Sopra Steria’s Vern Davis and Mohammed Ahmed finalists in the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

Sopra Steria is delighted to announce that two colleagues have been named finalists in the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards. The awards celebrates the outstanding business achievements of service leavers demonstrating transferable skills gained in the military. This year, the awards attracted over 400 nominations across 18 categories.

Vern Davis, Managing Director of the Aerospace, Defence and Security sector is a finalist in the Business Leader of the Year category. Vern started his career in 1990 as an Army Officer in the British Army. This role took him on operational tours across Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq while building his skillset in operational communications, SATCOM, systems training, operational planning, real estate management and budget control. Today, Vern helps organisations in their digital transformation journey, driven by delivering exceptional customer service. His wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise ensures Sopra Steria’s customers receive bespoke services that fit their needs as well as the best return on investment.

Mohammed Ahmed recently retired from the Royal Air Force as a Wing Commander. During his military career he specialised as an  Aero Systems and Communications Electronics engineer and, for Operational tours during Gulf War 2, he was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen. In August 2018 he joined Sopra Steria as Head of the Acquisition Support Partner for MOD Corsham. In his new role, Mohammed has run a multi-million pound profitable programme and a team of over 60 staff for Sopra Steria.  Within weeks he achieved the highest level of customer satisfaction and a perfect 100% NPS score. Mohammed is a finalist for the Service Leaver of the Year award.

Sopra Steria is committed to supporting the Armed Forces community and demonstrates that through our covenant pledge. We are delighted to also be sponsoring these awards and the category of Innovator of the Year.

Durham Constabulary chooses STORM Command and Control to deliver effective and efficient public safety services

Sopra Steria is proud to announce the recent signing of a three year contract to provide its STORM Command and Control system to Durham Constabulary. STORM enables Durham Constabulary to enhance public service delivery and provide more efficient scheduling of resources.

Sopra Steria and Durham Constabulary have a strong partnership and this contract extends that to a total of 16 years. During this time, Durham Constabulary have been instrumental in providing user feedback to inform product developments as part of the STORM User Group. The User Group, comprised of members from 26 forces, meets biannually to discuss product developments which feed into the Sopra Steria roadmap.

Chief Inspector Steve Long, Head of Force Control Room commented: ‘Durham Constabulary has worked with Sopra Steria for a significant period of time and we have established a good working relationship. It is essential that Durham Constabulary continue to deliver an efficient and effective service to the public and we will continue to build upon our partnership with Sopra Steria to achieve that aim.’

Muz Janoowalla, Head of Emergency Services at Sopra Steria, said: ‘We are proud of our long relationship with Durham Constabulary and delighted to continue working with the force to keep the people of County Durham and Darlington safe.’

My Journey as a Woman in STEM

International Women’s Day has been and gone, but it’s important to think about what the day means. It’s a celebration of women who more often than not don’t get enough recognition for doing what they do – but it isn’t solely about celebrating. It’s also about making efforts to break down gender stereotypes and norms – and this is especially true for women in STEM industries.

While more women are working in STEM than ever before, they still only make-up around one quarter of the STEM workforce in the UK. Even as the UK faces a severe STEM skills shortage – with a recent study forecasting more than 600,000 vacancies in STEM by 2023 – many women still struggle to enter and stay in the STEM-related industries. As women in STEM, it’s important that we share our stories so that those looking to follow the same path know that it is entirely possible and there is always a way in.

So, what about me? I’m currently on a graduate training programme as a digital consultant at Sopra Steria – one of the biggest global tech consultancies in the world. I get to learn my job in a very practical, hands on way. More specifically, my job includes working directly with clients while simultaneously getting involved with our technology teams to figure out how best we can help said clients.

As for my route into STEM, I initially studied Politics and Sociology at Cardiff University – not your traditional STEM subjects. During my study however, I took a couple of modules centred around technology and internet governance and from that, I knew exactly what I wanted to pursue. A couple of years and a nerve racking assessment centre later – I chose Sopra Steria. Beginning my career in digital technologies at a standout organisation that is heralded for its innovative solutions and expertise with female and male role models.

If you’re looking to get into STEM but perhaps haven’t previously studied a STEM subject, don’t be disheartened. It’s important to remember that there a number of routes you can follow. Looking to the future, I want to further develop my knowledge of technology and identify which area I want to specialise in and I believe I am at the right place for it.

Of course, I am at the beginning of my journey but at Sopra Steria, I feel wholly comfortable and proud to be a woman in STEM and have a plethora of colleagues who are passionate about what they do to look up to. It is truly an exciting time to be a woman entering the sector. Never before has it been a better time to put myself out there and try to make as much of a difference as I can. But, it is important to remember that while we have come so far as an industry, there is long road ahead to true equality, and we cannot take our foot off the pedal.

By Lauren Boys – Junior Consultant

Sopra Steria is proud to announce our founding partnership of the inaugural World Class Policing Awards taking place this Autumn.

The awards will celebrate and acknowledge the best in all aspects of 21st century policing. Reflecting that effective modern day policing requires partnership and collaboration, whether in teams of officers and staff; collaboration between forces; multi-agency operations; wider public sector involvement; and collaboration also with the supplier community and beyond.

Bernard Rix, Founder of World Class Policing Awards said. “We are delighted to have Sopra Steria on board as a Founder Sponsor and are very much looking forward to working with them to develop and deliver an outstanding World Class Policing Awards event in November 2019.”

Muz Janoowalla, Head of Emergency Services at Sopra Steria said, “ As a long term partner of policing, both nationally and internationally, Sopra Steria are proud to be a founding sponsor of the awards, and look forward to recognising the very best in UK and overseas policing.”

More information on the awards and how to nominate can be found on the World Class Policing website.

Sopra Steria is proud to re-affirm its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant

In 2013, Steria Ltd pledged to support the armed forces community through the signing of the covenant. It is a pledge that recognises the need to treat those who have served in the armed forces, and their families, with respect and fairness. In the five years since we signed this pledge, Steria went on to become Sopra Steria and it is with great pleasure we reconfirm our commitment to this covenant with a new signing by John Torrie, CEO of Sopra Steria UK and Asia.

Our pledge focuses on three key themes;

  • Employment opportunities for ex-service men and women, reservists and their families including assisting with transition from military to civilian employment
  • Fundraising for Armed Forces charities through a series of events throughout the year including our Community Matters week
  • Supporting local cadet and school outreach activities by providing speakers, facilitators and mentors to programmes

Sopra Steria is proud of the activity we already undertake towards these three themes and 2019 is no exception. We are exhibiting at a number of the Career Transition Partnership recruitment events as well as Security Cleared Expo. We are undergoing a resource transformation programme that looks specifically at this community and how we attract talent, support them through the process and then manage transition and career development.

We are also delighted to be sponsoring the category of ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards. Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Sopra Steria so we are delighted to be in a position to recognise that amongst this community.

A copy of our pledge can be found on the Armed Forces Covenant website.

Merseyside Police sign contract for STORM Command and Control system

Sopra Steria is proud to announce the recent signing of a two year contract with Merseyside Police for the provision of the STORM Command and Control system. STORM provides emergency services with a reliable and resilient support infrastructure that manages interaction with the public, logs calls, allocates the appropriate level of response and makes sure that those on the frontline have access to the information they need when responding to emergency calls.

Merseyside Police is one of the country’s largest forces, serving a population of around 1.5 million people, covering an area of 647 square kilometres and employing over 7000 officers and staff. This contract extends Sopra Steria’s relationship with this force to a total of 11 years and confirms STORM’s continued position as a market leader in Command and Control.

Muz Janoowalla, Head of Emergency Services at Sopra Steria, said: ‘We are proud of our long standing relationship with Merseyside Police and we look forward to working with them for many more years to provide the most cost effective, flexible and scalable solutions available in the market.’

A sneak peek inside a hothouse sprint week extravaganza

Most public and private sector leaders are acutely aware that they are supposed to be living and breathing digital: working smarter, serving people better, collaborating more intuitively. So why do front line realities so often make achieving a state of digital nirvana feel like just that: an achievable dream? The world is much messier and more complex for most organisations than they dare to admit, even internally. Achieving meaningfully digital transformation, with my staff/ customers/ deadlines/ management structure/ budgets? It’s just not realistic.

That’s where the Innovation Practice at Sopra Steria steps in.

I count myself lucky to be one of our global network of DigiLab Managers. My job is not just to help our clients re-imagine the future; anyone can do that. It’s to define and take practical steps to realising that new reality in meaningful ways, through the innovative use of integrated digital technologies, no matter what obstacles seem to bar the path ahead.

This is not innovation for the sake of it. Instead, our obsession is with delivering deep business performance, employee and customer experience transformation that really does make that living and breathing digital difference. Innovation for the sake of transformation taking clients from the land of make-believe to the tried and tested, in the here and now.

The beautiful bit? The only essentials for this process are qualities that we all have to hand: the ability to ask awkward questions, self-scrutinise and allow ourselves to be inquisitive and hopeful, fearlessly asking “What If?”.

Welcome to five days of relentless focus, scrutiny and radical thinking

The practical approach we adopt to achieving all this takes the form of an Innovation Sprint: a Google-inspired methodology which lets us cover serious amounts of ground in a short space of time. The Sopra Steria version of this Sprint is typically conducted over 5 days at one of our network of DigiLabs. These modular and open creative spaces are designed for free thinking, with walls you can write on, furniture on wheels and a rich and shifting roll-call of experts coming together to share their challenges, insights and aspirations. We also try to have a resident artist at hand, because once you can visualise something, solving it becomes that bit easier.

The only rule we allow? That anything legal and ethical is fair game as an idea.

Taking a crowbar and opening the box on aspiration

Innovation Sprints are the best way I know to shake up complex challenges, rid ourselves of preconceptions and reform for success. I want to take you through the structure of one of the recent Sprints we conducted to give you a peak at how they work, using the example of a Central Government client we have been working with. Due to the sensitive nature of the topics we discussed, names and details obviously need to stay anonymous.

In this Sprint we used a bulging kitbag of tools to drive out insight, create deliberate tensions, prioritise actions and, as one contributor neatly put it, ‘push beyond the obvious’. That kitbag included Journey Maps, Personas, Value Maps, Business Model Canvases and non-stop sketching alongside taking stacks of photos and videos of our work to keep us on track and help us capture new thinking.

Before we started, we outlined a framework for the five days in the conjunction with two senior service delivery and digital transformation leads from the Central Government Department in question. This allowed us to distil three broad but well-defined focus areas around their most urgent crunch points and pains. The three we settled on were ‘Channel shifting services’, ‘Tackling digital exclusion’  and ‘Upskilling teams with digital knowhow and tools’.

Monday: Mapping the problem

We kicked off by defining the problems and their context. Using a ‘Lightning Talks’ approach, we let our specialists and stakeholders rapidly download their challenges, getting it all out in the open and calling out any unhelpful defaults or limited thinking. In this particular Sprint, we covered legacy IT issues, employee motivation, citizen needs and vulnerabilities and how to deliver the most compassionate service, alongside PR, brand and press challenges, strategic aims and aspirations and major roadblocks. That was just Day One! By getting the tangle of challenges out there, we were able to start really seeing the size and shape of the problem.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: Diving into the molten core

This is where things always get fluid, heated and transformation. We looked in turn at the  three core topics that we wanted to address, following a set calendar each day. We would ‘decode’ in the morning, looking at challenges in more detail again using ‘Lightning Talks’ from key stakeholders to orientate us. Our experts shared their pains in a frank and open way.  We then drilled each of our key topics, ideating and value mapping, identifying  opportunities to harness innovation and adopt a more user-centric approach to technology.

At the heart of this activity we created key citizen and employee personas using a mixture of data-driven analysis and educated insight. An exercise called “How might we…?” helped us to free-think around scenarios, with key stakeholders deciding what challenges they wanted to prioritise for exploration. We were then directed by these to map key user journeys for our selected personas, quickly identifying roadblocks, testing or own assumptions, refining parameters and sparking ideas for smarter service design.

On each day we created Day +1 breakaway groups that were able to remain focused on the ideas generated the day before, ensuring that every topic had a chance to rest and enjoy a renewed focus.

Friday: Solidifying and reshaping for the future

On our final day, we pulled it all together and started to make the ideas real. We invited key stakeholders back into the room and revealed the most powerful insights and synergies that we had unearthed. We also explored how we could use the latest digital thinking to start solving their most pressing challenges now and evolve the service to where it would need to be in 3-5 years’ time. Our expert consultants and leads in automation and AI had already started to design prototypes and we honestly validated their potential as a group. Some ideas flew, new ones were generated, some were revealed to be unworkable and some were banked, to be pursued at a later date. We then discussed as a team how to achieve the transformations needed at scale (the department is predicting a rapid 4-fold growth in service use) while delivering vital quick wins that would make a palpable difference, at speed. This would help us to secure the very senior buy in our clients needed for the deeper digital transformations required.  To wrap up, we explored how we could blueprint the tech needed, work together to build tight business cases, design more fully fledged prototypes, strike up new partnerships and financial models and do it all with incredible agility.

Some photos from the week

Fast forward into the new

My personal motto is: How difficult could that be? When you’re dealing with huge enterprises and Central Government departments devoted to looking after the needs of some of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised in our society, the answer is sometimes: Very! But in my experience, there is nothing like this Sprint process for helping organisations of all stripes and sizes to move beyond unhelpful default thinking and get contributions from the people who really know the challenges inside out. With this client, we were able to map their challenges and talk with real insight and empathy about solutions, in ways they had never experienced before. We were also able to think about how we could leverage Sopra Steria’s own knowledge and embedded relationships with other government departments to create valuable strategic synergies and economies of scale.

A Sprint is never just about brainstorming around past challenges. It’s about fast-forwarding into a better, more digital, seamless and achievable future, marrying micro-steps with macro-thinking to get there. It’s an incredibly satisfying experience for all involved and one that delivers deep strategic insight and advantage, at extreme speed. And which organisation doesn’t need that?

Let’s innovate! If you’d like to book your own hothouse sprint week extravaganza or just want to know more about the process, please get in touch