PwC with Yorkshire Water

Technology Transformation

MCA Awards Finalist 2024Yorkshire Water Services (YWS) had to be capable of responding to the demands of a growing population, and to the impact on its assets of unpredictable weather events. However, its rigid IT system could no longer handle current maintenance demands, so employees often adopted workarounds that were inefficient, costly and provided little feedback, which left managers without the right data for making operational and strategic decisions.

PwC was engaged to modernise the organisation’s asset maintenance operations and enable the business to become more responsive, use its assets and resources effectively, and equip field staff to be more productive. Furthermore, the technology itself had to be cost-effective and deliver value rapidly.

The firm proposed a technology transformation that would exploit the potential of cutting-edge SAP technology, and adopt a phased rollout to maintain continuity of service while ultimately helping the client make a 30-year leap forward in its technology and working practices.

The transformation began with the co-creation of a strategic roadmap that would guide the modernisation of the YWS work scheduling and asset management processes, for both its reactive and planned maintenance activities.

From the outset, a ‘one delivery team’ approach combined the specialisms of YWS, PwC and SAP. In order to harness the first-hand knowledge of the client’s work planners, schedulers and field technicians, the programme team conducted regular ‘show and tell’ sessions, to demonstrate progress and features, and understand the stakeholders’ evolving needs.

The firm deployed an SAP S/4HANA solution that integrated the latest, proven modules on SAP’s cloud-based platform. Notably, the project was the first (pre-release) deployment of SAP Dynamic Forms, which enabled the firm to solve a crucial problem of outdated, rigid and often irrelevant forms. A guiding principle of the programme was to use standard SAP functionality, even where that meant changing some working practices, which would minimise customisation, allow faster implementation and reduce ownership costs.

PwC’s solution was piloted to 20 users within eight months, then rolled out in phases according to business area, functionality and geography. The firm’s ‘fail fast’ / ‘minimum viable product’ approach enabled it to incorporate the latest technology and deliver effective change quickly.
The client’s legacy forms had often led to poor, or missing, data, so it was important to assess, cleanse and update the client’s data hierarchy and asset data in line with industry best practices. In particular, field technicians now have technology that enables them to raise data quality issues, and help keep YWS’ data, as well as its physical assets, in good condition.

The programme has won PwC the 2023 SAP Innovations Award, and will be rolled out to 7,000 sites by the end of its four years. Even at its current stage, YWS is realising the benefits of sending the right people to do the right work in the right place, and return the right data. Better data helps the organisation prioritise, schedule and track its operations more effectively, making maintenance more efficient, and creating the capacity to be more responsive.

View the PwC profile in the MCA Members Directory.