Supplementing Expertise

It’s a rare IT project for any complex enterprise that doesn’t involve the hiring of solution designers (SDs) as contractors to supplement its in-house expertise. This creates huge amounts of administrative and people management work for already stretched IT departments.

O2 needed to completely redesign its approach to IT resourcing

In O2’s case, there are over a hundred different third-party suppliers and individual contractors to its IT department. Such a wide variety of skills, experience and working practices involves a lot of management time and effort that could better be spent positively impacting the experience of O2 customers.

At our heart, we are a digital business. The IT projects that we embark upon are absolutely crucial to our customer service, fulfilment and development as an organisation,” explains Chris Barnard, Chief IT Architect at O2. “But these projects rely on the availability, management and excellence of individual project teams, and in order to guarantee this quality, we needed to completely redesign our approach to IT resourcing. Alongside skills requirements, we needed to introduce more flexibility, easier management and greater transparency.


Consistent recruitment and management

KCOM’s Solution Design Managed Service meets O2’s IT contractor needs, delivering project-ready SDs within 10 days. It handles the induction, training, project on boarding activities of O2’s SD contractors and balances all project allocations to achieve 99%+ capitalisation of resources.

KCOM now handles the induction, training and project on-boarding activities for all O2’s solution design contractors

The on-site KCOM management team consistently manage all O2’s SDs, ensuring they provide a weekly RAG report as well as systematic RAID reporting, so that O2 get a fully transparent view of every design artefact under development plus any potential issues. The team has, through a process of continuous improvement, driven improvements in the planning abilities of SDs, the handling of stakeholders, the use of design patterns and driving a systematic approach to knowledge management, augmented by KCOM’s practices and professional communities in areas such as cloud computing.

The SD role is crucial to any IT deployment, so to have reliable and high-performance individuals available on demand to guide projects and suggest and make improvements to processes is enormously valuable to us as a business, continued Barnard.



O2’s approach to knowledge management now incorporates the deployment of Centres of Excellence in technical domains. Supported by Sparx and KCOM practice consultants, this incorporates a highly effective buddy system, a robust project on-boarding and handover process as well as the consistent management of design artefacts.

Today there’s at least one KCOM resourced expert on-site in almost every significant O2 IT project

There is at least one KCOM resourced expert on-site in almost every significant O2 IT project with anywhere from 50 to 60 solution designers (at its height) supporting dozens of projects.


The Results

Following O2’s restructuring of external IT resource and KCOM’s deeper involvement in solution design, O2 IT projects are now being delivered faster and to significantly higher quality, SLA governed standards.

Our work with KCOM has helped us to halve the time it takes to deliver IT resource and build confidence in higher quality IT designs being produced,” summed up Barnard. “The speed KCOM can support us with this expertise and the standard of quality and consistency delivered is key to the strength of our relationship.

O2’s IT projects are now delivered faster and to significantly higher quality, SLA governed standards