Supporting a global assurance provider’s transformation journey through divestment and onto digitally accelerated growth
A 2021 IAF/ILAC/ISO Survey on Remote Audit/ Assessment/ Evaluation reported that 90% of businesses already engaged in remote audit activity agree that organisations will benefit from digitally-led quality assurance in the future. So, quality assurance providers must ensure that their digital capabilities are equipped to deliver in this evolving technological environment.
Our client is a leading global assurance provider, operating in dozens of countries and recognised by multiple accreditation agencies worldwide. The staff and large contract workforce help organisations navigate a changing risk landscape through certification, inspection, assurance and verification, training, and digital/software services.
Originally a division of a market leading parent organisation, a private equity purchase in 2022 set the stage for the firm to divest and become a fully independent, limited company. The investment cycle included challenging targets to accelerate value and realise our client’s ambition to become a leading, digitally enabled, assurance firm.
Our client needed to create and start navigating a strategic roadmap while delivering on the workstreams required to successfully separate and stabilise its technology estate. It needed to meet stringent Transitional Service Agreement deadlines, satisfy the investor’s rapid growth ambitions, and lay firm foundations to meet evolving technology requirements as the business expanded.
The leadership team recognised that the lack of a formal technology strategy, internal skills gaps, and an unclear roadmap, risked achieving these goals successfully. Unclear portfolio visibility was hindering decision making and prioritisation. There was no internal Enterprise Architecture capacity, and ‘RED’ risks were threatening the delivery of programmes crucial to completing the divestment.
Mason Advisory was engaged to bring clarity and momentum to the separation and stabilisation journey, and to support internal teams with critical programme delivery.
Initially, our experts provided rapid input to ensure the separation programme was successfully completed. We advised on the separation strategy, making recommendations on the acceptance process between our client and the parent company, and how to leverage the Transitional Service Agreement terms to maximise value. On a practical level, we stepped in to quickly turn around an infrastructure workstream at risk of failing, ensuring that outcomes were delivered on time.
Having addressed these priorities, we then helped our client to reimagine its Separation Management Office to support the smooth transition of functions including HR, finance and payroll, as well as licencing and compliance agreements. We coordinated the business change activities, and provided interim Programme Director, PMO and Change Lead functions to support the client team.
Concurrently, we worked closely with the Chief Technology Officer to introduce an Enterprise Architecture function. We used our Maturity Model to assess the current maturity level, then developed a business case and Target Operation Model for Enterprise Architecture (EA), with a realistic roadmap for increasing maturity. We introduced an architecture framework, supported by a knowledge transfer programme to embed fundamental EA principles within the organisation. The roadmap also addressed legacy constraints and risks, plus a network strategy for managing end of life services. We helped our client to identify skills and capacity gaps and progress the recruitment needed to fill those roles. We also helped establish an Architecture Review Board. This introduced a governance framework for the EA landscape and aligned governance parameters between the technology function and the PMO.
Meanwhile, we offered advisory and practical support for core IT infrastructure and services. We reviewed current capabilities against future business objectives, developing a tactical interim model to achieve short term impact, as well as a longer-term Target Operating Model. We reviewed the IT portfolio to improve visibility and control incoming requests, to prevent the IT strategy from veering off course. We designed policies and processes to support global sourcing, procurement, and contract negotiation/review, as well as a developing the client’s first ever data strategy.
Separation was completed at the end of 2022, with all deadlines and terms met. Throughout the journey, we actively shared our experience, helping to cascade knowledge and upskill the client’s technology and IT teams, and the client now has a clear technology strategy aligned to the business objectives. Plans are being built for end-of-life services. The EA and IT infrastructure roadmaps are in place and actionable, and a governance function is in place. The foundations have been laid to enable integration of our client’s chosen Unified Communications platform, to facilitate global staff collaboration and delivery. A joint business and IT PMO has been established, governing newly implemented change management policies. Recruitment is underway to embed the internal resources needed to implement the technology strategy. The Executive Committee has clear oversight of the risks and opportunities they need to prioritise to ensure that the technology estate is fit to deliver what the business needs to accelerate growth.
“Mason Advisory go beyond the traditional consultancy approach, bringing exceptional insight and expertise to real business problems, identifying solutions, and explaining them clearly and articulately. They have been a huge value add over the past 12 months and I would highly recommend them to my network in the future.”
Head of Digital Delivery for our client