Case Study

Making the case for Strategic Enterprise Architecture at Kier

How can we inspire IT leaders to buy into the Enterprise Architecture journey?

Project Details

Client:

Kier

Konvergent Team:

2 Consultants

Goal:

Help set out the need for a professional Enterprise Architecture practice at Kier

Project Dates:

Jan 18 – Aug 18

The Ask...

Kier’s boardroom wanted to increase cross-selling between their businesses to reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies. Knowing that this strategy would mean a heavy lift in business and data architecture, their Head of Architecture felt the time had come to move his team into Enterprise Architecture. 

This would require new skills and an expansion of their role beyond technology assurance and solution architecture. What he didn’t have was buy-in from the IT Leadership Team to make this play. 

He knew his ideas would have more credibility if they were supported by compelling evidence from an experienced third party, so he contacted Konvergent to help him build a case for investment. 

The Outcome...

“...by leveraging pre-prepared templates and the deep experience from the assigned Architects, they were able to offer a quick launch capability to each engagement. I can't recommend the team highly enough and we are looking forward to the ongoing engagement as we mature the Architecture function within Kier."

Richard Gray, Head of Architecture - Kier

Results

CIO approval to develop EA Maturity

Architecture Charter and Principles delivered

Level 2 maturity achieved in ‘EA Process’ Domain

The Konvergent Approach:

Design Phase (January 2018)

During the design phase we:

  • Selected stakeholders from within IT and the business to ensure the right balance of detractors and evangelists.

  • Tailored the assessment to ensure it identified the right dimensions of Enterprise Architecture for this environment.

  • Chose from Konvergent’s extensive pool of standardised questions to ensure stakeholder interviews delivered a consistent and objective result.
DesignPhase

Capture and Analysis (February 2018)

The Capture and Analysis phase consisted of:

  • Interviews with nine stakeholders in line with their availability (which was a battle within itself).

  • Analysing the stakeholder feedback to determine the mean Maturity Score for each dimension.

  • Selecting key quotes to present to the IT Leadership Team. 

  • Identifying major themes that emerged from the interviews.
CaptureandAnalysis

Summary Roadmap (Mid-March 2018)

Once our data was collated and analysed, we reported our recommendations to the Head of Architecture and prepared the executive presentation, which outlined:

  • The current maturity level.

  • The key themes identified by the stakeholders.

  • Recommendations for areas of improvement.

  • A summary roadmap for Enterprise Architecture maturity.
SummaryRoadmap

Detailed Roadmap (Late March 2018)

The Head of Architecture requested a further engagement with our Chief Architect to help him assess the best ways of introducing new skill sets into his practice on a limited budget. This work produced a detailed roadmap and an additional executive presentation that demonstrated the skills shortage within his Architecture practice and set out a phased maturity programme.

DetailedRoadmap

Follow-up engagement (May-August 2018)

Due to the success of the EA Maturity Assessment and the success of the presentations we developed for Kier’s IT leaders, the Head of Architecture engaged Konvergent to bring Kier Architecture further along the maturity roadmap. This stage saw us develop a right-fit Architecture Charter and a specification for the Architecture Capability at Kier, as well as a comms strategy and a further executive presentation to kick-start their messaging. 

The Outcome:

By sharing our lessons learned and strategies with Kier’s Head of Architecture, Konvergent was able to support the Architecture function in establishing and communicating their value proposition. To help Kier’s Head of Architecture land his message with the IT Leadership Team, Konvergent produced three executive presentations. They were clear and concise, highlighting the skills gap between industry standard and the ‘as is’ Kier practice, as well as setting out the Chief Architect’s roadmap for change.

On seeing opportunities to bring new skills into in-flight programmes, the Head of Architecture is now working to further develop Business Architecture and Data Architecture within the business, and is setting the foundations of his year-one maturity goals.

Lessons Learned

Fighting the 'So what?' response

Kier’s Head of Architecture made a brilliant case for EA maturity, but there were still some people in the chain of command who didn’t accept the need to change.

How to overcome:

  • Find some levers: We helped Kier’s Head of Architecture find the most politically-sensitive issues that he could help mitigate and helped him to present his EA solution. This drove two opportunities to embed data architecture into in-flight programmes to begin building that area of the practice.

  • Make it a team win: Kier already had a stakeholder matrix, but we added columns for ‘biggest challenges’ and ‘opportunities to make them look good’ so we could find ways of increasing their reputation in our comms.

  • Get air cover from the Business: Kier EA have evangelists in the Business Architecture team, so the Head of Architecture was able to present Konvergent’s Business Capability 101 pack to a Senior Leader so he could consider using this approach to support thier Business Strategy efforts for the coming planning cycle.

Getting to 'do' Business Engagement

If you’ve ever proposed going to the business to consult them, you’ve probably had the business engagement bunfight.

 

How to overcome:

  • Write a contract: Kier’s Head of Architecture drew up a contract that set out the RACI between his area and other IT areas. This allowed him to negotiate clearly defined roles and responsibilities that included access to the business for his EA team. Points of contention were to be discussed and agreed with the IT Leadership Team so executive backing was baked into the agreement.

  • Expect to fine tune: With RACI to guide them, your people should be able to engage with the business when they need to. In cases of overstepped bounds, be sure to acknowledge the breach – otherwise you may find yourself back in court. Kier’s Head of Architecture knows he will need to continue to advise his team on edge cases, but feels much more confident that he won’t need to perform damage control on a daily basis.

Results

CIO approval to develop EA Maturity

Architecture Charter and Principles delivered

Level 2 maturity achieved in ‘EA Process’ Domain

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