Case Study: Target IT Architecture Design

Client Challenge

A large public sector asset owner with the strategic ambition to be a best in class investment manager engaged Shoreline to design their target IT architecture as a part of their operating model transformation.  The client wanted to ensure appropriate data, infrastructure and systems were in place to deliver operational excellence and support the client’s new investment model.

Although the client had already started their journey, several outstanding questions regarding the technology and data capabilities needed to support their new investment model and improve operational scale and control remained. The client also wanted some assurance that the work already in-flight was aligned to their strategic needs.

Shoreline Approach

Shoreline leveraged its top-down, business needs driven approach to inform the design and ensure the resultant target IT architecture met business needs, was practical and commercial, and could be implemented by the client organisation.  A key directive of the client that influenced the design was to outsource as much as possible to limit the internal development and ongoing maintenance required.

Key activities:

  • Strategic Context and Needs Analysis: Working with the client stakeholders, Shoreline interviewed the executive and key front office and operations stakeholders to collect and prioritise strategic objectives and business needs. These served as an input to the target architecture design and implementation roadmap helping in prioritizing / de-prioritizing IT design features
  • Current State Analysis:  Shoreline identified the current state IT gaps and the ability of the current systems and infrastructure to meet future business needs.  Using the Shoreline knowledge base, we benchmarked the client against key market trends and their peer group to highlight relative IT capability gaps against the market
  • Target IT Architecture Design: Shoreline began by working with the client to establish the design principles to guide the target architecture design.  These design principles were agreed with senior stakeholders and helped codify the shifts in the technology landscape required to align to the firm’s strategic ambitions.  We prepared target state views of application, data, and integration architectures.  We conducted deep-dives into a range of functionality provided by current systems and considered their role in the target architecture – either to retire, ring-fence, or replace. Shoreline designed the target state views for key processes, showing how the processes will be supported by the target IT architecture.  Existing service provider capability was a key input into the design and several functions done internally supported by internal bespoke systems were targeted for outsource to the custodian, simplifying the architecture.
  • Implementation Roadmap: Shoreline prepared a business value scoring framework based on business priorities confirmed with the executive.  Initiatives were costed (both on-going and one-off costs) and assessed against this filter and those that passed were added to the roadmap.  Initiatives were also sequenced, considering urgency and priority of business needs as well as dependencies between initiatives.  In-flight projects were also assessed, and a recommendation made to continue, modify, or curtail each project. A detailed 3-year implementation roadmap was finalized and buy-in secured with senior client stakeholders

Results and Client Benefits

The client received a clearly defined blueprint of the IT capability uplift required to enable their business objectives and support their new investment model.  A prioritised roadmap of initiatives provided an actionable investment plan for the coming 3 years and allowed them to continue their transformation journey with confidence.  The client began executing on the roadmap immediately post completion of the roadmap.

Additional key benefits Shoreline delivered included:

  • Provided client executives with a structured approach to meet the organizations current IT challenges and future business needs
  • The design principles defined during the engagement were used as a decisioning framework by the client for future solutioning choices and to guide near-term implementation projects
  • The process of producing the architecture and engagement and socialisation throughout was the start of the change management exercise required to shift the way the firm operated
  • The implementation roadmap provided an objective and structured approach to determining what investment to make in technology and operations
  • Provided the client with clear path for uplift of investment data management capabilities including data architecture, data governance and operating model changes

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