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September 6, 2019

Guest Blog: Former FCA CIO Gareth Lewis on Enterprise Change

It’s been pretty evident throughout my long and checkered career that change is here to stay. We all experience change daily, but perhaps more interesting is that the pace of change is increasing.

We are surrounded by examples of this in our daily lives, from our remote control to our mobile phone, which now has more Apps than I know what to do with, through to the relentless assimilation of AI into our daily life. Auto completion of our Gmail sentences is one trivial example. (For more insights on this see Ray Kurzweil of the Singularity University

The ability to keep pace with this whirlwind change has never been more challenging - particularly in light of the additional noise about so-called ‘fake news’ in its various forms which only serves to cloud the situation.

What has not changed at the same pace are two key things:

Firstly, our own ability to absorb and adapt to the changes. There is ample evidence of the issues associated with changing organizations, and the difficulties encountered when trying to do so. Human beings are not very well wired to change at the pace that technology now enables.

Secondly, the process of orchestrating change has barely evolved over the last decade. APM, Prince2 and the acronym soup of standards and other methodologies have helped, but the statistics around failed projects are still shocking. One example from HBR is:

  • On average, projects go over budget by 27% of their intended cost.
  • On average, one in six projects saw a budget overrun of 200%.

Not all of this is down to poor execution. It almost doesn’t matter how well you execute as a project manager if there is no effective Executive Sponsor, or there is no governance process to restrict scope creep. However, we can improve the project execution process itself through automation. We’ve done it already with code development and delivery through tools such as Jenkins or Github. It's time to expand this scope to wider project execution. It's prime time for technologies such as Cutover.

It's extraordinary that no one has thought of it before!

Gareth Lewis

Gareth is an independent consultant with expertise in the field of Digital transformation. He was, in his former career, the Group CIO role in a FTSE 30 company (Centrica), Group CIO at Virgin, and partner at KPMG Consulting. His last permanent role was as the CIO at the FCA where he also sat on the Global Advisory Board for Amazon Web Services. He is currently advising the UK Government on Operational Risk amongst other consulting engagements.

Gareth Lewis
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