Yorkshire Water supplies over 1 billion litres of drinking water each day, and collects, treats and disposes of a similar volume back into the environment, operating more than 700 water and sewage treatment works and 120 reservoirs.
Facilitating change for Yorkshire Water with a new IT operating model, which provided clarity of purpose and improved ways of working
Yorkshire Water needed its IT operations to be able to keep pace with an aggressive five-year capital programme and a rapidly changing industry.
The senior IT leadership team was concerned about the ability to maintain existing services, while delivering new programmes and planning for the future. Mason Advisory worked closely with senior management to define and implement a new IT operating model, ensuring it had the resources and capabilities to meet the changing demands of the business.
We started by identifying gaps and weaknesses in the current way of working, using relevant tools and techniques such as cross-team and stakeholder interviews, SCIPAB for root cause analysis and remedial actions, and SIPOC to clearly map out core processes.
We then worked with the IT leadership – and, importantly, the employees on the ground – to define a new operating model to address the gaps and provide a better platform for the business.
To support the work, we established and chaired an internal IT transition team (known as the IT Hub) which met weekly to formalise the functional areas within IT. The team was assigned clear responsibilities for IT using a ‘plan, design, build, run and manage’ model. We baselined the current state and introduced key performance indicators (KPIs) to support ongoing monitoring and improvement. The gap in capacity and capability was monitored and managed using a cross-team skills matrix, personal development plans, and recruitment where required.
Working with the business, our consultants then developed new processes and tested them in scenario workshops, allowing us to make any adaptations to the operating model as testing progressed.
Having identified 200 high-level improvement areas, we grouped and prioritised them, and then chose the top six areas on which to focus with the business, producing action plans for each. Over this transition period, the IT Hub met to review progress, and to plan the following week’s activities, while also providing an input to the senior IT leadership team which provided oversight and helped to resolve any blockers.
In addition to designing and deploying the new IT operating model, Mason Advisory supported the Head of Enterprise Architecture in the creation and introduction of the Enterprise Architecture (EA) function. Acting in a technical architect role, we helped to develop the IT strategy, improve governance by aiding the introduction of an Architecture Review Board, improve standards by initiating an IT standards register with the ‘run’ team, and improve agility by introducing Kanban management into areas of delivery.
The IT leadership team was pleased with the transition and the improved visibility, with over 200 improvements being measured for the first time at a high level across process, people capability, people capacity, tools, technology and governance. With a firm foundation in place, the temporary IT Hub evolved into a more permanent IT management team, chaired by the Head of Enterprise Architecture, to deliver the capabilities required by the business and to help set the future direction in accordance with a clear set of IT principles embedded in the IT strategy. The IT Hub has created a sustainable continuous improvement process to ensure the team keeps pace with the changes in the business.
“Mason Advisory led the development of a new IT operating model which has provided the foundation for improved ways of working across the IT function. Throughout the engagement, they remained focused on understanding the client need and delivering the desired outcomes, working seamlessly as trusted members of the senior IT Leadership Team. Highly recommended”.
Stephen Herndlhofer, Head of Enterprise Architecture