarged group. Connor says the project is not just about putting in a system, but developing new processes and business systems based on shared services for the whole organisation.

Connor’s plan is to complete the implementation of Oracle and the standardisation of PCs and back-office services. “We want one IT standard and IT service delivery model,” he says. “We have strong service level agreements and all Carillion’s businesses have a service target that we pledge to meet. We measure everything carefully, and have been putting the same processes in place for the integrated Mowlem businesses.”

The next 12 months will see Connor’s team continuing the Oracle implementation. “We have a back-office systems job to finish, and we will also be completing a true standardisation of PCs and servers, which we are aiming to complete in the second quarter of this year.”

Connor says a Vista feasibility study is built into the IT function’s plans, which they will carry out over the next 12 months. “Vista is inevitable, but we want to find out more, and expect it will be two years before we go ahead with it. It will be the second half of 2008 to 2009 if the business case for it stacks up.”

“Vista is inevitable, but we want to find out more, and expect it will be two years before we go ahead with it”
– Steve Connor, group IT director, Carillion