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.
The 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.
“We have about 1400 of the [Windows 8] devices now, so for the first time, we have equipped all field staff with these phones,” Wilson said.
“The 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.
“Employees 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,” he said.
Sydney Water is testing whether the shift to Office 365 can further improve productivity.
“If there’s 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, the organisation has formed a new team – including people from IT and customer service – to create customer-oriented mobile apps.
“The 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,” Wilson said.
“These are being brought together under a new group which is going to determine how we go forward with a centralised customer app strategy. It’s not just IT. We all work for the customer.”
The 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.
For a full rundown on Sydney Water’s strategic vision for technology, read our profile interview with Stephen Wilson in the latest issue of CIO Australia.