Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS)


INFORMATION by Stephen Ibaraki

Success lessons, Piera Fasoli, CIO Gruppo HERA, winner of the 2015 European CIO of the Year Award

Quoted from Digital Leadership Report (see for more info)

Piera Fasoli, CIO of Gruppo HERA

Category: Public Sector

Activity: distribution of gas, water, energy, and waste collection and treatment in the provinces of Bologna; Ferrara; Forlì-Cesena; Modena; Ravenna; Rimini, Pesaro-Urbino; Padova; Udine; Gorizia; and Trieste.

Turnover (EUR): 4,19 B

Employees (FTE): 8,200

About the IT division

Full Time Equivalents: 120

% of Total IT Budget from last year spent on:

Operations and Maintenance: 70%

New Application Development: 30%

A selection of recent accomplishments

One of Gruppo Hera's key operating units is waste management (the other three are water, energy network, customer technical services in addition with retail and trading). To enhance waste collection management services, Fasoli led a program (HERGO) as agreed upon Business. One part of the program involved integrating Gruppo Hera's ERP with business and geo-analytics platforms so that data about assets (such as the number, type and placement of more than 300.000 waste containers) was integrated with resource and service planning software – all of which are accessible by any type of device. The introduction of mobile technologies and sensors, connected with a central system, has allowed for more significantly more efficient and centralized management of the services. With the new platform, the rest of the business has been able to monitor the state of the assets and consequently, innovate new services.

To facilitate working with external third parties, Fasoli and her team also made sure to make some of the data securely accessible by third parties, who are responsible for part of the services: they access the SAP system through a web interface, which has the same functionality as the HERA portal; similarly to the other service providers, they are equipped with field devices for data reception and analytics.

Initiated Hera's Beam project in order to answer the necessity of managing commercial and industrial, gas smart meter reading unit. The information generated by the smart meters feeds the central information network and is easily accesses by operators using a mobility platform. Furthermore, the employees and external vendors can now use in safe and scalable mode the available services through mobile devices, related for example to the energy consumption, the remote re-programming, the technical, account and reporting activities, etc. Currently Hera manages 50 thousand commercial and industrial smart meter reading unit and 1,1 million residential gas reading unit.

A selection of key lessons and advice

Provide IT and the rest of the business with frequent opportunities to engage. – Before last re-organization (in 2014), the IT team of HERA group met with the business every other month to either gather requirements, present and discuss the latest solution, or update them on the implementation process. This process was cumbersome. Now, the IT team meets with the business every week, not only to gather requirements but also to identify smaller, quick wins that can be developed in a agile way. This has –among other things – dramatically improved the quality of the results of the IT team, as well as the timeframe in which these results were delivered.

Make it attractive for those working in other parts of the business to work in IT. – Fasoli has created a function within IT, where people who have worked for three to five years in other parts of the business, and who also have a technological background, serve as demand managers to the business owners. They tend to be especially adept at quickly learning IT fundamentals. This role has emerged as a very attractive and strategic role.


"The hardest challenge is to translate the business requirements to IT, and at the same time explain the IT model to the business. We need to find a common language."

See Journal: NYC, Pennsylvania, Geneva, Brussels - CIO CITY, Amsterdam, Paris