Severn Trent has completed the first phase of a major technology efficiency overhaul, switching on a central module of its new SAP enterprise resource planning system.

The water utility said in November that it was “on track” to deliver £22.2 million cost savings for the year by improving business processes, introducing a lean management structure and moving to a central office in Coventry.

The company has been working with service provider IBM to analyse processes and data models, in order to redesign operations in finance, procurement, human resources, and in water and waste business functions. It has also realigned its IT department around service delivery, development and strategy, as well as core business areas.

It wants to speed decision making, customer service response and regulatory reporting, following some much-publicised difficulties. In 2008, the company was fined a total of £38 million by regulator Ofwat over false compliance data, poor customer service and covering up leakage data.

Severn Trent has now begun to standardise and streamline processes, and to improve collaboration with mobile field staff and business partners through supplier portals and self-service technology.

Tony Wray, chief executive, said the programme was “probably the biggest change initiative we have undergone in our recent history". He added that it had begun to introduce "greater intelligence and control into our processes”.

The second phase will involve the rollout of a workforce scheduling and mobility solution, and will begin later this year.