Flush with cash: UK utility Southern Water names 13 winners who'll drink up £50m application deal

Firm provides fresh water and wastewater to millions of Brits


IBM, Tata Consultancy Services, and Wipro are among 13 winners on a £50m deal to help build and manage applications for UK utility Southern Water.

The £878m-turnover infrastructure company, which provides water services across southern England from Hampshire to Kent, named the vendors as a pool of pre-qualified service providers to build, operate, and transfer applications.

The winners fall into five lots: digital services such as application lifecycle management development; consulting, software development, internet and support; management of assets and geographic information systems; operational technology and telemetry services; and enterprise information management.

Oracle and SAP make up the basis of the utility's main application estate.

Southern Water has already signed up with MTI Technology (snaffled by Ricoh), a Brit IT services biz, in a £15m contract to provide professional and managed services for data centre modernisation, data protection, and security in what was described as a digital transformation. MTI was also to host business applications, including SAP, Microsoft Exchange, and Oracle databases.

The utility firm, which provides water to 2.6 million customers and wastewater services to more than 4.7 million homes, has a long-running relationship with IT services and outsourcing firm Capita, which it extended for five years in 2018 in a deal worth £30m.

A consortium of investors calling itself Greensands Holdings Limited own Southern Water, with the biggest shareholder being JP Morgan [PDF, see page 8].

Where there's water, there's phishing, apparently

A cyberattack led to the shutdown of some Southern Water systems in February last year. An employee had inadvertently opened an attachment in an email purporting to be from the company's CEO with a subject of "Coronavirus", a source said. The insider told The Register that networks including the system responsible for Supervision, Control, and Data Acquisition (SCADA) were affected.

The company has also struggled with its business data. In June 2019, Southern Water was hit by £126m [PDF] in penalties from the regulator Ofwat for breaching its statutory duties on sewage treatment, including the "deliberate misreporting" of data, and the dumping of untreated effluent into beaches, rivers, and streams.

The fine illustrates the broader management challenges any IT transformation will be required to support. Ofwat said: "We have... concluded that [Southern Water] has failed: to have adequate systems of planning, governance and internal controls in place to be able to manage its wastewater treatment works [and] to accurately report information about the performance of these works." ®


Other stories you might like

  • DigitalOcean tries to take sting out of price hike with $4 VM
    Cloud biz says it is reacting to customer mix largely shifting from lone devs to SMEs

    DigitalOcean attempted to lessen the sting of higher prices this week by announcing a cut-rate instance aimed at developers and hobbyists.

    The $4-a-month droplet — what the infrastructure-as-a-service outfit calls its virtual machines — pairs a single virtual CPU with 512 MB of memory, 10 GB of SSD storage, and 500 GB a month in network bandwidth.

    The launch comes as DigitalOcean plans a sweeping price hike across much of its product portfolio, effective July 1. On the low-end, most instances will see pricing increase between $1 and $16 a month, but on the high-end, some products will see increases of as much as $120 in the case of DigitalOceans’ top-tier storage-optimized virtual machines.

    Continue reading
  • GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims
    Fine-print crucially deemed contractual agreement as well as copyright license in smartTV source-code case

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has won a significant legal victory in its ongoing effort to force Vizio to publish the source code of its SmartCast TV software, which is said to contain GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 copyleft-licensed components.

    SFC sued Vizio, claiming it was in breach of contract by failing to obey the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 licenses that require source code to be made public when certain conditions are met, and sought declaratory relief on behalf of Vizio TV owners. SFC wanted its breach-of-contract arguments to be heard by the Orange County Superior Court in California, though Vizio kicked the matter up to the district court level in central California where it hoped to avoid the contract issue and defend its corner using just federal copyright law.

    On Friday, Federal District Judge Josephine Staton sided with SFC and granted its motion to send its lawsuit back to superior court. To do so, Judge Staton had to decide whether or not the federal Copyright Act preempted the SFC's breach-of-contract allegations; in the end, she decided it didn't.

    Continue reading
  • US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting
    Citizen allegedly moved $10m-plus in BTC into banned nation

    US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country.

    It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US.

    Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. If there is evidence the IEEA was willfully violated, a criminal case should follow. If an individual or financial exchange was unwittingly involved in evading sanctions, they may be subject to civil action. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022