Case Study: Australian Super

Case Study:
Australian Super

Strategy and Planning

The challenge

The client had employed a Outsourcing Strategy since the mid 1990’s an approach that was echoed across the large Industry Superannuation Funds. AustralianSuper began internalising IT and building Tech Services capabilities in 2015; the next phase of the journey was to invest in additional foundation enabling technology, uplift the capability and align with the business strategy.

A local consulting firm had been engaged to develop a well-defined plan to support the shift:

  • An integrated technology strategy had been developed to uplift and extend the Fund’s technology capabilities and transform Tech Services into a highly capable and trusted partner over the following 3+ years
  • The future technology operating model was designed to allow for responsive engagement between business and technology with a federated structure, improved capability and simplified management governance
  • The future technology architecture must enable the fund strategy with modern flexible and scalable systems – Member, Investments and Shared Services already had well formed plans with a number of greenfield technology components – supporting infrastructure, network and data need a step change to enable the business units
  • The technology roadmap guided the Fund-wide technology initiatives according to business priorities and technical dependencies
  • The technology economics and risks analysis illustrated the medium to longer term financial impacts (likely cost profile and mapping to business benefits) of technology required to support the fund’s strategy, as well as mitigation for the risks of the strategy
  • A detailed transition plan had been proposed with a program governance construct to increase delivery confidence in the technology strategy and roadmap, supported by a 30/60/90 day mobilisation plan

To support the maturation of the core Technology Services capability a sophisticated Maturation KPI tool (KPI performance management lifecycle model) had been designed by a global consulting firm and was being implemented to track capability growth.

However, despite the investments made and support from the Board the fund was faced with the realization that while the size of the prize was significant there was chronic misalignment of the internal teams, the past initiatives to build out core capability through use of the Contractor market and high turnover rate highlighted a weakness around teaming and a past history of program delivery failure did nothing to instil a confidence in driving the required change.

The solution

The incoming CIO recognised the pressing need to establish an experienced leadership team with a main initial focus being around the Planning and Strategy function. The Planning and Strategy group was responsible for:

  • Strategic Planning and Direction setting
  • Strategy and Architecture leadership
  • Architecture Governance
  • Requirements Development for new programs
  • Architecture Reference Models, Roadmaps and frameworks
  • Project and Architecture alignment
  • Vendor Management
  • Documentation Management

Alchemy Solutions was engaged to fill 3 keys roles:

  • Head of Strategy and Planning,
  • Head of Cloud and Emerging technologies, and
  • Lead Enterprise Architect.

The Strategy and Planning team had been decimated by a series of resignation and transfers to other roles within the fund. The most important step was to reconstitute the function; once this was achieved the team was assigned discrete tasks to help accelerate aligning the Technology strategy with the Business Strategy to ensure the Technology function could support the funds planning to become a global fund with officers in London, New York and Asia.

The team collectively recognised the need to develop an innovative approach to support the global expansion and set about designing a Global Presence initiative that centred on the Microsoft Azure Cloud capability.

Core Cloud platform designed work that had been undertaken as part of the Technology Uplift program was re assessed by Microsoft’s Consulting group to ensure alignment with best practice and the design activities were complete and the Investment Business function was engaged to gain their support to implement the strategy in partnership with Microsoft and other local Microsoft partners.

The results

Alchemy Solutions engagement resulted in a number of critical outcomes:

  • Redefined organisation structure for the Strategy & Planning Team that enables greater focus on strategic business outcomes.
  • A comprehensive Governance model that addressed all aspects of the overall function.
  • A Technology Roadmap and framework that positioned the fund to accelerate key initiatives such the global expansion and adoption of Cloud as a kernel of the Technology strategy.
  • A Cloud Strategy that allowed the fund to move to the adoption of Microsoft Azure platform. The strategy addressed all the Guild lines for Cloud adoption provided by APRA.
  • The establishment of a Microsoft partnering arrangements to assist the fund in the deployment of the Hybrid Cloud strategy.
  • The design of an Agile Cloud Deployment squad, leveraging Agile methods and practices to expedite the Global Presence program.