Delivering £5m annual savings on expenses




Financial Services market opening up to new players, competition intense. The organisation’s cost ratios being high relative to the market, a decision was made to focus on reducing expenses while targeting growth. As part of this, the UK Finance Operations team was given the challenge to deliver annual savings of £5m from the expense budget.


Delivery approach


  • Work with executive sponsor and operational lead to understand the challenge in more detail, including the strategic context.

  • Develop and deliver proposal to engage key stakeholders in a formal, facilitated workshop with a clear, concise goal statement.

  • Oversee the delivery of pre-workshop data pack.

  • Detailed design of workshop and agreement with sponsors.

  • Facilitate two day workshop, culminating in presentation to executive sponsors of proposals to achieve the goal, to be delivered over the following three months.

  • Post workshop debrief and reporting.




Goal achieved successfully – verified annual savings of £5m reached.







Supplier vendor selection process




An internal audit identified improvements which could be made in the management of the global approach to accumulation across the Underwriting function (approximately 7000 Underwriters). The Underwriting leadership team agreed to set up a project to understand the issues and requirements in depth, to identify the best package solution available and to put together an implementation blueprint and detailed proposal for execution.


Delivery approach


  • Identification of key stakeholders across Global Underwriting teams. Seven regional workshops held to introduce concept and gather requirements.

  • Requirements drafted and shared with global network for comment and prioritization.

  • Detailed review of relevant capability existing in the market.

  • Development of detailed request for information sent to 12 vendors. Workshop held with key stakeholders to go through responses in detail and score against agreed criteria.

  • Detailed request for proposal sent to shortlist of five vendors, with invitation to demonstrate their capability. Workshops held with key stakeholders to review capability and ask technical questions. Vendors assessed against pre-defined success criteria.

  • Shortlist of two vendors identified, with a preferred option agreed by the executive sponsor and steering committee.

  • Contracts drawn up on the basis of these discussions and signed with preferred vendor.

  • Initiation workshop held with vendor team plus key stakeholders, ongoing network meetings set up.




Goal achieved successfully – supplier plus contingency identified, proposal approved by executive sponsors and steering committee, contracts signed and work underway to deliver. Excellent feedback from sponsors on the process.





Business Transformation programme, IT function




Three major, strategic IT transformation programmes were underway to radically transform the use of technology to deliver competitive advantage, reduce operating costs and decommission out-of-date IT platforms, involving multi-million dollar investment over several years. There was a concern from the Executive Team that the IT function did not have the required capability to deliver these projects, based on previous performance. The incoming Chief Information Officer identified a key need to review and improve the people processes and behavioural elements of the IT function to improve both project and operational delivery.


Delivery approach


A structured change management approach was put in place, with the following elements:


1. define the target vision

2. data gathering to understand the current situation

3. gap analysis, options, recommendations agreed, planning

4. execute the plan

5. ongoing review and metrics


It quickly became apparent that a holistic approach was needed to address the various issues facing the department, where performance was sub-optimal and morale low. A Transformation Director was identified to give the programme executive visibility with the leadership team. A number of workstreams were defined and agreed, including:

  • Capability: competency definitions and repeatable, measurable assessments; training investment plan focusing on externally recognized professional qualifications for key IT project and operational roles; new starter support and assessment process introduced.

  • Peformance: a new approach to assessing performance across the department was introduced, to ensure much greater transparency and fairness. Line managers, directors and individuals had to be convinced of the value of this approach – facilitated by minimizing the paperwork, involving the key directors in the design, providing comprehensive training, including the ability as a manager to do a 'trial run', and making sure that early wins were identified / communicated.

  • Leadership Development: a program of individual and team development was introduced to enhance the leadership capability.




Feedback from key stakeholders about quality of delivery improved. Numbers of employees with externally recognized qualifications increased.



International Business Process improvements





Turnover in the Underwriting function for employees working on international business was increasing, leading to delays in delivery to customers, morale issues among the teams and in turn increasing turnover even further.


Delivery approach


  • Engaged with the key executive stakeholders to understand the actual problem, define a clear and shared goal statement and develop a proposal.

  • Identified key stakeholders from Underwriting teams from across nine different countries and invited them to a two day workshop.

  • Carried out pre-workshop survey and request for information, which formed part of a comprehensive data pack.

  • Developed design for workshop and presented to executive stakeholders for sign off.

  • Lead facilitator of team of three to run workshop and achieve desired outcome.

  • Follow up comms to workshop participants and the wider teams helped to update on progress and reiterate the importance of fixing the problem.




Highly successful workshop which challenged some of the initial views of the root causes.

Participants identified six projects which could be delivered within a three month timeframe which would have significant impact on the problem statement: these included training; process review; simplification of guidelines; customer engagement.

The proposals were presented by the participants to the executives at the end of the workshop and, with one or two minor modifications, were accepted. Each project was assigned a project lead and an executive sponsor to ensure that it was given the right amount of focus.