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Case study

The challenge

For Severn Trent Water (STW), one of the largest water service providers in the UK, legacy tools, waterfall development, manual processes and siloed teams inhibited innovation. STW’s software-driven business covers real-time metering and leak, water quality and wastewater management. With almost 60% of its more than 350 applications heavily customized commercial-off-the-shelf apps, including SAP and third-party field management apps, maintaining this large and complex portfolio left little time for innovation. To cut costs and free up time, STW engaged Cognizant Digital Engineering for a sustainable digital transformation.

Our approach

After conducting over 60 interviews with STW staff Cognizant zeroed in on three goals:

  • Shifting the mindset toward innovation and collaboration
  • Adopting Agile and DevOps ways of working
  • Improving application agility

To achieve these goals, we recommended shared workspaces, goals and incentives; Agile and DevOps processes; and adopting a modern technology stack on cloud unlocking applications from legacy data centres.

STW business leaders trained on value-stream mapping, with the help of a “Weighted Shortest Job First model”, to do the right prioritisation in different business situations. The core transformation team—STW leaders and Digital Engineering experts from Cognizant—focused on modernizing team structures and encouraging Agile development teams to work on application features that interested them the most. Meetings shifted away from the office environment to bring previously siloed teams together.

Industry recognition for digital transformation

Cognizant’s partnership with STW on its digital transformation journey—spanning people and culture, process and technology—won the 2019 DevOps Industry Award for Most Successful Cultural Transformation and the 2019 ISG Paragon Award in EMEA for Collaboration. Application release time accelerated from 12 weeks to four weeks. STW freed up 20% more time to innovate while improving job satisfaction and helping STW attract and retain top talent. In an anonymous survey, 85% of employees felt empowered, 90% felt they belonged, 78% felt they now had empathy for other teams, and 88% felt collaboration and communication had improved significantly.


acceleration in application release cycle


acceleration in project start time


increase in first-time right ratio