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Contino Leads a Professional Services Provider Towards 400% Growth Target By Optimising Its IT Strategy

The Client

The client is a professional services arm within a leading international law firm that provides legal, compliance, corporate and fiduciary services to global corporations, investment fund managers, financial institutions and more. Its clients include some of the most innovative firms and institutions across the financial markets.

The Challenge

The client had a business target to grow its portfolios by 400% and to boost its capacity and efficiency to serve a larger client base. However, a major area of concern was speed and quality of software delivery along with staff morale and retention. There was a lack of a common shared IT strategy and vision that resulted in growth concerns, friction within teams and large bottlenecks in IT processes.

The Solution

Contino worked with the client over eleven weeks to identify and tackle major obstacles across teams and processes and to ignite a culture of continuous improvement using a blend of the following methodologies:

  • Theory of Constraints: Identify the common underlying cause that, if targeted, will evaporate all obstacles
  • Lean: Embed a system of continuous experimentation and learning to ‘heat seek’ effective improvement

Step One: Identify Obstacles

Contino carried out a series of interviews across the IT department and business counterparts to uncover the top 25 obstacles that inhibited work from flowing efficiently—increasing costs and reducing outcomes. These obstacles included: knowledge bottlenecks, an increasingly complex technical estate, frequent firefighting, and over-utilised staff.

Step Two: Focus Change Efforts

Contino used a Theory of Constraints technique called the Current Reality Tree to focus improvement efforts by quickly identifying the root causes behind all obstacles. A key underlying cause was found to be a lack of one common strategy for IT as a whole. Instead, each IT leader was creating an individual strategy for their team.

This approach led to frequent conflicts that slowed the progress of work across the IT department and took IT leadership away from forward planning as a team. The cycle would then repeat: each IT team would continue to work on individual goals, leading to further friction, conflict and escalations.

Step Three: Implement a Lighthouse Project

Using Contino’s proven Lighthouse Project approach over eleven weeks, the team collaborated with leaders across the organisation to build a coordinated IT strategy helping them to break away from a siloed, top-down approach.

The strategy brought together various elements of the business, including knowledge transfer practices, creating plans for addressing technical depth, and improving cross departmental collaboration to help with over-utilised staff.

The Business Outcome

With Contino’s recommendations and guidance, IT leadership successfully built a unified strategy that would bring multiple teams together with shared outcomes and objectives, to solve a number of important obstacles.

Contino identified and implemented interventions that improved the client’s ability to deliver quality software, enabling the following outcomes:

  • A more streamlined and lean approach to software development as a direct result of identifying the 25 key obstacles
  • Improve the speed and quality of software delivery, reducing waste in the process
  • Enable teams to make improvements that support delivery of 400% larger annual project portfolio
  • Enable local decision making wherever appropriate to unlock operational inefficiencies
  • Improve overall staff sentiment and retention due to fewer friction points and better collaboration across departments

The work that Contino did had a direct growth impact on the business and created new business avenues and opportunities to scale and expand further—in-line with the original expectation of growing the business by 400%.

The new approach to strategy creation, cascading and coaching that Contino implemented was then adopted into other areas of the firm including HR, creating a platform that provides future opportunities for all departments to work towards a singular common strategy. This coordination was the backbone needed for any form of business agility.

"Contino did a fabulous job at identifying the root causes of our operating dysfunctions and nudging us towards addressing them in our own way. Much more transformational than your traditional, pre-packaged consultancy engagement. Looking forward to working together again."

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