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Mantra

Deliver value quickly, exceed expectations and leave a positive legacy
  

In a nutshell

Strategy, Architecture and Transformation in Financial Services
  

Availability

Partly Available Immediately
  

Location

Guildford, United Kingdom
  

Languages

  • English
  • French
  

Top 5 Strengths

  • Natural Leader
  • Outcome Focused
  • Great Communicator
  • Positively Disruptive
  • Highly Reliable
  

Skills

  

Interviewed By


  

HM Expert Since

Thursday January 17, 2019
  

About Simon

I am a results-oriented and pragmatic IT strategist, consultant and architect leader. I thrive on working with stakeholders across the enterprise to facilitate the delivery of business benefits from information systems and technology.
My specialties include strategic IT and data consultancy inc. CIO / CTO advisory; interim CTO / Chief Architect / Head of Architecture; business-aligned IT Strategies and Architecture Roadmaps; leadership of Enterprise and Solution Architecture delivery.
I typically focus on short-duration, high-impact, engagements, delivering demonstrable value to clients and an enduring capability uplift.
  

Current Role Details

Developing Payments Technology Strategies and Roadmaps for several major banks.

Architecture Advisory to an award-winning FinTech startup promoting sustainable investment.
  

Simon's Valuable Contributions

(Case Studies)

SETTING THE DATA STRATEGY AND TARGET ARCHITECTURE FOR A SPECIALIST LIFE INSURER (Reveal More  OR   View Full Page)


Situation
A specialist Life Insurance provider had invested heavily in a SAS platform to support its actuarial and financial data processes and to facilitate full compliance with Solvency II.

The insurer was keen to understand the right future path for this platform and for its Data and Analytics capabilities as a whole, supporting regulatory compliance alongside business growth and agility cost-effectively in a difficult marketplace.

Task
To challenge internal thinking and support selling key messages to senior stakeholders, the CTO wanted an independent, expert, opinion on the current state and best way forward and so requested a short, sharp, Strategic Review of the organisation’s Data and Analytics landscape and for recommendations to guide future investment and change planning.


Action
The Review was conducted via a combination of interviews with key staff and analysis of relevant documentation, along with reference to wider industry knowledge and information where appropriate. The four broad perspectives covered were:

  • Architecture – data analysis and reporting solutions in the context of the wider technology architecture

  • Data – data architecture, management and governance

  • Business Capability – scope of solutions vs business value and potential

  • Organisation – support, change and communication related to data and BI.


Working with a BI specialist partner to deliver the Review provided the insurer with a powerful combination of enterprise-level architectural assessment along with depth of knowledge and practical expertise in use of SAS and other analytics tools.

Results
The Review was completed successfully in the agreed timescales, delivering a fully-justified and impartial set of actionable recommendations to the insurer's senior management team, including consolidation of technical platforms and organisational structures to deliver significant cost savings and greater business agility.

Engaging us to carry out the Review enabled it to be conducted at speed, mindful but independent of internal stakeholder agendas and “politics”, and with minimal disruption to other business-critical activities.

Working closely with a small number of the insurer's staff during the Review facilitated knowledge transfer and buy-in to the approach and findings. Partnering with a BI specialist delivered the breadth and depth of expertise required, producing a Review outcome grounded in technical substance while focussing on business value and directly supportive of helping the insurer realise its strategic objectives.

As a follow-on, the CTO requested an enterprise-level review and update of the organisation's Target Architecture, including Strategic Themes, Business and Technology Capability Architectures, and integration into Architecture Governance.



UPLIFTING ARCHITECTURE CAPABILITY AND CULTURE AT A PAYMENTS SOLUTION PROVIDER (Reveal More  OR   View Full Page)


Situation
A UK-based global Payments Solution provider operated disparate Enterprise, Solution and Product Architecture teams and lacked experienced Architecture Leadership to drive cohesion and maximise value from its collection of permanent and contract architects.

Solution Architects were primarily resource-managed and given little professional freedom and accountability to do their jobs. There was also no systematic sharing of knowledge or best practice.

Enterprise Architects operated largely in isolation and produced materials that no one used.

Task
Engaged by the CTO, initial focus was to provide interim leadership to the Solution Design and Analysis team, made up of Solution Architects and Business Analysts.

A secondary objective was to assess and help improve the organisation's overall Architecture Capability, in support of a rapidly-growing book of business across the globe which was challenging the ability to respond and deliver.

Action
After an initial round of introductory stakeholder meetings and review of existing architecture materials, processes and team structure, it was clear that a number of significant changes were needed to create the effective Architecture Capability and team the organisation needed:

  • Organisation - Solution and Enterprise Architects were brought together into single Architecture team, with Lead Architects appointed to face off to key parts of the business

  • Operating Model – a new Architecture Operating Model and Governance Framework was introduced to define Architecture Purpose, Services, Engagement Model, Roles and Responsibilities

  • Culture & Community – greater Architect empowerment, with meaningful leadership support when required, and establishment of a peer community for knowledge sharing, help and review

  • Architecture Leadership – supporting key Architecture Decision-making, interaction and air-cover with project and business stakeholders, and Architect personal development.


The Architecture team changes were made over a period of several months, in parallel with supporting existing projects and several new business initiatives.

Results
The increased effectiveness of the new Architecture team was demonstrated in the successful delivery of:

  • the Solution Design for a new Payments Service in extremely challenging circumstances and timeframes to support winning a large (>£50M) and strategic new contract, and

  • a rapid update of the IT Strategy, to support a pending Acquisition.


The Architecture team were engendered with a much stronger sense of purpose and engagement, both collectively and individually more confident of their roles and with that the ability to give the business the support and direction it needed at a critical time in the organisation's evolution.

Individual feedback from the Architects was extremely positive – they felt much happier and more valued, working as part of a team with a clear purpose, pulling in the same direction and with a strong support network.

 



  

Roles & Results

NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY - Head of Architecture for Banking & Payments (consultant)

(Show / Hide Details)

Requirements / Actions
Provide interim Architecture Leadership for Payments and update Technology Strategy.
Delivery and Achievements
Delivered refresh of Target Architecture Vision and Roadmap. Asked to broaden scope across Banking and Payments.


IQ-EQ - Head of Architecture (interim)

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Requirements / Actions
Introduce Architecture thinking and practices to a new Private Equity-owned global Investor Services and Wealth Management provider.
Delivery and Achievements
Established a foundational Group Architecture capability to support delivery of business integration and transformation.


LV= GENERAL INSURANCE - Head of Architecture (interim)

(Show / Hide Details)

Requirements / Actions
Provide interim Architecture Leadership and in particular support creation of a new Digital Strategy for the GI business.
Delivery and Achievements
Worked with senior business stakeholders and an external consultancy to create a new Digital Strategy, Target Architecture and Roadmap.


VOCALINK (NOW PART OF MASTERCARD) - Head of Architecture (interim)

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Requirements / Actions
Interim Leadership to Solution Architecture team. Secondary objective to improve overall Architecture Capability.
Delivery and Achievements
Transformed the Architecture Operating Model, bringing together Solution and Enterprise Architecture, updated the IT Strategy and supported new business initiatives.


ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Payments Technology Strategy Lead (consultant)

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Requirements / Actions
Update Payments Technology Strategy and Architecture Roadmap to provide guidance and assurance to a new CIO.
Delivery and Achievements
Created a three-part updated Technology Strategy for Payments to inform Investment and Technology Decisions re delivery of a Target Architecture that supported desired Strategic Business Outcomes.


JUST GROUP - Data / Architecture Strategy (consultant)

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Requirements / Actions
Initially engaged to produce a Strategy and Roadmap for Data & BI for the specialist Life & Pensions insurance provider.
Delivery and Achievements
Delivered a fully-justified and impartial set of actionable recommendations to take Data Strategy forward. Asked to broaden scope and create Target Enterprise Architecture.


  

Services Simon Delivers

HIVEEXEC FOR BUSINESS ARCHITECTS
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Service Summary: This service focuses on accelerating success for leaders responsible for Business Architecture



  

Industry Experience

  • Asset and Wealth Management
  • Banking and Capital Markets
  • Business Services
  • Financial Services
  • Insurance
  • Private Equity
  • Technology
  

Regional Experience

  • Europe
  

Articles




Simon Barrows

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@simon_barrows

active 3 days, 9 hours ago