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Work Experience

Z/Yen works in a wide variety of organisations and sectors, with most of our effort being deployed in Civil Society, Financial Services, Technology, and Commercial.

The table below provides short descriptions of Z/Yen Work Experience, and hopefully gives a view of the range and depth of assignments we undertake. The content of this table can be accessed by registered community members (registration is free).

If you would like further information about Z/Yen's work, please contact or alternatively call +44(0) 207 562 9562.

Sector Project Type Client Type Location Reference No. Statement ClientName
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Finance Director Security Europe 59 Our client, a division of a major security group involved in telesurveillance, asked us to carry out a search of our candidate database to see if we had any suitable candidates to fill the vacancy for a Finance Director, the agency that had been retained having failed to identify anyone suitable. We successfully identified four candidates one of whom was offered, and accepted, the position. CamEra Holdings
Commercial Banking Operational Procedures Review Retail Group UK & Ireland 286 Following the selection of a new banking and accounting system, our client, a major High Street retail group, asked us to review its banking department's existing procedures and recommend changes to ensure that the procedures were appropriate and efficient for the new system. The work involved us analysing the bank's existing procedures and understanding the requirements of the new systems. Our analytical approach to this work plus our knowledge of the bank's operational procedures and of the computerised banking system enabled us to make recommendations of changes that were practical for the client, could satisfy the Bank of England's procedural guidelines and would result in the system functioning efficiently Westend Client
Public Sector PC Support Study Health Europe 150 Our client, one of the largest Ambulance Services in the UK, was in the process of reorganising its operating divisions. The use and diversity of PCs had grown quickly over the previous few years, and the existing PC support structure was not able to fully satisfy the demands of PC users. In order to address these demands in the light of the reorganisation, we were commissioned to carry out a study into the existing situation, document the needs of PC users and develop options for PC support. We interviewed users representing both operating and support departments, researched current best practice, and presented options for different levels and structures of PC support. After discussion with the client, we developed a series of PRINCE product definitions to allow the client to implement the chosen options. London Ambulance Service
Commercial SpecialiZm - Logistics Director Logistics and Post UK & Ireland 345 A major logistics company was failing to deliver and needed an interim Logistics Director. Over 800 vehicles and 2,000 staff had become used to an informal management system which meant that the company was failing to meet key performance indicators for major accounts. Z/Yen’s operations expert quickly came to terms with leading his team. His first major programme was a quality management programme throughout the company. This was followed by closer integration with the sales department to ensure major account promises would be kept. After 18 months, performance was so markedly improved that the firm was valued at three times what it had been earlier, and sold successfully to new investors. Z/Yen stayed on for a further three months to ensure a smooth transition. ICS
Civil Society Monitoring and Evaluation Charity UK 371 This large UK charity is committed to tackling the root causes of problems faced by children and young people, especially those whose circumstances make them particularly vulnerable. It has an annual income of about £40M, runs over 100 social work projects and employs around 1,200 staff. The Social Work Performance Measurement and Recording Initiative was designed to equip social work projects and units with the knowledge and ability to undertake performance measurement and recording in a harmonised way. The benefits sought included encouraging good practice, improving the quality of information, evaluating the effectiveness of practice and providing the ability to measure and learn from information shared between groups of project and units. Z/Yen was more heavily involved in the early stages, retaining an advisory role in developing improved use of the tool and the methodology. The emphasis from the outset was ensuring that the Client would be self-sufficient once the initiative was implemented. The Head of Practice Research and Learning at the client said, “the potential benefits go way beyond the recording of data. Those benefits include improved social work practice and the ability to measure and learn from information shared between groups of projects and units, such as programmes of work or geographical groupings. The ‘cyclical’ or iterative methodology is crucial, in my view, to the successful introduction of evaluative approaches in organisations.” Subsequently, the client rolled out an agreed set of National Outcomes, requiring each project and unit to measure its performance against those factors to provide evidence of worth. The Children's Society
Commercial Business Strategy Car Dealership UK & Ireland 246 Following an initial strategic survey, our client asked us to assist them in producing a financial analysis of the various businesses in the group. They are primarily a motor retailing group with several luxury and large volume dealerships. They also have substantial property holdings and a training and consultancy subsidiary. Working closely with the Finance Director, we produced an analysis of their individual business units and the group as a whole. We also agreed a set of key performance indicators to enable the group to monitor its progress. As a result, our client has improved management information on the economic performance of each business unit within the group, and on the group as a whole. The client then commissioned us to help them to produce financial models and to analyse possible strategic options. Smithfield Monarch Group Limited
Civil Society Systems Review Trade Union Europe 77 Our client, a health services trade union with over 800 branches and 200,000 members, commissioned us to conduct a review o their branch accounting system. The review was initiated in response to increasing concern about the lack of accountability or expenditure incurred by the branches. During the study we examined the feasibility of introducing a branch imprest system, an option that was subsequently adopted. In addition, we were able to make several short and long term recommendations to improve procedures that have also been accepted. Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE)
Financial Services Cost Comparison Survey Banking Worldwide 26 For BACS, the Inter-Bank electronic clearing operation, we were commissioned to undertake a cost comparison study of a wide range of payment and collection methods, such as direct debit, standing order, cash, cheque across a wide range of industry sectors. These industry sectors included electricity, gas, insurance, service and manufacturing. Our work involved obtaining participants to work with us on the survey, ensuring that the final survey list included a representative mix of methods used to pay and collect money. The applications we reviewed were payroll, both weekly and monthly, accounts payable, subscription dues, utility collections, including meter cash and commercial billing. We worked with each participant company to determine their transaction costs for each payment and collection method covering all applications based on activity-based costing techniques. BACS
Commercial Business Strategy Car Dealership UK & Ireland 245 Our client is a motor retailing group which includes several luxury and large volume dealerships. They also have substantial property holdings and a training and consultancy subsidiary. They asked us to look at their portfolio of businesses and to consider their position in their industry and the economy. We interviewed their directors and key staff and produced an analysis of the groups standing. As a result, the client improved its understanding of its market position and the processes required to formulate a strategic plan. The client then commissioned us to undertake a financial analysis of the current position of the group and to help them to identify options for future changes. Smithfield Monarch Group Limited
Civil Society Accounting System Review Trade Union Europe 138 For this major international voluntary federation, we reviewed our client's finance department and bespoke computer systems. The review recommended organisational, procedural and systems changes to improve efficiency and effectiveness. The organisation was then able to improve its service to beneficiaries while reducing its cost base. International Transport Workers' Federation
Civil Society Computer Integration Study Charity Europe 60 For this major medical charity, we conducted a study of computer integration and management information needs. The study focused on the link between grant making, finance and fundraising activities. Using staff meetings, management workshops and workflow analysis, we identified opportunities for reduced clerical effort, more effective exchange of information and improved management reporting. The study produced staged plans which enabled the charity to proceed sensibly with the improvements within the constraints of the charity's financial and staff resources. Cancer Research Campaign
Civil society Thought Leadership Research National Standardisation Body and Executive Education Institute Europe 356 Our clients, a national standardisation body and a professional institute, asked us to carry out independent research on the role of voluntary standards markets in financial services and their potential value for the industry. We engaged directly with a cross-section of the financial services sector, including insurance, banking, asset management, trading and investment banking professionals in interviews, workshops and an online awareness questionnaire. The research included engagement with the financial regulatory community, industry bodies, emerging schemes, and the accreditation and certification communities. The final report was published in November 2013 and attracted significant media and industry attention. BSI and CISI
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Finance Director Lighting Services Europe 62 Our client installs and maintains lighting systems, predominantly for local authorities. The Company has a turnover of £5m and employs 75 staff. We were retained to find a Finance Director with proven commercial and management skills gained in a contracting environment. Within two weeks we had identified a shortlist of four suitable individuals from which an appointment was made. T Cartledge Limited
Financial Services Specification of Functional Requirements Insurance Broking UK & Ireland 235 Our client was the direct marketing division of one of the UK's largest insurance brokers. Following their decision to computerise their accounting, job costing and time management functions, the client asked us to prepare a user requirements specification document. We looked at the functions and procedures of the department in detail. Working closely with the senior staff in the department, we produced a document which could be used as the basis of an Invitation to Tender (ITT). The client wanted to obtain the software for all of the functions from one source. We identified software houses with the relevant expertise and experience for this project. Sedgwick Direct Marketing
Commercial Systems Selection Property Group Europe 158 Our client is a local group of property owning companies. A decision had been made to replace the ageing computer system as it no longer met the group's basic accounting and administrative requirements. We were asked to investigate and define the requirements for a computerised property investment system and investigate standard software packages available. We produced an outlining requirements specification which was sent to potentially suitable suppliers. The suppliers responses were reviewed and a short list produced. We attended demonstrations of the short listed packages and prepared a report detailing our recommendations and conclusions. We also provided implementation support by assisting in the definition of coding structures, project management and controlling the balance take on and testing of the system adopted. Migdal Investments Ltd
Commercial IT Strategy and Selection Construction UK & Ireland 221 Our client with a turnover of approximately £20M contains the divisions of main contracts, small works, electrical contracting, painting and decorating, and joinery. They were experiencing low profit levels associated with high stock levels and a lack of modern systems. We conducted an organisational review which recommended a number of changes and led to a consideration of IT strategy. We produced a report on computer system options and recommended an appropriate course of action. We followed this up with the preparation of a requirements specification and an Invitation to Tender, and selected the most suitable system which is now being implemented. The computer system, by its tight control of stock levels, is expected to contribute significantly to improved profit figures. R Holford & Co
Commercial Implementation Assistance Manufacturing Europe 124 We have been working with a prestigious, public company in the manufacturing sector. Our client is in the process of computerising several of their functions. They were having some difficulty manipulating their base accounting data into a form suitable for input onto the new accounting system, as a result of which the implementation project was falling behind schedule. We spent a short period of time with our clients financial accounting department advising and assisting with this stage of the implementation. This support enabled the project manager to complete that phase of the project within the budgeted timescales. Holland and Holland
Commercial Systems Development Professional Services UK & Ireland 276 Our client is one of the UK's largest firms of actuaries. We were asked to co-ordinate the design and development of a Quality Management System to satisfy the requirements of BS 5750. Our work entailed designing and developing the Quality Policy and Audit Manuals and co-ordinating the efforts of a team of senior client partners and managers to develop the Operational and Infrastructure manuals. R Watson & Sons
Public Sector Strategy Analytical NHS Foundation Trust London 339 Our client was a large specialist NHS Foundation Trust. They wanted to review their Information Systems and Informatics Strategy, including clinical and business information. The objectives were to ensure that clinical and business strategies were aligned, and that the Trust was able to take advantage of appropriate emerging technologies, including having the right governance in place to approve and manage emerging workstreams. We consulted throughout the Trust, through individual and group consultation and surveys, identifying a need for significant investment and improvement to the core IT infrastructure and IT Governance, which had been suffering from underinvestment. The strategy and action plan which we developed was approved by the Board and we continued to work with the Trust to support implementation over time. Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Commercial SpecialiZm - Chairman Construction UK 352 Z/Yen was asked to provide a Chairman to a growing company in order to help the company begin to meet more formal listing standards. Working over several years, the directors found the Z/Yen expert of immense value in guiding their growth. CityAxis
Commercial Computer Systems Selection Consultancy UK & Ireland 224 We were asked by our client to assist with the selection of a multi-user computer system. The areas to be computerised included the accounts and cost ledgers. We documented the client's requirements, evaluated proposals from suppliers, and were able to recommend two potentially suitable suppliers. Messrs Sandberg
Civil Society Financial and Management Reporting Systems Review Charity Europe 133 For this major charity organisation we undertook a detailed review of their financial and management reporting systems. We recommended an approach to reporting on research projects which provided managers with up-to-date information of commitment and actual spend against authorised project funds. These recommendations included the need to interface purchasing and finance systems and to change accounting procedures to include accrual accounting. Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF)
Public Sector Business Plan Local Authority Europe 69 Our client had to produce their first annual Business Plan but had no resources available to do the work, and the deadline was approaching fast. We were called in to define the structure of the Plan, carry out interviews and produce the finished article within three weeks. The Plan that we produced identified all the major activities and projects in the Department, showed how they would impact business objectives and how they would affect cash flow, and pointed out opportunities, threats and their implications. Despite the short timescale, the Plan was produced to a very high standard and much of the information was presented graphically for ease of comprehension. The Plan was accepted and agreed throughout the Department and by the Chairman of the Department's sub-committee. City of Westminster
Financial Services Functional Requirements Specification Re-insurance Broker UK & Ireland 268 Our client was a leading London market reinsurance broking firm. They were using manual systems to support the business except for word processing. Following our previous outline requirements specification we carried out a detailed analysis of requirements and produced a Functional Requirements Specification document for Front End Processing (policy production and premium processing), Claims Processing and Accounting systems. This Functional Requirements Specification was to be included in a subsequent phase of work to select a supplier to provide the systems specified. Walsham Brothers & Company Limited
Civil Society Feasibility for Staffing and Resources Division Charity UK & Ireland 237 For this major UK voluntary organisation, we undertook a feasibility and planning exercise for installing a quality system in one of its largest divisions. We used workshops and interviews to assess the case for proceeding and to analyse the benefits of a quality programme. We also undertook a documentation review to estimate the costs and effort involved. Drawing on our experience of externally verified quality systems and our extensive work with voluntary sector organisations, we were able to produce a strong case to go ahead and a plan for implementation. The case for proceeding with the quality project proved to be convincing. The organisation decided to investigate an organisation wide quality systems initiative, based on the case made for the department we reviewed. Shelter
Commercial Logistics Management Distribution Company Europe 43 For a major UK based distribution company, a subsidiary of a Dutch parent, we provided consultancy assistance in the preparation of their Corporate Plan. Our work included a review of future warehousing strategy, evaluation of future business sectors and support to their business plan presentation. Bleckmann UK Ltd
Commercial IT Strategy and Selection Property Company UK & Ireland 238 Our client is a property investment and development company owning mainly retail properties with a small element of office and residential properties, both leasehold and freehold, single and multi tenancy. The properties are all managed in house. They had a B20 system which supported nominal ledger, payroll, word processing and spreadsheet applications, and were looking to implement a purchase ledger and property management system. Their current software house were pressurising them to move to a Unix based system. We conducted an initial review of the current systems, the property management systems in the marketplace and suggested the best way forward for the client in introducing a computerised property management system and purchase ledger given the current hardware and software in use. Shop and Store Developments
Commercial SpecialiZm - Systems & Procedures Review Magazine Distribution UK & Ireland 263 For a major distributor of magazines and periodicals we undertook three main streams of work: Stock and Issue Controls: we designed and implemented a stock control system designed to track the history of each issue of a publication, recording print orders, returns and current stock. We implemented wide ranging systems and procedures to facilitate the verification of declared returns to support affidavit claims to publishers; Review of computer Systems: we undertook a detailed review of the company's existing computer systems, covering the hardware platform, operating system and application system. Our review focused on the weaknesses of the current systems and recommended a number of options for the company to consider. The preferred option for the long-term benefit of the company was to source packaged software, tailored as required, to replace their existing systems; Finance Director Secondment: our preliminary work with this client recommended the appointment of a Finance Director based at its operational centre. During the 3-4 month recruitment period we provided a Financial Director on secondment. Areas covered were the introduction of EC VAT procedures and reporting, recommendations for new financial and management reporting, control reports for quanitfy publisher exposure, agent contract profitability and monitoring performance against publisher portfolios. United Newspapers
Civil Society|Public Sector Review of European Market Opportunities Education, Environment, Agriculture, Government UK & Ireland 232 For an educational, agricultural, research and environmental institution, working in conjunction with a government development authority, we developed a strategy for a variety of new services, including consultancy. The development of this strategy involved a series of workshops in which senior management and staff worked to develop the key issues of organisational structure, home market improvement, supra-national agency relationships and entry to Europe. This process resulted in a series of recommendations which demonstrated to senior management that the development of new European services would require substantial investment, well in excess of their capabilities. However, we then worked with them on a more modest and, over three years, successful development of commercial consultancy. Scottish Agricultural College and Scottish Development Agency
Financial Services Contract Negotiations Re-insurance Broker UK & Ireland 270 For this leading London market reinsurance broking firm we provided assistance to negotiate contract terms and cost reductions for software development and hardware. The assignment involved helping to draft and review legal contracts with appropriate controls, assessing the scope of the work to be undertaken, ensuring appropriate sizing of the hardware, and face to face negotiation on prices. Walsham Brothers & Company Limited
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Managing Director Mining & Engineering Europe|UK & Ireland 192 Our client was one of the world's leading producers of copper and aluminium. Based in Europe, it has few operations in the UK but bought a small, specialised manufacturer of copper and aluminium processing machinery, a leader in the application of a particular processing technology. The incumbent chairman was retiring following the purchase and our task was to identify a suitable individual to run the company as Managing Director following acquisition. We successfully found a person who had the right academic, technical and interpersonal skills who was able to start quickly. Outokumpu
Civil Society Effectiveness Review Professional Association Europe 128 This major professional association asked us to review the efficiency and effectiveness of its membership department. We examined the management, organisation and controls in the department, including the adequacy of staff, budgetary control and the use of computer facilities. We also examined the association's organisation structure and reporting lines. We produced a set of practical recommendations and an implementation plan which enabled the client to effect all the changes and benefit from the improvements within six months. ICAEW
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - European Finance Director Business Travel Europe 96 We were asked by the parent company to recruit a Finance Director for a recently acquired international business travel company. We placed an advertisement and successfully filled the position in Paris. Edinburgh House Holdings
Financial Services Systems Development Brokerage Worldwide 214 Our client is one of the UK's largest firms of commodities brokers. We were asked to co-ordinate the design and development of a BS 5750 compatible Quality Management System for the back office operations department. Our work entailed co-ordinating the Directors and senior managers to develop the Quality Policy, Audit, Service Delivery and Infrastructure Manuals. Refco Overseas Limited
Commercial Strategic Review Publishing Europe 125 For a quality magazine publication, circulation 20,000, we reviewed their strategy, products, pricing, systems, controls, financing, management and organisation. We were asked by the board to examine the strategy because of concern over the organisation's management. Our report to the board identified a number of issues ranging from sales commissions to management reporting. In particular, we analysed the publication's performance against a number of variables to help the board identify the economic cyclical element in recent difficulties, as well as some transfer pricing issues. These, and the other recommendations, gave the board the assurance that management had a workable plan to restore the publication to profitability. House Builder Publications Ltd
Civil Society IT Strategy and Systems Selection Tourist Centre UK & Ireland 300 For this major London Tourist centre we reviewed the systems then in use for accounting, office automation and in-house printing and publishing. We produced a report detailing the options for each of the above areas which would result in greater efficiency and in the case of printing and publishing, significant cost savings. We then conducted a full requirements analysis, produced an Outline User Requirements Specification and carried out an Invitation to Tender procedure. We then assisted the client with supplier contract negotiations and monitored the systems installation to ensure that the process went to schedule and that the identified benefits were achieved. Westminster Abbey
Financial Services Systems Planning Brokerage Worldwide 213 For our client, a leading commodities and futures broker, we developed a plan to implement a BS 5750 compatible Quality Management System for the back office operations. We reviewed current procedures and documentation, designed an outline QMS and estimated the costs, resources and timescales required. Refco Overseas Limited
Public Sector Research Regional Development Association UK & Ireland 309 We were asked by a Regional Development Agency and a major City Council to carry out market research on Scandinavian and Nordic companies. As part of their European marketing initiatives, both clients are interested in exploring further the possibilities of attracting inward investment from Scandinavian companies. Our work included the appraisal of national attitudes, policies and sector activity in relation to trade with and investment in the UK. YHDA
Commercial Market Study Financial Credit Information Provider Europe|United States & Canada 100 Our client, the largest providers of financial and credit information in the US, asked us to evaluate the potential of an emerging market in the UK. We performed an initial market survey based upon their experience in the US, our knowledge of European payment systems and commercially available information. We identified key drivers, the markets potential and possible threats to market expansion. The study found that the sole UK market participant had only 15% of our estimate of the market's potential volume. Equifax Europe Ltd
Commercial Re-organisation Property Company UK & Ireland 196 Our client is an international property development and investment company. A decision had been taken to restructure one of the UK divisions of the group and to merge two of the regional offices. We were asked to assume project management responsibility for the change. We prepared a detailed plan for carrying out the required changes. The plan covered staffing, system procedures and the merging of companies. The plan was discussed and agreed with the client's senior management. Over a period of three months we ensured that all the tasks were carried out - some by the clients staff and some by ourselves - prepared regular progress reports, discussed and resolved problems, and most importantly ensured key deadlines were met. After completion of the re-organisation we prepared extensive handover notes so that those client staff responsible for the new functions were in a position to manage effectively. Peel Holdings Plc
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Finance Director Travel UK & Ireland 193 The client wished to enhance the quality of financial reporting in a major division by recruiting a well-qualified, commercially driven Finance Director. We advertised the position and successfully identified a high quality shortlist with which the client was very satisfied. The new Finance Director found himself almost immediately in a takeover situation, on which we advised, and he performed superbly. Owners Abroad
Commercial Systems Implementation & Planning Professional Services UK & Ireland 275 For this major professional services firm, we prepared the business case and implementation plan for implementing a Quality Management System conforming to BS5750. We evaluated the current situation against BS5750 requirements, proposed the structure and outline contents of a QMS and evaluated the benefits, resources and costs involved in BS5750 registration. R Watson & Sons
Commercial Systems Planning Chartered Surveyors UK & Ireland 278 For our client, one of the leading firms of chartered surveyors, we assisted with the planning of a BS 5750 compatible quality management system. We interviewed partners and staff from various offices, assessed current procedures against BS 5750 and outlined the scope and structure of a suitable QMS. We then developed a plan covering the costs, effort and timescales involved in developing and implementing the QMS. Weatherall Green & Smith
Financial Services Strategic Banking Seminar Software and Processing Services USA 375 A client wanted assistance organising a thought-leadership seminar for senior bankers in order to align their services with their clients' strategic issues. Our job was to structure the seminar, provide the intellectual content, present the thinking, and lead the discussion. Over the two days we succeeded in building such rapport between our client and the senior bankers that the results were used by several parties in explaining the challenges they faced, and the set of possible responses, to their own management and regulators, in two cases posted on their public websites. IGTB
Financial Services Thought Leadership Publication Financial Services Conglomerate Worldwide 378 Our client, a large financial services conglomerate, asked us to explore blockchain technology's implications, especially how it could be applied to personal insurance. We engaged directly insurance and financial services professionals, as well as cryptographic technology experts, in semi-structured interviews, workshops, and a webinar. The final report, "Chain Of A Lifetime: How Blockchain Technology Might Transform Personal Insurance", attracted significant industry attention. More importantly, our client used the report as the basis for management decisions on further research into the technology. Suncorp
Financial Services Strategic Review Investment Management UK & Ireland 251 We reviewed the strategy and operations of a large investment management organisation (tens of billions in assets), serving state pension and insurance funds. Our review covered service levels, accounting standards, systems, controls, performance measurement, foreign exchange reporting, treasury and dealing operations. We produced an overall assessment for management concentrating on their ability to manage additional facilities for third parties. Our recommendations included the specification of a quality management system appropriate to the financial services of the organisation. State Superannuation Investment and Management Corporation
Commercial Accounting System Implementation Engineering Worldwide 23 For a large quoted engineering group, we project managed the implementation of a head office accounting system, which had been selected as a result of an earlier project. This involved contract negotiation relating to the purchase of the system, conceptual design of the accounting structure and chart of accounts, design of input screens and report layouts as well as ensuring that the system went live on the application date. The project also involved resolving a dispute with the supplier, over the extent to which some of the software met the requirements. This was achieved entirely to the satisfaction of the client. Babcock International Group plc
Commercial Interim Management and Department Restructuring Publishing Europe 94 This major publishing firm was in the middle of replacing the majority of its central systems. The existing group MIS manager was taken ill with no prospect of return. We were asked to provide an interim manager to take over the day to day running of the computer department. In addition, we were asked to undertake a review of the department and prepare recommendations to improve the service levels provided. Our review addressed the mission and objectives of the department, the structure and resourcing and also service level agreements and departmental procedures. Dorling Kindersley
Commercial Job Evaluation Trade Windows & Door Systems UK & Ireland 266 Devised a new job evaluation system for all clerical, admin, supervisory and management staff together with a new salary structure. Veka Limited
Commercial Standards Planning Computer Company Europe 93 This major computer company had been developing a Quality Management System (QMS) with a view to achieving BS 5750 registration. We were asked to assist them by reviewing their draft documentation and helping to plan the next stages of the project. Using our experience of externally verified quality systems in this sector, we helped the client to streamline their documentation and allocate the resources needed to meet their target date for registration. The client said '[We] found your advice valuable in clarifying issues within the project and providing us with ideas (which we have developed) in terms of both streamlining the QMS and ensuring we meet BS 5750 requirements'. Digital Equipment Co Limited
Civil Society Green Policy Innovation University UK 335 University College London's Green Economy Policy Commission was producing a Next Steps document and asked Z/Yen, based on our financial sector and green economy expertise, to help assess investor information needs on 'green economy’ issues and suggest what might be done in the short and long term through UK government policy. Our contribution suggested policies on releasing more open source government information; adding volatility reduction to cost-benefit and environmental impact evaluations of sustainability; promoting the use of Confidence Accounting; and issuing carbon, forestry & other green-policy-linked bonds. University College London
Commercial Systems Development Chartered Surveyors UK & Ireland 279 Our client is one of the largest firms of Chartered Surveyors in the UK with over 500 staff in seven offices. We assisted the client in developing the procedures and manuals for a BS 5750-compliant Quality Management System. The system was developed to be applicable to the full range of property-based services offered by the client from all its offices. Weatherall Green & Smith
Financial Services Research and Data Sourcing Bank London, UK 372 We were asked by a major bank to join an academic consortium to conduct a study on the integration of natural capital risks and data into financial analysis and decision-making. Intended for our client’s analysts and clients, the report set out a step-by-step procedure through which economists and analysts can identify the contribution of natural capital to the economies, sectors and companies in which they have an interest. Our work included assisting academic partners, advising on relevant sources of data on natural capital, writing an introductory section on the relevance of natural capital to financial institutions and peer reviewing both the proposed methodology and the report. HSBC via consortium formed by UCL Paul Ekins
Commercial SpecialiZm - Coach & Non-executive Director Construction UK 351 A construction company with two owner/directors sought to prepare itself for sale. Z/Yen provided a Non-executive Director who worked with the two owners as a coach. The non-executive director functioned as a sounding board for general management issues, but brought particular expertise in raising finance and marketing. He worked to get the management team to be more systematic about their sales and marketing processes as an important precursor to proving to investors that income was well-managed. He also structured their board meetings and finance so that investors could have a record of the company’s development. He introduced them to a variety of professional contacts which expanded their understanding of construction and facilities management, as well as the pro’s and con’s of trade sale, MBO and exchange listings. The firm is now poised for sale. CityAxis
Public Sector Financial Modelling Housing Association UK & Ireland 272 Our client is a major Housing Association in the south of England. We carried out a review of the financial implications of the new Housing Association Act on our client. We established that there was a requirement to improve financial forecasting and in particular to develop a sophisticated, yet easy to maintain, model of the finances of the Association. The model is intended to help evaluate new housing projects and to monitor costs. We recommended that the Association develop a prototype model to establish the design parameters prior to investing in a bespoke system. We were responsible for managing the development of this prototype. Warden Housing Association
Commercial IT Effectiveness Review Security UK & Ireland 217 Our client is a leading UK Security Services company, providing on-site security for over 1000 clients, using in excess of 3,500 security officers, based from over 20 regional offices. We performed an assignment assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the company's IT operations. This assignment included investigations into the main aspects of IT service provision including organisation and staffing, performance and capacity management, contingency planning, problem and change control, security and the use of service level agreements. The work resulted in the formulation of a rapid improvement programme which was initiated immediately by the client. Reliance Security Services Limited
Public Sector Financial Management Review Borough Council Europe 79 Following the discovery during the external audit of some deficiencies in financial management at a medium sized district council, we were selected to undertake a review of financial management. The team looked at budgeting and at all of the units within the finance department, including IT. A series of recommendations were made in our report, which we presented at a meeting of councillors and senior officers. Our recommendations, which included the appointment of an interim Director of Finance, are now in the process of being implemented. Castle Point Borough Council
Commercial Task Force Preparation Television Company Europe 13 Having identified areas for further cost reduction study in the previous 'Measurement and Capacity Study', we were asked to prepare briefing packs for those areas which were to be investigated by a joint task force of Z/Yen and four of the company's senior managers. The briefing packs contained the results of previous study, general areas for investigation, preliminary options for investigation, the method of working and an estimate of resources and timescales. Anglia Television Group plc
Commercial Systems Review Publishing Europe 121 Our client is a leading British book publisher. We were asked to report on the implementation of a software package which had over-run the initial estimates for effort and cost, and had missed a number of planned implementation dates. We spent a short period of time assessing the situation and were able to identify the major risks to the project, key problem areas and matters needing immediate attention. We advised our client on the options for the future direction of the project. Subsequently we worked closely with the new project manager to produce a detailed testing and implementation plan for the project. With our training and guidance and users were able to carry out thorough acceptance testing themselves to ensure that the new system met requirements. We also advised on security of the system and the client's telecommunications network. The system was implemented on schedule with very few problems. Hodder and Stoughton Ltd
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Planning Manager Plastics & Packaging UK & Ireland 239 Our client manufactures plastic packaging for the food and medical sectors. The group has a turnover of £15m. We were retained to identify a planning manager with a sound understanding of capacity planning in a continuous process environment. We advertised the position and produced a shortlist of three candidates from which an appointment was made. Sidlaw PLC
Financial Services Review of Correspondent Banking Operations Bank Europe 27 We were asked by one of Spain's largest banking groups to undertake a detailed review of the operations of its correspondent banking department. The review was conducted in three parts:
  • a review of operations via a series of detailed interviews with correspondent banking staff, internal customers and support divisions (e.g. information technology);
  • a survey of operations in UK based correspondent banking departments to identify best practice, and to obtain a market assessment of our client;
  • a survey of corporate customer opinions in Spain to identify potential opportunities or weaknesses in our client's activities.
    • The results of this work were then analysed and documented in terms of the issues identified, their implications and impact and the actions and effort required to address each issue. This enabled our client to prioritise the actions to be taken, and define a clear implementations plan. In addition to the work identified above, we also assisted our client to perform a statistical analysis of their base transaction data to assess the effectiveness and priorities assigned to marketing efforts and pricing.
Banco Exterior de Espana
Commercial Banking and Accounting Systems Requirements Specification Retail Group UK & Ireland 288 Our client, a major High Street retail group, provides banking and accounting services to various entities within the organisation. We were commissioned to help the client develop a requirements specification for the banking and accounting systems, which would reduce manual work and increase the efficiency of the services. We looked at the functions and procedures of the banking and accounting departments in detail. Working closely with staff, we produced a document which could be used as the basis of an Invitation to Tender (ITT). We also identified potential suppliers that could be invited to respond to the ITT. Our independent and objective involvement ensured that a consensus was achieved on the set of requirements among the various departments. It also enabled a clear and comprehensive systems specification to be developed, which provided sound basis for systems selection. The client commissioned us to continue working with the staff to help them through the systems selection process. Westend Client
Civil Society Systems Planning Charities London 328 Charityshare is a joint venture initiative between NSPCC and The Children’s Society to co-source IT services. This award-winning initiative was conceived in 2003 and was formally launched in January 2005. Z/Yen was involved in the initiative from the outset. Our first role was to help the charities to compare infrastructure and services with each other, adapting the benchmarking methods Z/Yen uses for the Charities Consortium benchmarking. Z/Yen then worked with the Charities to structure the venture and plan the transition to shared IT infrastructure and services. Our work included project planning, establishing strategic and operational governance and project management of the transition. The project merged all operating IT services including helpdesk, training, purchasing and technical support (both field and centrally based), but not confidential databases. The combined Charityshare budget at the outset was £3.26M. This budget, which included the cost of 56 full-time equivalent staff, serviced 2830 desktops across the two organisations. Savings of some £800,000 per annum across the two charities were delivered ahead of plan, achieved by upgrading to broadband and eliminating duplicated IT infrastructure and telecommunication links. The initiative was welcomed by the Charity Commission as demonstrating the sector's ability actively to collaborate for the benefit of those they seek to serve. In September 2005, the venture was highly commended for Best Use of Technology at the Charity Awards. The judges took pains to state that "the rest of the sector should take note of what has been done here". Importantly, measurable service quality indicators also improved ahead of schedule, as the benefits of combining forces enables the use of better tools and techniques for service delivery. Z/Yen was subsequently engaged to help Charityshare to project manage the expansion of the service to ChildLine, which was acquired by NSPCC early in Charityshare's time. Z/Yen was also subsequently engaged to plan and project manage the acquisition of a third partner, The Altzheimer's Society. NSPCC & The Children's Society
Civil Society Training Course Civil Society London 386 Tools and techniques that help businesses get more value from even incomplete or patchy data are now freely available and accessible to all types of organisations. Z/Yen have developed an intensive course to find out in just half a day, what you need to know about these analytical techniques, how they are being used and what questions you should ask to start using them in your organisation now. Based on Z/Yen's experience in helping clients use predictive analytics in their work, the course covers such as improving customer revenue and retention, reducing volumes of unsuccessful contacts, predicting product performance and reducing errors and manual input in transaction processing. There are two types of course available, which can be booked independently or together. The Appreciation Course is designed for senior managers and information leaders who want to appreciate how predictive analytics could help them create more value from their data. Participants don’t need to be mathematics or software experts. The course explains why they need to know about predictive analytics and tells them what they need to know to ask the right questions and understand the answers. The Basics Course is also suitable for those who might attend the Appreciation Course, as well as information professionals who want to revise and/or start using these techniques in earnest. Moorfields
Civil Society Information Strategy Charity UK 359 Our client was a large humanitarian charity, with thousands of volunteers working in branches dispersed throughout the UK. They asked us to review their use of information and develop an information strategy that would address the collection, dissemination and use of information throughout the organisation taking account of the many different information needs of stakeholders such as volunteers, managers, fundraisers and funders. We consulted widely throughout the organisation to build a consensus about the approach to, use of and ownership of information, developing a costed action plan and route map that would allow them to bring together their many sources of information in a phased approach that minimised risk to the organisation, while maximsing rewards for stakeholder groups as well as the organisation as a whole. British Red Cross Society
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - European Systems Manager Retailer Europe 273 We were retained to identify a European Systems Manager for a start-up retail subsidiary of a major US communications group. We advertised the position and presented an excellent short-list from which a candidate was chosen. Warner Bros Studio Stores
Public Sector Business Plan Government Agency Europe 86 The DRA is one of the largest Executive Agencies set up under the Government's 'Next Steps' initiative to improve the efficiency of government. The DRA is one of the largest defence-based research organisations in the World and has an impressive record of scientific achievement, which for example includes in recent years the development of the technology used in most lap-top computer displays. One of our senior consultants was seconded to the DRA in January 1991 to assist the Chief Executive prepare the first 1 and 5 year business plans for the Secretary of State. His work has involved him in working with the senior management to develop plans to expand non-MOD business, restructure the organisation and rationalise the DRA's asset and technology base. Neil has also been closely associated with quantifying the parameters which affect the organisations viability, such as the required levels of cost reduction and efficiency improvement. Defence Research Agency (DRA)
Financial Services Systems Implementation & Registration Brokerage Worldwide 215 Having helped this commodities and futures broker to plan, design and develop a Quality Management System, we were commissioned to help implement the system. We ran a series of training sessions so that everyone in the Operations Department was clear on their responsibilities and the requirements of the Quality Management System. We supported the client during several months of live running with advice, suggestions for changes in the light of live running, setting up the internal quality audit programme, and support during the assessment. The very few non-conformities identified by the external assessors were soon cleared and our client is using the Quality Management System as a firm basis for continuous improvement into the future. Refco Overseas Limited
Public Sector Review of the Process Used To Select Outside Consultants Transport Europe 54 We were commissioned by British Rail's Directorate, Information Systems and Technology (DIST) to review the process used to select an outside firm of consultants for Intercity On Board Catering Services. DIST are responsible for most of the information technology facilities and related consultancy support services of British Rail. We reviewed the process undertaken by DIST from the production of the Invitation to Tender to the selection of the chosen consultants. We produced a report for DIST which described what is best commercial practice in selecting consultants. We then compared what DIST actually did against the framework that we had created and determined whether or not DIST had selected the chosen consultants objectively. The major benefit to DIST was that we provided them with a framework to use for further consultancy selection work. British Rail
Commercial Cost Improvement Implementation Television Company Europe 11 For a regional television company we assisted their project management team implement a series of recommendations for new administrative and financial systems across a number of functional areas. The work was based upon our own set of recommendations that were agreed following our study to identify significant cost savings. We worked with the team for twelve months until the successful implementation of the last recommendation. The project was completed on time and within the company's financial budget. Anglia Television Group plc
Public Sector Network Strategy Local Authority Europe 61 The local authority, a District Council, commissioned us to develop a Network Strategy for their computer systems. This was driven by the Council's decision to move from a proprietary mainframe system to a Unix/Dos based open systems environment. The strategy was required within a very limited time (one week) in order to facilitate selection of a computer system for Council Tax. Working with the Council's IT staff, we developed a Network Strategy that provided a coherent approach to linking the Council's existing and future computer systems. The strategy took into account the Council's special requirements from hardware, software and operational points of view. Our unique blend of local government knowledge, strategy planning experience and technical expertise on IT networks allowed us to develop a practical networking strategy within very tight timescales. The Council used the strategy as the basis for selecting a system for Council Tax. Their future IT communications development will also be based on the strategy. Carrick District Council
Commercial Telecommunications Strategy Manufacturing Europe 81 For a diversified group of international companies in the Top 500 who source, produce and distribute textiles and chemicals worldwide, we worked with the senior information technology management to produce an international telecommunications strategy. Our work was directed by their business and systems strategy and covered virtual private network, point to point networks, WANs/LANs, supplier relationships, supplier evaluation and emerging technologies, e.g. VSAT, teleconferencing, frame relay, voice recognition etc. Our final product was a presentation workshop to the information technology officers, where we focused on some of the implications of their Far East developments on telecommunications in the region. Courtaulds plc
Commercial Survey Computer Distributor Europe 130 For this fast expanding computer distribution company, we conducted a corporate culture survey. We sampled 12 staff and also surveyed the Board of Directors. Unusually, the Board was more critical of the existing culture than staff. There was a very strong consensus between Directors and staff over where the emphasis of culture should be and where there were gaps between existing and desired culture. This analysis helped the Board to prioritise procedures to enhance the corporate culture in the desired direction. Ideal Hardware
Commercial Logistics Operation Review Warehousing.Distribution/Petfood Products Europe 106 Review of the logistics operations of Gamston Kennels warehouse organisation in the supply of pet foods and products. The project encompassed:
  • identifying performance targets for all logistics operations;
  • document the logistics chain;
  • identifying operations to improve effectiveness of logistics chain;
  • preparing an action plan for the implementation of the recommendations.
Gamston Kennels
Commercial Establishing Standard Chart Of Accounts Structure Retail Group UK & Ireland 287 Our client provides banking and accounting services to 80 entities within its organisation through several of its head-office departments. Following the selection of a new banking and accounting system, the client asked us to help them establish a standard Chart of Accounts structure that would facilitate the setting up of accounting entities on the new accounting system. By interviewing key client accountants we identified the accounting requirements for the various entities. We consolidated these requirements into a single chart of accounts structure that could be set up on the new system. This provided flexibility of setting up more specific account codes for each entity. The client implemented its accounting enitites using this Chart of Accounts structure. Westend Client
Civil Society Computer Implementation Review Education Europe 9 We were asked by a leading private school to evaluate the process of the new computerised school administration system and review the school's policies and approach to computer developments. We were able to advise on supplier arrangements, internal responsibilities and prepared a detailed implementation plan to address the existing difficulties and resource limitations. The project was put back on course with clearly defined milestones and responsibilities. Ampleforth College
Commercial Systems Implementation Market Research UK & Ireland 220 Following acceptance of the business case, we provided assistance in the development of the Quality Management System manuals, gaining acceptance of the manuals by an appropriate certification body, launching the QMS, training staff, aiding the development of the Internal Quality Audit function and helping the client through to full registration under BS 5750. Research International UK Ltd
Commercial Banking Systems Implementation Retail Group UK & Ireland 285 Our client, a major High Street retail group, provides banking and accounting services to various entities within its organisation. Following the purchase of a new banking and accounting system the client commissioned us to project manage the implementation of the system. This involved co-ordinating tasks between the client's staff, hardware suppliers and software suppliers. The tasks we co-ordinated included the installation of the hardware and software, testing of the system, training of the bank staff and systematic setting up of the bank's data on the new system. Our strength in interpersonal skills and our experience in managing this type of project ensured that the implementation was completed within the allocated budget, on time and to our client's satisfaction. Westend Client
Commercial Implementation of Property Management System Property Company UK & Ireland 200 Our client is an international property development and investment company. Following a major acquisition and subsequent restructuring our client decided to adopt the acquired company's computerised property management system throughout the enlarged group. Following a period in which little progress was made in the implementation programme we were asked to provide project management assistance. We carried out a brief review to establish progress and presented our findings to the client together with a suggested plan of action. The plan was accepted and we proceeded to implement the property management system in three of the four UK regions. Our work involved training staff, designing coding structures, and developing procedures. We controlled the changeover from the manual system to the new computerised system. Peel Holdings Plc
Commercial User Requirements Specification Property Company Europe 50 Our client was a major property development and management company with a turnover of approximately £100m and net assets of over £1bn. They had an ageing computer system which no longer met all requirements, particularly in the accounting information available. Following our previous outline IT strategy work, we carried out a detailed analysis of requirements in two stages. In the first stage we examined the existing system and the requirements and produced an interim report on areas of opportunity. In the second stage we produced a Requirements Specification document for Financial, Property and Management Information systems. This Requirements Specification was to be included in a subsequent phase of work to select a supplier to provide the systems specified. The British Land Company PLC
Financial Services Financial Information and Controls Insurance Broking UK & Ireland 234 For the direct marketing division of one of the UK's largest insurance brokers, we undertook a study to determine the financial information and controls required to support a fast growing division with diverse functions. The study involved examining the effectiveness of the administration, planning the use of new and existing information technology and determining the key performance indicators for the business. Our work led to significant improvements in working capital management and the efficiency of the division. Sedgwick Direct Marketing
Commercial Computer Systems Selection Sports Club London 209 Our client is a prestigious sports club, specialising in lawn tennis. We were asked to conduct a review of the existing computerised membership system, and investigate the client's requirements for an integrated accounting and membership system. We prepared a requirements specification system and issued an invitation to tender. As a result we were able to identify a suitable supplier to replace the existing systems. The Queen's Club
Financial Services Branch Productivity Study Insurance UK & Ireland 261 For one of the UK's largest motor insurance intermediaries we were invited to conduct a study to identify opportunities for improving branch productivity. The study included conducting a series of visits to branches and interviews with Head Office staff. We worked closely with the client to produce a spreadsheet model that predicts required staffing levels for individual branches, a database of branch performance ratios and recommendations to improve paperflows and communications. Swinton Insurance
Public Sector Management Information Review Health Europe 174 For several NHS Trusts we carried out a high level review of information received by non executives and budget holders. The review concentrated on four areas:
  • what information is required by members and selected officers to do their jobs;
  • what information do they currently receive and how timely is it;
  • what information is produced and is not necessary, and what is necessary but not produced;
  • what is being done to address the information gap.
Our findings were then reported and agreed with the clients.
Various NHS Trusts
Commercial Computer Systems Selection Architects UK & Ireland 253 We were asked by our client to assist with the selection of a small multi-user computer system. The areas to be computerised included job costing, accounts and project management. We documented the clients requirements, evaluated proposals from suppliers and were able to recommend two potentially suitable systems. Stewardson Searle Partnership
Financial Services Advisory Committee Member Government Department Europe 393 The role of the International Member of the Industry Advisory Committee has proved invaluable as a way to provide us with an international perspective on developments in the international financial services scene which helps us to ensure our offering for the sector remains competitive and responsive to the global environment. International Financial Services 2020 Strategy’s Industry Advisory Committee
Civil Society SpecialiZm - Project Manager Membership Organisation UK & Ireland 347 A Z/Yen client was installing a major Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system – 1,500 users, millions of records, new architecture, new business processes. Z/Yen believed it was in the client’s best interest temporarily to strengthen their project management for such a large project or the software would be supplied but not meet the business need. Unfortunately, the client’s management team was already stretched. Z/Yen provided a Senior IT Project Manager who took over the two-year project. She led a large team of staff, contractors and suppliers through an enormous systems design, development and roll-out, bringing in specific Z/Yen specialists in contracting, networks, software and change management as needed. The project was delivered on-time and on-budget. Subsequently, the CRM system has been declared the “core” system of the organisation and is being rolled out to a further 2,400 staff. UNISON
Commercial IT Review Insurance Europe 105 We were appointed by a large general insurance broking company, covering the London and UK markets, to attend IT Board meetings in a non-executive role and provide advice on the following:
  • objective standards of reference on IT matters;
  • preliminary input on the overall direction of IT;
  • important IT projects that could be developed;
  • staffing and new technology.
We have been instrumental in bringing about a consolidation of the systems used by the company and ensured that the systems which had been implemented were working to user requirements.
Furness-Houlder (Insurance) Co Ltd
Commercial Systems Testing and Implementation Retail Group UK & Ireland 289 Our client commissioned us to help them with the implementation of a computer system for grants administration. The software had been modified to meet our clients specific requirements. Working closely with the client team, we co-ordinated the software testing and implementation project. The new system has lead to increased efficiency and improvements to management information. Westend Client (Charities Department)
Civil Society Thought Leadership Research National Standardisation Organisation London, UK 373 Following a previous thought leadership research assignment carried out in 2013, our client, a national standardisation organisation, asked us to carry out independent research to assist in identifying opportunities for voluntary standards development in selected sectors of finance, starting with insurance and investment & asset management. To this end, we engaged directly with relevant professionals and industry associations through a series of workshops, informal discussions and an online questionnaire. As a result two studies, one for each sector, were published in October 2014. BSI
Public Sector Review of Pharmaceutical Regulation Scheme Government Department Europe 169 For the National Audit Office we reviewed the annual financial reporting arrangements for the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. We commented on the information required at the centre to monitor the performance of the scheme against its objectives. We considered the adequacy of the existing reports and the reliance which could be placed on them. We recommended improvements to the reports. National Audit Office
Commercial IT Strategy Manufacturing Europe 113 Our client is a group of companies manufacturing internal fixtures for aircraft including; seats, overhead lockers and complete galleys. We conducted a business review and determined the possible advantageous uses for IT in two of the galley manufacturing companies. This was followed by a requirements analysis and an ITT procedure. Amongst the essential features was batch traceability, in order to comply with the Civil Aviation Authority requirements that detailed manufacturing records be kept for 10 years. The system was successfully installed and we advised the company again, some four years later, when internal growth and changes of direction by the company's software supplier necessitated an upgrade or replacement of their systems. Henshalls
Commercial Management Buyout Telecommunications Catering Europe 57 Our client was interested in reducing headcount and making support businesses more accountable for their actions. We were asked to examine the feasibility of spinning out the catering function so that it could compete with outside contractors. The company was one of the largest worldwide telecommunication groups and had the largest internal UK catering operation. The key problem was ascertaining the viability of the catering operation as a going concern in a competitive environment. Our study resulted in a short presentation which outlined the key problems and available options. In this instance, the client decided to proceed with outside catering contracts, but not to proceed with establishing a separate, competitive catering company from its internal function. British Telecom Catering
Public Sector Visitor Centre Technology Local Government London 338 The City of London's new, multi-lingual City Information Centre was built to showcase the City to tourists. Z/Yen's role was to design, specify and install the technology working with Skanska, the construction firm, to support interaction with visitors. As well as ICT and audio-visual technology, along the way we also developed visitor wifi, data transfer to visitor smartphones, direct print sheets, call centre services using voice-over-IP for tourists and message broadcasting. City of London Corporation
Public Sector Market Testing Government Organisation Europe 82 For a government organisation which was being subjected to Market Testing, we prepared a ghost bid for each of the departments which were included in the process. We prepared a detailed, fully costed bid for each service providing a full analysis of our proposed manning requirements against the ITT requirements and to meet the service level targets. In addition we provided a review of two departments, IT and Accounts, informing the client of the strengths and weaknesses of their existing operation and the main risks to their bid proposals. Customs & Excise (East Anglia)
Civil Society Workshop Training and Enterprise Council Europe 189 Following our review of the management and operational structures of a Training and Enterprise Council (TEC), and at the request of the Chairman, we ran a one-day workshop for non-executive directors only. The understanding of the Board's role, that of the non executive director and the working relationship with executive directors had become blurred. The workshop enabled a full discussion of issues to take place. Clear guidelines and terms of reference were agreed and established, providing a well understood framework for the responsibilities and activities of the Board and its members. Oldham TEC
Commercial IT Service Effectiveness Review Agrochemicals UK & Ireland 230 Our client is a leading European agrochemicals company with research and manufacturing centres throughout Europe. The Information Technology Department, based at one of the company's major agrochemical plants in UK, required an audit of the effectiveness and efficiency of the services it offered its users. We performed an assignment assessing the company's IT operations. This assignment included investigations into the main aspects of IT service provision including organisation and staffing, performance and capacity management, contingency planning, problem and change control and security. The study resulted in a concise definition of problem / risk areas and recommendations for rapid improvement. These recommendations were accepted, and formed the core of a service improvement programme controlled by the client. Schering Agrochemicals Limited
Civil Society SpecialiZm - Financial Controller Membership Organisation UK & Ireland 342 A membership organisation with over a million members needed a Financial Controller to help with the transition from a monolithic finance department to a service-based finance department. Z/Yen’s financial controller provided eight months of assistance to the finance director. His work included coaching the finance director through the changes, leading outsourcing projects, redrafting procedures, redesigning the regional management information systems and retraining the finance team. Due to his efforts, the transition was made in eight months rather than the original plan of eighteen, and the department was delivering a much better service with fewer staff. UNISON
Civil Society Strategy Analytical Charity London 331 Our client was a national charity with an income of £30m, providing a range of care and education services for people with disabilities. They asked us to help them review their use of ICT and develop an IS and IT strategy. The strategy identified that issues with the ICT infrastructure were hampering the delivery of services, and we were commissioned to work with the charity to evaluate options for providing the infrastructure. We specified the services required and managed the selection process. Following the successful selection of a supplier we oversaw the transition work and successful go live of the service. The Shaftesbury Society
Civil Society IT Strategy and Selection Members Club London 107 The management of this exclusive London Members Club for media & arts decided to investigate whether computers could assist with their membership, subscriptions and accounting procedures. We investigated the options and recommended that as software was readily available to satisfy the majority of their needs computerisation was viable and would bring significant benefits to the club. As we were dealing in a very conservative environment, we recommended a phased approach over three years using a network that could be extended as required. The first phase was a membership and subscription system which brought the most visible benefits to members. The second phase was dining room accounts which improved the accuracy of accounting. And the third phase was stock control and general which improved the timeliness of reporting. The Garrick Club
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Group MIS Manager Publishing Europe 95 We were retained by this major publishing company to recruit a Group MIS Manager. We advertised the position and put forward a strong shortlist from which an appointment was made. Dorling Kindersley
Commercial Feasibility - Microcomputer Accounting System Solution Wholesale Distribution Business UK & Ireland 257 We assisted our client, a major UK wholesale distribution business, to assess whether a micro-computer based accounting system would be a suitable replacement for their existing computerised accounting system. Prior to the start of our assignment the client had identified a micro-computer package capable of meeting requirements, however, the cost was high. We completed a high-level analysis of requirements and survey of the market which showed that a micro-computer based system would meet the requirement at a significantly lower cost. The project involved working closely with both users and software houses to obtain the required information within the timescale set by our client. Surridge Dawson
Civil Society Thought Leadership Research Business School Switzerland 322 We were asked by an internationally renowned Business School in Switzerland to carry out research on business innovation and climate change. Our client was interested in corporate trends and developments in this area to support outreach and engagement activities with their clients. Our work included facilitating access to relevant sources of data and research on climate change; comparing and assessing the state of current corporate practice in sustainability (including corporate reporting, energy and resource-efficiency, product and process innovation) for 42 multinationals across 18 sectors including construction, agriculture, packaging, healthcare, chemicals, automobiles etc. IMD Business School
Civil Society System Development Membership Organisation London 365 For one of the UK's largest Trades Unions, Z/Yen was asked to develop an on-line branch accounting system. The objective was to enable branch treasurers, secretaries and administrators flexibly to manage the day to day accounting for their respective branches, while allowing the finance staff at central office to support those branch activities. The union has over 1000 branches organised through a dozen regions. We worked very closely with the central office finance staff, using as a basis spreadsheet models which they had been using in several branches. We piloted a working prototype with several branches and the response was hugely positive. Within two years, the majority of union branches were using the system voluntarily and a two-thirds majority at the union's conference voted for the system to become compulsory for the benefit of all branches. UNISON
Commercial Report Writer Selection Retail Group UK & Ireland 298 Our client, a major High Street retail group, provides banking and accounting services to various entities within its organisation. Following the purchase of a computerised accounting system the client commissioned us to project manage its implementation. This involved co-ordinating tasks between three accounting departments and the hardware and software suppliers. We co-ordinated the installation of the hardware and software, testing of the software and setting up of approximately forty accounting entities on the system. We also provided technical assistance to the client in setting up the accounting entities. Our involvement helped to ensure that the implementation was completed with minimum disruption to the client's work, within the allocated budget, and on time. Our skills in change management helped to bring about a shift from a departmentalised paper based culture to a more open computerised culture, which was necessary for the successful implementation for the new system. Westend Client
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Information Systems Manager Multinational Worldwide 114 Our client is a large and diversified group with turnover in excess of £800m. It has major interests in property, retail, distribution and media, and operates in the UK, Europe and the USA. Its net worth exceeds £640m. We were asked to handle the recruitment of an Information Systems Manager through a programme of advertised selection. We advertised the position in The Sunday Times and interviewed those respondents who appeared most suitable on paper. We then presented a high calibre short-list to the client and assisted in negotiations with the preferred candidate. Heron International Plc
Commercial Procedures Manual Magazine Distribution UK & Ireland 264 The magazine distribution division of a major national newspaper group asked us to develop a manual covering formal monthly and ad hoc procedures with specific reference to a new multi-million pound contract. We analysed and flowcharted existing processes and procedures, devised templates for a more codified and integrated approach to planning and control, developed the required policies, forms and procedures, cleared these through operational directors and published the results in a bound format. United Newspapers
Commercial Rewarding Performance Professional Services Europe 32 Explored the possibility of introducing performance related pay across a range of disciplines, e.g. audit, tax, corporate finance, in a situation where a government approved PRP system was not possible. BDO Bristol
Commercial Project Management Design Engineers Europe 19 This design company was developing a computerised nautical navigation system which included the use of digitised sea charts. We were asked by non-technical investors in the company to provide project management assistance to the project and provide an interface between themselves and the development team. The product under development was designed to plot a ship's movements in relation to the digitised charts and then be able to automatically re-navigate the same course. The project included discussions with the Admiralty in order to gain approval to use their charts, and with organisations who would provide the digitising service. The development targets were met and the investors received their requested reassurances. Associated Seaways Hydrographics
Commercial Business Plan Utilities UK & Ireland 310 Our client, a major electrical retailer, was considering setting up a joint venture with a management team for an electrical goods retail business. We helped to prepare the business plan for the joint venture, which looked at market potential, set up costs and a range of operating scenarios. Yorkshire Electricity
Commercial IT Strategy and Selection Solicitors Europe 147 We were asked by our client to examine their administrative procedures following recognition that other practices appeared to be more efficient. The practice comprised 3 offices around London and staff were dealing with over 1000 open matters. Our review examined the accounting, time recording, time costing and word processing operations. We identified and evaluated various options for the effective use of IT and recommended a course of action. We then conducted a full requirements analysis and an ITT procedure. We also assisted with the implementation of the chosen solution of a minicomputer (for time recording and accounting) in one office with communications links to the others, and standalone PCs for word processing. We then prepared a plan for the future considering such things as conveyancing support systems and links to legal databases. Lemon and Partners
Commercial Systems Review Architects & Building Surveyors UK & Ireland 252 Our client was formed in 1985 and brought together the unusual collaboration of Architect and Building Surveyor. Their contracts have been mainly for refurbishment, re-arrangement or extension of existing accommodation. They wanted to expand their operations and commissioned us to perform a review of their markets and internal business systems. Our market survey identified strengths, weaknesses and core competencies. We carried out a full review of their internal systems. These were divided into: technical information, document control, project control, management and financial information, micro-computers and automation. Stewardson Searle Partnership
Financial Services Database Scoping Study Metal Broker Europe 151 For a metal trading company on the London Metal Exchange, we carried out a scoping study to examine the feasibility and the options for introducing a database of metal warrants. The report arising from the study set out options and recommendations both for our client and for extending the system to the LME itself. Metallgesellschaft
Civil Society Strategy Analytical Fundraising Charity London 326 A national charity with annual voluntary income of close to £12 million per annum worked with us to see if our SVM, PropheZy, could improve its direct mail fundraising performance by finding rubies in the dust of its donor database. This charity was very good at direct mail fundraising compared with most large charities, especially in high volume, low value campaigns. However, the fundraisers felt that they could achieve more from their database of c400,000 donors and were intrigued to match their “rule of thumb” skills against the SVM. Having tuned a PropheZy model on a number of trials using historic data, we were ready to conduct a trial on a substantial live mailing. The charity identified the donors it would normally mail for that campaign, while Z/Yen ran the whole dataset against PropheZy to look for rubies in the dust. PropheZy identified 16,000 donors as highly likely to give, around 14,000 would have been included in the charity’s regular mail shot anyway. But 2,000 of them would not have been chosen, as they seemed to be poor prospects using the charity’s regular methods. The successful response rate amongst the “rubies in the dust” within the most promising blocks of donors was 29.6%; which meant around 600 additional donors. This represented roughly 15% increase in number of donors and a revenue boost of just over 10% for the campaign. Financially, the results on a warm direct mail campaign of this sort are good but not spectacular. However, applying the same technique on higher-value items, for example identifying donors who have a propensity to graduate to regular giving or legacy pledges, could be very valuable indeed. Action For Blind People
Commercial Systems Review Public Relations UK & Ireland 254 We were asked by our client to review their existing computer systems, a small network of microcomputers, and make recommendations for improvements. Stratton and Reekie
Media Processes and Systems Review Information Provision and Media New York 333 For this large US information provision and media company, Z/Yen undertook a review of administrative information systems and their relationship with other systems within the organisation. Existing administrative systems were under-powered as a result of rapid growth, so we advised our client to seek new financial and enterprise resource planning systems. We also recommended further integration of information between operational and administrative systems, while recommending further separation of procedural functions between transaction processing and information management. The resulting specification and selection process chose Peoplesoft as the core administrative system. In the interim, our client benefited from implementing many of the principles agreed using their old systems. Bloomberg
Commercial Computer Systems Selection Retail Group UK & Ireland 294 We have been working with the property department of a major retail group. We assisted our client's systems selection project after helping them to define their functional requirements. We identified potential suppliers and monitored the Invitation to Tender process. We then assisted in the evaluation of tenders, drawing up a shortlist from the tenders, attending demonstrations of software, contract negotiation and the selection of a suitable system. Westend Client (Property Department)
Commercial Disposal Analysis Property Investment Middle East 377 For a multibillion dollar development project we were asked to examine the project viability using our "investment gap analysis" approach. We reviewed the project business case and supporting documentation for sufficiency, viability, and appropriateness as a 'bankable' project for investors. We carried out a sensitivity analysis on time and costs. We critiqued the marketing and project planning. We used our analysis to estimate new timings, costs, and funding requirements. Our work informed our client's decision to seek disposal and supported their legal negotiations. Khalij Fiduciare
Public Sector Economic Research Local Government London 318 We were asked to conduct a research project to assess the feasibility and potential of establishing a capacity exchange hub in the UK. Our clients included a local government office, a not-for-profit grant funding body and a commercial enterprise. We conducted over 60 interviews, issued an online survey to 200 retail and barter exchanges, undertook a modelling exercise and carried out extensive desk research into non-monetary trade, including the role of alternative currencies. As part of the research we facilitated two workshops with an internal team of experts and hosted an academic symposium which was also attended by the clients. We produced a report which assessed the role and potential of non-monetary trade in various forms, and outlined the possible benefits to the UK, including job creation and credit creation. Z/Yen not only delivered a thorough research report, "Capacity Trade And Credit: Emerging Architectures For Commerce And Money", but also facilitated introductions between businesses in the reciprocal trade sector and government units whose remit is to attract new business to the UK. The research report and introductions laid the groundwork for continuing efforts to engage with businesses currently operating in this space through a forum of experts. City of London Corporation, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Recipco
Retail Banking Strategic ICT Risk & Opportunity Assessment - Due Diligence Investment Consortium UK 340 Our client was contemplating an investment in retail financial services. While their due diligence process was underway, they sought additional due diligence on the ICT strategy. Our quick review addressed the viability and do-ability of the proposed ICT strategy; the reasonableness of the implementation plan over the next two to four years; and how the long-term vision for the business interacted with ICT plans. The review was used to build agreement among the consortium about their negotiation strategy with the vendor. National Church Institutions of the Church of England.
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Group Accountant Waste Europe 21 Because of growth and restructure, our client asked us to recruit a group accountant. The advertisement brought in a very high quality response, which we were able to reduce to a manageable shortlist. The client duly recruited one of the shortlist and was very satisfied with the result. Attwoods plc
Public Sector Expansion Feasibility Study Local Government UK & Ireland 262 We were asked by a local enterprise organisation, funded by local authorities and private businesses, to evaluate the feasibility of expanding the scope of services provided. We researched local needs, local, regional and national enterprise plans, and the availability of funding from local, national and European sources. We concluded that the anticipated additional services would not be appropriate to local needs, but helped identify other local activities to which the organisation could successfully contribute and for which additional funds were readily available. Trafford Business Venture
Civil Society IT Strategy Charity UK & Ireland 227 Our client is one of the largest international charities operating in the U.K. They had last conducted a review of their computing needs over 5 years ago. Major initiatives in several areas including marketing and management information indicated that a complete reassessment their current procedures and future requirements was appropriate. We prepared a medium term IT strategy. We developed a series of viable alternative courses of action assisted the client to choose the most appropriate option and developed a 3 year migration plan. The strategy showed that using the latest technology and techniques significant benefits such as quicker production of information, ability to handle more information, greater responsiveness to donors and a general simplification of procedures, could be obtained for no greater cost than the existing systems. Save the Children Fund
Civil Society Strategy Large Charity London 390 For this large multi-purpose national charity, we worked with the strategic planning and finance teams to examine several scenarios for the future of the charity. The purpose of the exercise was to examine possible portfolios of membership and service offerings. Our original intention was to undertake predictive, classification-based modelling on the analysis using PropheZy. However, the client's data at that time was insufficiently granular for PropheZy's machine learning approach, so we used Monte Carlo modelling instead, which proved very effective in helping to identify those offering portfolios that were optimal and those that were unlikely to be effective. This analysis was undertaken just before the arrival of a new Chief Executive; it proved very helpful to the client in helping to progress viable options for change early in the new Chief Executive's tenure. A heavily tailored and simplified version of this case study was published in Charity Finance magazine; the original text is available on the Z/Yen website: Royal National Institute of Blind People
Civil Society Option Appraisal Education Europe 172 For a further education college our team carried out an options appraisal for the relocation of a college. The option appraisal presented four options for the college including the status quo. All the options were supported by a full financial appraisal over 25 years. The financial appraisal was based on a model developed by the team, which was then approved by the funding authority. (Further Education Funding Council). The team project managed the production of all the necessary documentation including a strategic plan and various building and maintenance plans. Newbury College
Public Sector Project Management - Outsourcing & Procurement Local Government Europe 90 For one of the authorities piloting the compulsory competitive tendering of housing management we assisted in defining the split between the client and contractor roles and restructuring the housing department into separate client and business units. Our work involved reviewing the existing service delivery structure, defining which services needed to be retained in order to preserve existing standards of service delivery, developing models of service delivery and proposing an organisation structure which split the housing department into effective client and business units. Derby City Council
Public Sector Mentoring and Assistance with Programme Management Non Departmental Public Body UK 361 Our client was one of a group of four national regulatory bodies collaborating on the development of a new professional registration process. This was a complex international programme of work, needing to facilitate agreement among the independent national bodies. They asked us to provide mentoring to their programme management team, and specific assistance with the development of a quality management and benefits realisation plan. This involved gaining widespread agreement on the benefits to be delivered and processes to measure them. Having successfully facilitated this agreement, our client asked us for additional support in agreeing the system specifications, which were proving challenging. By working closely with all four bodies, as well as their system supplier we were able to agree the specification in time for the planned release. General Social Care Council
Commercial Systems Selection Retailer Europe 143 Our client is a major food retailer with an aggressive expansion plan, rarely expanding current property portfolio by 50 to 60 stores per annum. All property is managed by a combination of manual and in-house developed computer systems. We were asked to aid the company in selecting a property management system to interface with their current accounting and information systems. We produced a statement of the company's requirements which incorporated details of the interfaces needed their established accounting and information systems. Using this as a basis for a checklist, we attended demonstrations of the shortlisted suppliers and helped them decide on the chosen supplier. Kwiksave Group PLC
Commercial IT Strategy, Selection & Implementation Furniture Group UK & Ireland 244 We were originally commissioned by our client to review and report on the new computer aided design (CAD) service in use in their main subsidiary which wasn't working for them. After recommending that the CAD system be abandoned we identified that more effective use could be made of information technology in the areas of order processing, stock control, factory processing and later, accounts. We conducted a requirements analysis and an ITT procedure and recommended the installation of a computer in head office with a permanent communications link to the factory. The system provided speedier transmission of documents allowing stock levels to be reduced and directly improving profit. In a later project we advised on the choice of computer systems for 2 other subsidiaries and managed the implementation of these systems. Smallbone
Technology; Financial Services Training Course Government; Financial Services London 384 Mutual Distributed Ledgers (MDLs) have the potential to transform the way people and organisations handle identity, transaction, and debt information. Z/Yen's have delivered a series of crash courses on MDLs and BlockChains that provide a basic appreciation of the technologies that underpin MDLs; an understanding of the different types of MDLs and how they can be used; sight and use of live MDLs with business data and discussion of how the technology could be used for your business or industry. The course was developed for senior professionals from business, financial services, law, regulators and any other sector who want to "Get a big picture grip on the details". States of Alderney
Commercial Business Case Surveyors Europe 112 For a large department of a major practice of surveyors, we produced a report setting out a plan to achieve BS5750 registration. This included flowcharting the procedures presently in use and comparing these to the requirements of BS5750. We then identified the major issues to be addressed and the benefits, risks and timescales involved. We produced an outline of a Quality Management System and a detailed plan for the achievement of certification. Henry Butcher and Co
Civil Society System Development Membership Organisation London 389 For the Church of England, we developed a web-based and app-based Service Register module for the Parish Returns system, which we had developed for the Church in earlier years. This facility could prove hugely helpful to parishes throughout the country. It is being piloted in different ways and in depth, as its use as the primary register for the Church of England will require legislative change. The app is available to run under iOS or Android as well as web-based on the PC. Smart synchronization for the phone/tablet apps means that the user can make use of the facilities away from broadband connectivity and simply synchronize when connected again; ideal for remote parishes and crypts. This brings new meaning to the term "clever cryptography". Spin-offs have great potential and have already seen benefits to the Church. Some 12% of the 36000+ returns for the Everyone Counts survey were done using this pilot method, with very encouraging feedback from users. For the next major census/survey and henceforward, to quote the Church, "pen and paper will be a last resort". The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England
Commercial Business Case Market Research UK & Ireland 219 We were asked to prepare the Business Case for the client to install a Quality Management System which would satisfy the requirements of BS5750. Our work entailed a series of interviews, analysis, flowcharts and recommendations. The client has three main operating divisions, which were believed to operate in different ways. Our work proved that there was, in fact, a high degree of commonality and the operational core content would apply to all activities. The client accepted the report and asked us to move on to the implementation phase. Research International UK Ltd
Civil Society Administration Review Inns of Court Europe 142 For a leading set of Chambers in the Temple, we carried out a review of administration covering the services provided by the clerks. A new staffing structure was produced together with recommendations on roles and responsibilities, performance targets and quality of service. Draft job descriptions for the clerks were also produced. John Spokes Chambers / 3 Pump Court
Technology Research and Development (R&D) Strategy Methodology Improvement Defence UK 374 Working with a defence contractor, we helped a large Research and Development (R&D) organisation explore how to value and optimise its project portfolio. The work included providing significant expertise in economics, finance, and scientific project delivery. We prepared and led seminars in subjects such as real options analysis (aka risk/reward option theory), portfolio optimisation, and Monte Carlo modelling. A particular difficulty, where we made some advance, was moving towards a richer appreciation of the components of value, and moving away from overly-restrictive historic cost accounting. The end result was a significant improvement in their portfolio management methodology. DSTL In association with Polaris
Commercial IT Strategic Review Storage & Distribution Group UK 104 Our client is a major UK firm, with a turnover in excess of £30M, involved in the storage, distribution and transport industries. They are a part of a worldwide group involved in these activities. The UK management asked us to conduct an independent review of their IT Strategy which would be considered as an input (alongside one from their own DP department) to their business planning process. We conducted the review and produced a costed, prioritised 5 year IT development plan. The project led in turn to us conducting a review of worldwide IT strategy, the specification of a real-time sales order processing system and the requirements definition and ITT procedure for a transport control system. Frigoscandia
Commercial Datacentre Effectiveness Review Agrochemicals UK & Ireland 231 We were asked by a leading agrochemicals manufacturer to conduct a review of the operations of its three datacentres located within the UK. The datacentres support the company's product development and manufacturing and sales operations. The scope of the study included the effectiveness of organisation structure, technical environment, performance and capacity, problem and change management, operations and security management, contingency and service levels and resource charging. Having completed this study the client requested us to assist in evaluating options for rationalising datacentre operations to a single site. All our recommendations were accepted by the main board, which based its decision to amalgamate operations on the results of our review. Schering Agrochemicals Limited
Civil Society IT Strategy Review Trust UK & Ireland 280 We were commissioned by our client to prepare a strategy for the future of computers and office automation within the Trust for the next 3 to 5 years. The Trust was using a batch based bureau system for grants administration and suffering from long turnaround times which made projects difficult to control because information was always out of date. We conducted a study of the viable options and recommended the introduction of an in-house small mainframe computer and the rationalisation of microcomputer equipment and software. We then conducted an ITT procedure, chose a system for installation and assisted the Trust in recruiting an Information Systems Manager to oversee the progressive introduction of the applications identified in the strategy study. The Wellcome Trust
Commercial Questionnaire & Conference Publishing UK & Ireland 194 Our client, a major UK publisher, asked us to assist them with a study for a conference focusing on the management of change and corporate culture in their organisation. We circulated a corporate culture questionnaire to a sample of 40 staff in their administration and distribution divisions. Following the survey, we presented our findings at the clients annual conference and helped to run syndicate group workshops on current major projects. The client wrote that 'by common consent this was the most successful of [our] conferences so far'. Further, the study on change has helped senior management to assess key issues when planning future major products. Oxford University Press
Public Sector Financial Systems Selection Utilities UK & Ireland 249 For a major electricity Board we assisted with the selection of new financial computer systems to support the Board's moves towards privatisation. Existing financial systems were unable to meet the reporting requirements and deadlines for privatisation and so appropriate commercially available software was sought to meet the timescales. We helped the Board to develop a statement of user requirements for the application areas required. An invitation to tender procedure and the selection criteria to evaluate the package options were developed. We subsequently, helped the Board to evaluate and select the best option and then to prepare the business case for proceeding with an implementation project. Southern Electricity Board
Commercial Transfer Pricing Review Manufacturing Europe 84 For one of the country's largest manufacturers of calf milk replacers and protected fat products we reviewed the transfer pricing arrangements between the manufacturing and marketing organisations. During our review we identified a number of weaknesses in the existing procedures. Our recommendations centred on a fundamental change in management reporting which removed the need for complex transfer pricing arrangements. Our final report included a proforma management reporting pack which reflected the new organisation structure. Our recommendations have been accepted and implemented by the client. Dailybold Ltd
Commercial Voice Mail Project Management and Implementation Professional Services Europe 38 Having selected a system and negotiated a significant price reduction for our client, we managed the system integration. This included: project planning, coordination of the voice mail system installation and integration with the PABX, system configuration, set up of the user training programme, and assisting the supplier with user training. Since the initial implementation we have kept up a programme of continual improvements and release of advanced features. BDO Binder Hamlyn
Commercial Cost Reduction Implementation Television Company Europe 16 For a UK television company who owns one of the ITV franchises we have provided project management assistance to the client's project team. Our work has involved directing the team in specification of a number of new systems such as purchase order management, payroll, artiste payments and MIS. We have assisted in the process of preparing invitations to tender, selecting tender list of vendors and final system selection. In addition we have undertaken data gathering interviews and trained and educated staff to appreciate the future systems direction of the company. Anglia Television Group plc
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Group Accountant Engineering Worldwide 24 Our client, a large international PLC sought our advice on certain human resource issues at head office, including succession planning. As a result of our recommendations we were retained to identify a suitably qualified individual for a high-profile role in the head-office team. We advertised the position and an appointment was made. Babcock International Group plc
Civil Society IT Systems Selection Charity UK 358 Our client was a large trade benevolent fund which, unusually, operated its own Payroll Giving Agency. The Agency was being operated using an ageing bespoke system, which was hard to support and which didn't integrate with the charity’s other fundraising tools. We worked with them to review processes and specify requirements, after which we managed a selection process and agreed the choice of a new supplier. As part of our work the charity was able to review and update their processes as well as identify and correct data quality issues. BEN - Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Internal Audit Manufacturing Europe 119 We were asked to assist in the identification of a young, aggressive, recently qualified ACA. We briefed a number of agencies and screened the candidates. We put forward a shortlist from which a candidate was selected. Hillsdown Holdings
Commercial Computer Systems Selection Retail Group UK & Ireland 291 We were commissioned by our client to select a suitable computer system for several small head office applications. The confidentiality of some of the data is so great that security was a primary concern in this case. The client would not introduce automation unless satisfied that the data was to be protected. We considered various options with our client, eventually settling for a local area network holding all the data on a removable hard disk on the file server. The sensitive data can be stored in a fireproof safe during non-working hours. The client has asked us to assist them with the implementation of the chosen systems. Westend Client
Commercial IT Strategy and Implementation Assistance Construction Europe 30 This is a very diverse group of companies with some in contracting and some in house building. We have advised several of the companies who were all at different stages of the IT development cycle. In each case our assistance covers the whole spectrum of the business from a systems viewpoint, beginning with estimating through to job costing, contractors ledger, sub-contractors ledger, purchase ledger, general ledger and management information. We advised two of the house-building companies on their IT strategy and with 6 of the contracting companies we have provided project management for the implementation of the group's chosen hardware and software system. Our experience was instrumental, in this case, in ensuring that the system became operational for all 6 companies within a six month period. Bestwood Group
Commercial Business Review Computer Distributor Europe 131 For this fast expanding computer distribution company, we undertook a high level business review. In consultation with the Directors and senior management we analysed options and made recommendations for strategic change and assessed the business' compliance with best practice. The main benefit that the client received was to build consensus and commitment among senior management regarding the direction the business was going in a fast changing industry. Ideal Hardware
Public Sector Review of Housing Benefit Services Local Government UK & Ireland 265 We undertook a review of Housing Benefit in four local authorities. The aim of the review was to assess performance and to make recommendations to improve the cost effectiveness and quality of service. Our review resulted in cost savings ranging from 2% to 20% in each authority. The savings were achieved in a difficult environment where a delicate balance needed to be struck between cost effectiveness and quality of service. Various Local Authorities
Commercial Voice Mail Professional Services Europe 40 We produced user requirements, researched the market and evaluated the PC based voice mail systems from several suppliers. We held negotiations with the suppliers before arranging an extended trial of an advanced system with speech recognition. The system was a great success with the number of users quickly increasing from 20 to 60. BDO Binder Hamlyn
Commercial Support for Customer Management Operation Broadcasting Europe 55 We were invited to provide consultancy support for the customer management operation of a major UK broadcasting company. The customer service centre was designed to handle at least 2 million subscribers using over 1,200 workstations connected to 12 large interlinked mainframes. The project was noted for its pressing timescales and client resource commitment difficulties. Our role was to:
  • ensure that a working project library was set up and ensure strict version control over all systems documentation;
  • co-ordinate the production of the systems documentation to ensure that it adhered to industry standards;
  • set up a project management information centre to coordinate the various systems;
  • assist the company in developing a disaster recovery and contingency plan;
We were also instrumental in the preparation of a major presentation by the customer service centre to the broadcasting company outlining the functions and systems that were to be provided once the systems were running live.
British Satellite Systems
Commercial Cost Reduction Study Television Company Europe 15 For a regional television company preparing for submission of its franchise bid, we conducted a detailed overhead cost reduction study. The study investigated the costs incurred by overhead or central departments (accounting, personnel, administration, site services and office services) and recommended options for reducing costs. The work included detailed interviews with managers and supervisors, investigating opportunities for using outside contractors, and streamlining workflows to reduce inefficiencies. The study identified cost reductions of approximately 20% per annum. An implementation plan was developed to identify the resources, timescales and investments in new systems required to achieve the cost reductions identified. The study assisted the television company's management to define its future cost base to be included within its franchise bid. Anglia Television Group plc
Commercial Property Systems Selection Property Company UK & Ireland 308 Our client is a local property investment and estate agency group. A decision had been made that the management department's computer system had reached the end of its useful life and significant efficiency improvements could be made by replacing it. We defined in outline the departments management and accounting requirements, researched the market and prepared an Invitation to Tender which was sent to selected suppliers. We then evaluated the responses, suggested a shortlist and set up and attended demonstrations of the systems before producing a final report. Our final report detailed our conclusions and recommendations together with a suggested plan to implement any system selected. Wrather & Company
Commercial Systems Review Property Company UK & Ireland 204 For a large quoted property company who had just taken over a company with property interests, we reviewed both the existing and the newly acquired property management systems and their interfaced accounting systems. We identified the different options for our client against the background of current hardware and software developments. Considering the risks involved with continuing to use the existing hardware and the technology available in the market we recommended our client to select a new property management system with integrated accounting system, running on new hardware. The client accepted our recommendations and requested we provide additional support during the selection and implementation of a new integrated system. Peel Holdings Plc
Commercial Stock Control Review Logistics Europe 236 Our client was an investment company. Within their portfolio was an international distributor of industrial fasteners. We were asked to investigate a reported stock discrepancy at their continental European hub. We analysed all business areas in the logistics chain to substantiate the discrepancy, which turned out to be due to a combination of poor internal controls, poor staff management and overly complex stock adjustment, rework and valuation calculations. We produced a detailed forensic analysis along with a plan of remedial actions. We executed the immediate actions ourselves, including replacement of the stock control system and staff disciplinary processes, within weeks. SEP Industrial Holdings PLC
Commercial Implementation Planning Energy UK & Ireland 206 Following its recent privatisation we were requested by our client to provide expert assistance developing an implementation plan for new financial systems in five of the company's largest power stations. The plans estimated the effort and costs likely to be incurred during the development, testing, training, conversion and parallel running. The plan was then consolidated with the software suppliers plans to provide an overall project plan and cost estimate. The plan was then used to support contractual negotiations with the software supplier. Powergen
Commercial Review of Cost Systems Printing Europe 126 For a major printing company we assisted our client to define a new approach to product costing. This approach established a framework for treating costs which were unit based, batch based, product line based and facilities based. Hunterprint
Commercial Interactive Voice Response Systems Selection Telecommunications Europe 135 Our client, an entrepreneurial venture in interactive voice response telecommunications, asked us to help them to find suitable systems to support their services. We conducted research into this fast changing market in both Europe and America and produced a request for information (RFI). We also circulated the RFI to potential suppliers identified by our research. Our work helped our client to understand the supplier market for their venture, enabling the client to make a well informed selection decision. Interactive Telephone Services
Commercial Selection of Head Office Accounting System Engineering Worldwide 22 For a large quoted engineering group, we investigated and specified the accounting requirements for the Head Office, evaluated the extent to which 24 packages met the requirements for the Head Office and shortlisted two which were reviewed in detail. The client required the consolidation of several companies and the ability to account in twenty currencies. The project included the design of a new account structure and the defining of analysis codes. Babcock International Group plc
Civil Society SpecialiZm - Contract Negotiator Membership Organisation UK & Ireland 355 Our client had outsourced a large call-centre operation handling millions of calls. Following a value-for-money review by Z/Yen, a number of changes were recommended. One major change was to renegotiate the contract with the supplier. Z/Yen provided a Contract Negotiator who worked with the client and the supplier to establish an improved, more professional working relationship. Our expert provided a contract template, model service level agreements, an initial key performance measures reporting package and service quality questionnaires. In a tricky environment, he negotiated a more professional relationship without disturbing some of the successful, if accidental, good practices which had evolved. UNISON
Civil Society Systems Planning Trades Union UK & Ireland 329 For one of the largest trades unions in the UK, Z/Yen reviewed all its IT infrastructure operations and service delivery. The conclusion was that the union would benefit from the strategic use of externally sourced infrastrcuture and skills. Z/Yen was retained to plan and project manage the change, which included documenting requirements, managing the main tendering process, contract negotiations and helping with the TUPE process. This required considerable sensitivity and people management skills in a trades union environment. The quality of service improved rapidly; not only better user-facing support services but also a more stable, secure, robust and resilient IT infrastructure. These huge improvements were delivered for minimal additional cost. UNISON
Commercial Industry Review Direct Marketing Services Europe 187 For a major marketing consultancy we were commissioned to produce a briefing paper to enable their creative staff to prepare a campaign for innovative and business orientated view of the parcels industry. Our report examined the market structure, major trends, analysed the competition and examined the decision making process behind companies selection of parcel carrier. This report was used as the basis of advertising copy for the relaunch and has also provided input into the parcel firm's strategic planning process. Ogilvy & Mather Direct
Commercial Telephone and Voice Communication Systems Review Computer Distributor Europe 132 Our client, a fast growing telephone sales computer distributor, invited us to review their telephone and voice communications systems. We identified the problems for technological change, evaluated those options and produced a prioritised list of recommendations. The main benefits to the client were the clarification of the issues and prioritisation of the required actions. Ideal Hardware
Civil Society Governance and Futures Survey International Association Worldwide 137 For an international water pollution association we conducted an attitude survey amongst the members to determine the future of the association. Our report was used to identify the services valued by the members and allowed the executives to decide on priorities. Recommendations were made to improve the image of the association and its governance. International Association of Water Pollution Research and Control
Commercial Business Requirements Specification Tyre and Exhaust Fitting Specialist Europe 20 Following a review that we carried out for a major tyre and exhaust fitting specialist we were asked to undertake the selection of a new computer system using a more rigorous approach than was employed before. We were responsible for producing a detailed business requirements specification and for selecting suppliers to be invited to tender for the development of a major bespoke system. The end result was a specification for over fifteen networked minicomputers running a national integrated retail, distribution, stock control, financial and management reporting system. The main benefit to our client was that we provided them with a controlled approach to systems selection. Associated Tyre Specialists
Financial Services Treasury Management Information Banking UK & Ireland 250 For our client, a large international commercial bank, we provided a system to produce monthly 'per transaction' cost and operating information. We helped our client to determine the most relevant information, designed information packs of tables and graphs and wrote an application using 'Monarch' and 'Lotus' software to automatically produce the monthly information packs from information held on other systems within the bank. Standard Chartered Bank
Financial Services IT Review Insurance Europe 171 Our client, a leading UK maritime insurance specialist had all but outgrown its computer systems and was suffering from systems that were struggling to keep pace with the company's development and proliferation of PC based systems which had evolved to address limitations but led to problems in relation to system integration. The main computer was at the top of the manufacturer's range and the way forward was unclear. We identified clearly the company's information system needs and the core systems which had to be safeguarded. We established IS/IT policies for the client and identified a development path which addressed urgent capacity problems, safeguarded significant investment in bespoke systems and offered access to newer enquiry/reporting systems and better software development technology. NEPIA
Public Sector Feasibility Study Government Department Europe 161 We carried out a feasibility study into the privatisation of the Covent Garden fruit, vegetable and flower market, to assess the likely proceeds from a number of options for privatisation. The work involved assessing the prospects for the market and, in conjunction with Fletcher King, the net worth of the property under each option. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Public Sector Review of Read Codes Health Europe 173 For the NHS Management Executive we reviewed the commercial arrangements for the distribution of Read Codes in the NHS. We reviewed the financial viability of the distribution company. We assessed whether the commercial arrangements were fair to both the NHS and the company. We recommended changes to the reporting arrangements to enable the NHSME to satisfy itself that the arrangements continued to operate fairly. NHS Management Executive
Civil Society Effectiveness Review Not-For-Profit Europe 8 For this major international charity, we were invited to conduct an effectiveness review of the Finance Department (including general administration and computer services). We worked closely with the charity staff and used comparative data from other similar voluntary sector organisations in order to produce a set of practical recommendations for improvement. The client implemented our suggestions which led to a rapid increase in the efficiency and cost effectiveness of administrative processes. The project also led to improved financial management, in particular in the management of working capital and liquid funds. Amnesty International British Section
Commercial Consolidation Package Selection Property Company UK & Ireland 201 Our client is an international property development and investment group. We were asked to assist in the selection of a financial consolidation package. We researched the marketplace, determined the client requirements of such a package, produced an Invitation to Tender which was sent to selected suppliers and attended demonstrations of potentially suitable packages. We then produced a report detailing our findings and recommendations, including a suggested course of action. Peel Holdings Plc
Public - Health Information and Informatics Strategy NHS Foundation Trust London 392 Following on from our information technology and information systems strategy work with this specialist hospital, we were asked to review aspects of clinical information and health informatics. This study extended to research information as well as information informing and emanating from clinical practice. The review identified information gaps and highlighted weaknesses in clinical information systems and processes for gathering the relevant information. While many of the benefits of the review will be long-term, the hospital trust did benefit from some "quick wins", in particular process changes that enable clinicians better to assess clinical risk and identify appropriate clinical pathways for many patients. Moorfields Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Commercial IT Strategy Water Industry Europe 109 Our client is an independent water company, established for over 140 years, supplying 10 million gallons of water per day to 92000 consumers. The company have used computer systems to control the business financially and technically over a period of 15 years. The company needed to prepare an Asset Management Plan to cover their expenditure for the next twenty years which would include detailed IT expenditure. The company saw this as an opportunity to conduct a high level strategic review of the current systems and to plan an outline for the future. We were asked to help the company develop the IT framework which reflected their needs, size and resources. This was achieved through a series of interviews and a one day management workshop discussing issues, requirements and priorities. The results were documented and now form the basis of their IT policy. Hartlepools Water Company
Commercial Banking & Accounting Systems Requirements Specification Retailer UK & Ireland 282 Our client, a major High Street retail group, provides banking and accounting services to various entities within the organisation through several of its head-office departments. We were commissioned to help these departments to develop a requirements specification for banking and accounting systems. We looked at the functions and procedures of these departments in detail. Working closely with staff, we produced a document which could be used as the basis of an Invitation to Tender (ITT). We also identified potential suppliers that could be invited to respond to the ITT. Our independent and objective involvement ensured that a consensus was achieved on the set of requirements among the various departments. It also enabled a clear and comprehensive systems specification to be developed, which provided a sound basis for systems selection. The client commissioned us to continue working with the staff to help them through the systems selection process. Westend Client
Public Sector Review of Client's Quality Manuals Government Agency Europe 65 We were asked to provide a one day review of the client's draft Quality Management System, with a view to assessing its suitability as the basis of a BS 5750 registered system. Our comments were accepted and led to an assignment to rewrite the manuals. Central Office of Information
Commercial Review of Job Control Procedures Chartered Surveyors Europe 85 For this major UK firm of Chartered Surveyors we carried out a review of current procedures for job control and the monitoring of client relationships. We interviewed key directors in all major divisions and departments, and sent a questionnaire to all directors nationwide. We proposed ways of improving client management and job control by assigning specific client responsibilities to individual directors, a more disciplined approach to procedures and administration. Debenham Tewson & Chinnocks
Commercial Financial Systems Utilities Europe 179 For a large electricity board based in the North West we prepared a strategy for the development of financial systems over the next 2-3 years. The work took full account of the requirements of the different business streams (supply, distribution, retailing and contracting) as well as internal service departments. The needs of managers at all levels were considered. A final strategy was prepared and an action plan was presented to the board and approved for implementation. North Western Electricity Board
Commercial Development of Specification and System for Contractor Control Transport Europe 102 For Eurotunnel SA, we developed the specification and system for contractor control. The objective of the system was a project management package which would allow Eurotunnel to identify the current position of their sub-contracted projects. At a detailed level, this involved handling and storing requirements specifications, contractual negotiation documents, purchase orders, progress reports, site reports, change control, invoicing and claims. The system provided management with reports which allowed them to understand and control the overall project. The reports included PERT charts, status reports, estimates to complete and financial accountability. Eurotunnel SA
Commercial Operational Review Manufacturer of Communications Equipment Europe 2 For a manufacturer of communications equipment we carried out an operational review of the company's supply chain. Our review incorporated activities involved in servicing customer demand from distribution back to the procurement process. We analysed the existing measures of performance and recommended a programme of activities that would provide the company with improved control. ACD Ringlan
Civil Society SpecialiZm - Programme Managers Membership Organisation UK 349 A large client was failing to deliver financial, IT, marketing and change management projects. Projects were very late, substantially over budget and not satisfying their target users. Following a review, Z/Yen recommended the formation of a formal Project Support Office (PSO) headed by a Programme Manager. In discussion with the client, Z/Yen also recommended the use of interim skills to get the PSO up and running. Z/Yen’s first Programme Manager worked over six months to set out the PSO’s policies, procedures, methodology, reporting, staffing and training. He drew on his extensive formal project management and business process development skills, e.g. PRINCE. As the post was new and the requirements changing, the client wanted to use a second, transformational, interim Programme Manager before seeking a full-time person. Z/Yen’s second Programme Manager succeeded in transforming the client’s culture from operationally-based to project-based over the following 12 months. With a successful PSO running well, and a much better idea of the personality requirements, the client was able to specify the requirement for a full-time person more accurately and show good candidates the appeal of the position. UNISON
Financial Services Outline Requirements Specification Re-insurance Broker UK & Ireland 267 Our client was a leading London market reinsurance broking firm. They were using manual systems to support the business except for word processing. We conducted an initial review of the existing systems and produced a report outlining the systems requirements for policy administration, claims processing, accounting and management information. We also produced an overall plan for the development and implementation of a new system. This was accepted and led to a further phase of work, the Functional Requirements Specification. Walsham Brothers & Company Limited
Financial Services Procedures Manual Preparation Brokerage UK & Ireland 212 We were asked to document trading procedures by a major international commodities brokerage. The work involved documenting workflows by use of flowcharts, and discussing the charts with front and back office staff. Once the charts were agreed we documented the procedures in a comprehensive manual which was submitted to a number of the City Regulatory Authorities for review and approval. The manual has now been adopted by our client to evidence their compliance with the rules laid down by the Securities and Futures Association. Refco
Commercial Voice Mail Specification Professional Services Europe 36 Following on from a feasibility study our client asked us to specify a voice mail system. The assignment began with a detailed assessment of user requirements based upon the technical environment of the new offices and interviews with potential users. We then wrote a detailed invitation to tender (ITT) with sections specifying functional requirements, hardware and systems operating environment, implementation support, hardware and software maintenance and support, system security, supplier company and user base, and finance and terms and conditions. To conclude the specification assignment we performed a comprehensive survey of the products available in the UK from which we identified eight possible suppliers. ITTs were sent to these eight suppliers. BDO Binder Hamlyn
Civil Society Research Charity UK 363 Our client was a charitable foundation focussed on improving standards in the banking industry. We were asked to gather data for their latest report which ranks financial institutions on how well their products serve customers. We provided guidance on the development of questionnaires for five key banking products. We hosted the online site for the questionnaires and invited 55 banking institutions to participate in the survey. We conducted a comprehensive programme of contact and follow-up which resulted in an overall response rate of 58%, which included 5 of the top 6 banks. The charity’s report was released in November 2013 and attracted significant media and industry attention. The Fairbanking Foundation
Commercial Computer Systems Contract Negotiations Sports Club London 210 For this prestigious sports club, we were asked to help negotiate a contract for computer hardware, software and services. Our work helped to clarify the scope of work, price and timescales involved. In the event, the client chose not to proceed with the contract. The Queen's Club
Public Sector Review of Financial Management Borough Council Europe 63 Following the discovery during the external audit of some deficiencies in financial management at a medium sized district council, we were selected to undertake a review of financial management. The team looked at budgeting and at all of the units within the finance department, including IT. A series of recommendations were made in our recommendations, which include the appointment of an interim Director of Finance, are now in the process of being implemented. Castle Point Borough Council
Commercial Review of Controls and Procedures Television Company Europe 56 For this major television company, we assessed the effectiveness and adequacy of controls and procedures for handling subscription revenue. The review covered most departments of the television company and several other organisations involved with our client's revenue system. We analysed the issues involved by assessing the risk of loss (severity and likelihood) and evaluated possible actions (impact and ease of implementation). By presenting our findings in this way, our client was able of prioritise the implementation of our recommendations. The project sponsors commented that the review was very thorough in the time available and had clarified the issues for them in this complex area of their work. British Sky Broadcasting
Public Sector SpecialiZm - Commercial Director Technology Research & Development UK 343 For this extremely large international technology organisation, Z/Yen provided a Commercial Director responsible for sales and marketing to a large commercial sector. The products and services were complex, the corporation large and bureaucratic. Clients found that dealing with one sector of the corporation did not mean they were supported by other sectors. Our expert created a pan-corporate project management unit to focus on solving client problems while integrating sectoral delivery. Sales to the commercial sector rocketed by 400% over 18 months. DERA
Civil Society IT Strategy and Selection Charity UK & Ireland 223 Following their decision to reevaluate their computing systems our client commissioned us to conduct an IT strategy review. This is a very large nationwide charity with an income in excess of £10M per year. We conducted a review of all operational systems including accounting, membership, information storage and retrieval, office automation, order processing and purchasing. We then produced a 5 year system strategy and carried out a system selection exercise for the chosen option. Two small mainframe computers were installed covering all the areas reviewed. One of the most important benefits achieved was the replacement of large, inaccessible paper files of field officers reports by an information retrieval system allowing immediate access and statistical collation of data. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Civil Society ICT Strategy Charity UK 362 Our client was a large UK charity offering support and advice to those with a range of mental illnesses. They asked us to help them develop a convincing and deliverable ICT strategy that addressed not only technical solutions but also management information systems and the integration of information. We consulted widely throughout the organisation to build a consensus about the approach to, use of and ownership of information. The strategy we agreed included a costed action plan and route map. This allowed them to bring together their many sources of information in a phased approach that would make sense for all parts of the organisation and could be delivered within their resource constraints. Rethink
Commercial Human Resources Electrical Assembly UK & Ireland 222 This company had expanded considerably in the eight years or so since it was founded. The management structure had not however grown with it and there was a lack of management training, especially in the area of financial understanding. Through the project we identified the company's aims for the next three years, recommended an appropriate organisation structure for the aims, identified immediate training needs for managers and supervisors and met those needs through a series of internal courses, including a residential weekend. We also provided human resources help to the Chairman of the company. The project was part funded by ELTEC under the Business Growth Training Scheme, Option 3. Richard Millington & Co Ltd
Civil Society Operational Review Training and Enterprise Council Europe 188 In this assignment we looked at the structure and reporting relationships of the TEC, and their effectiveness in allowing the TEC to fulfil its business plan. We also reviewed the roles and responsibilities not only of the Chief Executive and his managers but also the Chairman, Board members and committee chairman. The effectiveness of financial reporting systems was also examined. Oldham TEC
Civil Society Accounting Systems Selection Trust UK & Ireland 281 Our client is a major trust making grants for scientific research. The trust wanted to replace their existing accounting package with a product that could meet their increasing management information requirements and link with their grants administration system. We were asked to help them to specify their accounting requirements and to evaluate suitable accounting systems. The client commissioned us to continue to work with them on the package selection and to undertake negotiations with the chosen supplier. The Wellcome Trust
Commercial IT Strategy Distribution Company Europe 141 Our client's sales were increasing at over 40% per annum and their existing computer system used for accounting, stock and equipment tracking was rapidly running out of both storage and power. Consequently, we were asked to identify and evaluate the possible options for the future. We analysed the business requirements and produced a series of costed options that would satisfy those business needs. We recommended a policy of phased replacement over a period of 12 months. We then assisted our client to identify potentially suitable system suppliers and helped to conduct contract negotiations. Interscan Communication Systems Limited
Commercial Automation Strategy Communications Europe 91 Our client had recently embarked upon a major computerisation exercise with a specialist computer bureau. However, this system did not address their internal nor external communications needs nor the manipulation of their prime business product, namely, words on paper. The client asked us to consider these needs and to produce a strategy to cover the next 3 years. We conducted the study, considering such things as; word processing, electronic mail, connection to external databases, fax, telex, external transfers of reports, appraisal of alternative hardware and software options, future communications trends and finally the production of a recommended approach. We then assisted our client in the selection and installation of a large personal computer network which included over 10 external links available to each node of the network. Dewe Rogerson
Public Sector Seminars on Costing Government Department Europe 88 For the NHS Management Executive of the Department of Health we organised two workshops to identify the methods used to cost a group of complex clinical services, including heart and liver transplants. We identified the costing principles used for comparison with current practice. The result was a costing manual setting out detailed procedures to follow to improve the accuracy and consistency of the costing methods used. The manual was issued to 30 NHS hospitals. Department of Health
Commercial Document Standards Training Professional Services Europe 33 For this leading professional services firm, we worked with Senior management to develop a foundation course for the firm's BS 5750 implementation. Following a successful pilot of the course we organised and delivered the course to the 400 plus client staff at 15 different client locations. BDO Binder Hamlyn
Financial Services IT Strategy and Project Management Financial Services Group Europe 149 We were asked by our client to examine a proposal from their existing computer systems supplier which appeared to them to be very expensive. The client is a major financial services company located in London, the Midlands and Scotland. We examined the proposal and concluded that a complete review of IT strategy was needed. We conducted the review, recommended a course of action and worked with the supplier to obtain a suitable proposal for our client. Following this, we assisted with project planning and monitored the progress of the development of a new system based on networked DEC VAX computers. The system was an integrated real-time development that enabled our client immediate access to their own client's dealings that were up to date on a minute by minute basis. Lewis Group
Commercial Business Plan Regional Tourist Board Europe 184 Our client, a regional tourist board, was keen to introduce a participative review of its activities in order to establish a business plan to address the prospect of reduced levels of income from traditional sources. We defined a planning process which contained two management workshops bridged by a period analysis and preparation conducted by individual managers with our support. We acted as facilitators at the workshops ensuring that the client identified the corporate purposes and key objectives. Each department then reviewed its current activities and dropped any that did not contribute to the achievement of the 'corporate' objectives. As a result, we helped the management team develop a clearer understanding of the Board's activities, why they are important, and the resources required to undertake them. The client went on to prepare better information and a clear business plan which was well received by the main board and its many members. North West Tourist Board
Commercial Systems Selection Energy UK & Ireland 205 We were asked by our client, a major specialist publishing house producing over 1200 maps per year, to assist in the selection of a new Geographic Information System. This involved surveying the market to identify potentially suitable systems, interviewing a number of users and reviewing internal and external documents. We produced a report which recommended two systems likely to meet requirements. We also prepared a detailed implementation plan which identified the tasks, sequences, and resources required to implement the system in an efficient manner. Petroconsultants
Commercial Implementation Assistance and MIS Strategy Construction Europe 117 Our client is a construction group specialising in high quality house construction and commercial developments. We were asked by our client to provide the project management for the implementation of a suite of software for the construction industry to handle job costing, sub-contractor ledger, purchase ledger, general ledger, payroll and management information. We also produced, for the group, an MIS Strategy for the next five years to cover the implementation of construction systems, estimating, bill of quantity preparation, word processing and office automation products. The benefits to the group were twofold. Firstly the suite of construction software was implemented on time and to budget, and secondly the group had a clear MIS strategy that it could use to provide improved management information in a co-ordinated and structured manner. The Highcross Group
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - ICT Entrepreneur Retailer UK & Ireland 274 We were retained to recruit a bright young ICT professional to assist in the business' expansion within the UK. We advertised the position and interviewed a large number of candidates. A shortlist of four was presented and an appointment was made. Warner Bros Studio Stores
Public Sector Central Accounting System Operating Manual Government Department Europe 92 Following a review that we carried out on the budgetary control system we were invited by the Department of Social Security to develop an operating manual for the Central Accounting System. The manual documented the account structure and the controls and procedures currently in use. The manual also provided some new procedures that could be adopted if required by the National Audit Office. The benefits to the DSS were that, for the first time, all of the accounting systems documentation was in one place. It was produced in an easy-to-read format that could be readily updated as the systems developed. Department of Social Security
Commercial Replacement Accounting Systems IT Software Europe 111 For the UK branch of a leading international supplier of computer communications software and equipment, we conducted a review of existing operational and accounting systems. Our client had, at the time of our review, a variety of existing UK based systems with manual interfaces to centralised operational and accounting systems in the USA. The USA head office was also undertaking a project to develop a centralised system capable of supporting both head office and local branch requirements (eg European and VAT requirements). The client's main difficulties were identified to be a lack of sales information for managers and sales staff, poor controls resulting from the use of multiple manual systems, and difficulties processing sales orders as turnover increased. The review of current UK branch operations, and the status of the head office project led us to recommend that an interim PC network packaged solution be rapidly implemented over a period of two months prior to the implementation of the centralised head office system. This recommendation was accepted by UK branch management. Following this work, we went on to assist head office staff to understand local European requirements. Hayes Microcomputer Products Inc
Scientific Research & Development - Nanomaterials Merger & Acquisition Manufacturing and Science UK 376 Our client had a plasma torch manufacturing facility seeking a new home. They anticipated a sale to a traditional steel company. We identified its unique strength in metal nanopowders and suggested a sale into a scientific organisation. We introduced the client to a larger research & development and completed the transaction, founding a new joint centre for nanomaterials. Tetronic and QinetiQ
Public Sector Review of Directorate, Information Systems and Technology Transport Europe 53 We were commissioned by the British Railways Board (BR) to review the divestment opportunities of the Directorate, Information Systems and Technology (DIST), following a government directive to consider the potential of all BR functions not directly related to running the railway. We conducted a review of DIST and DIST's relationship with the sectors (InterCity, Network South East and Freight) and functions within BR. DIST is in a unique market, being the only provider of railway computer systems in the UK, which meant that it was enmeshed in the other functions of BR. Any decisions to divest had reunited BR. We produced a report on the options available to BR. The report recommended that DIST move from a cost centre basis to a profit centre basis so that its value to the BR business could be more easily ascertained. BR also needed to develop a competitive framework so that DIST could be compared to third parties. We followed the report with presentations to the BR Board and other executives within BR. The recommendations were accepted and DIST now competes for British Rail work with other suppliers of IT services. British Rail
Commercial IT Strategic Review Manufacturing Europe 99 Our client is a specialist manufacturer primarily involved in Ministry of Defence subcontract work. Having undertaken a major restructuring, the company invited us to carry out a full review of costing systems and measure the implications of our recommendations on existing IT facilities. This incorporated a full strategic review of the potential use of information technology within the company, with particular reference to the costing,manufacturing and accounting areas. As an MOD subcontractor the company must employ procedures to ensure batch traceability and so this was an important factor when defining the application systems. We then produced a full Invitation to Tender and assisted the company to chose new systems which would support their business objectives. EPS Logistics Technology
Public Sector Logistics Review Health Europe 145 For a large regional ambulance service we analysed data from the computerised emergency call control system. Our analysis established demand profiles covering half hour intervals for each day of the year. The profiles were set for sub-divisions and areas. This data was used to relate to resource pools, ambulances and crews, as area depots to provide a framework to determine optimum resource levels to meet statutory response times. London Ambulance Service
Commercial Requirements Specification Retail Group UK & Ireland 292 Following their decision to computerise the administration of corporate giving, our client asked us to prepare a user requirements specification document. We looked at the functions and procedures of the department in detail. Working closely with the senior staff in the department, we produced a document which could be used as the basis of an Invitation to Tender (ITT). We identified software houses with the relevant expertise and experience for this project. We also monitored the ITT process for our client. The client commissioned us to continue to work with them on the evaluation of tenders and the selection of a suitable supplier. Westend Client (Charities Department)
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Financial Controller (Director Designate) Leisure Europe 103 Our client was a newly formed leisure company with a turnover of some £5m. We were retained to find a young Financial Controller (Director Designate) with sector knowledge and demonstrable commitment and enthusiasm. We were able to identify a shortlist of three suitable individuals very quickly and, following complex negotiations, the successful candidate was able to join the Company within a few weeks. First Continental
Commercial IT Strategy Review Security UK & Ireland 218 Our client is a leading UK Security Services company, providing on-site security for over 1000 clients, using in excess of 3,500 security officers, based from over 20 regional offices. The company found itself at a cross-roads in the use of IT. Many applications had been developed over a period of 5 to 7 years, but on a piece-meal, without an understanding of the final target IT infrastructure. We helped the company define its revised High Level IT Strategy for the future. The study was based on a rapid review of current applications, in-depth director and senior management interviews and visits to operational centres through out the UK. The strategy defined the core systems towards which the company will move over the next 3 years. Reliance Security Services Limited
Commercial Business Plan Marketing Consultancy UK & Ireland 207 For an innovative marketing consultancy and training firm we were commissioned to assist in the production of a business plan for a new direct marketing product. Our brief encompassed project management of the production process, development of a sophisticated financial planning model and acting as a 'sounding board' on many commercial issues such as pricing, competitor analysis and demand forecasting. Our involvement ensured that the business plan was produced on time and addressed the key issues facing the project. The Programmes Network
Commercial Task Force Investigation Television Company Europe 14 We were asked by the client to assist four of their senior managers (The Executive Steering Group) in their cost reduction investigations of eight specified areas. The scope of our assistance included: acting as leader and facilitator; driving the investigation to successful completion; providing supporting analysis; producing study notes, reports and presentations; and reviewing the ESG's output. Anglia Television Group plc
Commercial Review of Accounting Functions Property Company UK & Ireland 199 Our client was an international property development and investment company. Following a major acquisition and restructuring a new region was established in the SE of England based on the acquired company. The senior accounting staff had resigned following the takeover, and a new Regional Financial Controller had been recruited. At the financial year-end there were major problems in the preparation of the financial accounts. These problems were blamed on the computerised property management system. We were asked to review the operations of the accounts department to determine the reason for the problems. We established that poor management, lack of experience and the absence of procedures were causing the problem - not the computer system. We presented our findings and a suggested action plan to management. Our recommendations were accepted and our actions implemented. The accounts function is now operating effectively. Peel Holdings Plc
Commercial Operational Audit Wholesale Europe 186 Our client, a major wholesaler with 50 outlets throughout the United Kingdom, had recently introduced a new comprehensive branch operations manual. Management were keen to assess the effectiveness of the manual and the degree to which branches were complying with policies and procedures. We were asked to provide guidance and advice on the conduct of operational audits and the structure and content of the checklists to be used; to undertake several operational audits at various locations; to develop, where appropriate, improvement action plans for the branches and report progress and issues to senior management. Nurdin & Peacock
Public Sector Analysis & Examination of Market Testing Commissions Central Government UK & Ireland 208 For a major division of a large government department responsible for over six million square metres of accommodation, we developed an analysis and evaluation system for the market testing of the external provision of property management services. Our work involved the detailed analysis of commissions and the development of a benchmark model to assess the relative value for money of tenders. We also made a series of recommendations which addressed the tender procedures, contract and packaging and the development of a performance monitoring system. Property Holdings
Commercial Project Management Manufacturing Europe 42 For a wood veneer manufacturing company we were commissioned to project manage the closure of two manufacturing sites in London and the South-East, and to relocate operations in the North. The project extended over a period of four months and involved the transfer of productive equipment, providing facilities to a greenfield site, manpower issues and operational efficiencies. The project was completed successfully on time and to agreed budgets. BLP Group
Commercial Office and Systems Review Barristers Chambers UK & Ireland 303 Our client, a barristers' chambers, had been experiencing problems with their administration, some of which was computerised. Working closely with a steering group of barristers and the senior clerk we were able to identify inconsistencies in working practices and expectations and under utilisation of available computer resources. As a result of our work, clearer role definitions (in relation to administration) were agreed and established, duties were more appropriately allocated to suit the personal abilities of the staff in the clerk's office and procedures were documented to ensure consistent use of systems. William George
Civil Society Invitation to Tender Charity Europe 146 Our client is a charity which provides a wide variety of services nationwide to blind and partially-blind persons. Their revenue is approximately £6M. We analysed the business and system requirements of the grants administration function in order to produce an Invitation to Tender. We helped our client select software and hardware suppliers and managed the implementation of the system. The system installed processes applications and enquiries quickly and efficiently and provides our client with the management information and control they require. London Association for the Blind
Commercial IT Systems Strategy Property Company Europe 48 Our client was a major property development and management company with a turnover of approximately £100m and net assets of over £1bn. They had an ageing computer system which no longer met all requirements, particularly in the accounting information available. We conducted an initial review of the existing systems and produced a report outlining the existing problem areas and suggesting an IT systems strategy for the client. This was accepted and led to a further phase of work, the user requirements specification. The British Land Company PLC
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Financial Controller Advertising Europe 168 The Financial Controller of our client had resigned, and we were asked to find his replacement. There was a tight timescale to meet for an individual who would need highly developed interpersonal skills as well as technical experience. We identified a suitable candidate within the timeframe and, because this person was not in employment, he was able to start work immediately. Multicom Holdings Ltd
Commercial Requirements Specification Retail Group UK & Ireland 293 Our client is the investment department and pension fund of a major retail group. Substantial growth in trading and a buoyant property market had led to a dramatic increase in work for their property department. The department was using very little technology. We were commissioned to prepare a user requirements specification document for an IT system. We worked closely with the staff of the department and produced a document which could be used as the basis of an Invitation to Tender (ITT). Our client then commissioned us to identify potential suppliers and work with them on the evaluation of tenders and the selection of a supplier. Westend Client (Property Department)
Public Sector Business Plan Local Authority Europe 70 Following our work with this client to produce their first annual Business Plan, we were asked to work on the subsequent year's plan. We retained the format of the first plan. Our background knowledge of the client's environment and our experience of working with local authorities enabled us to enhance the previous year's plan by developing more specific financial and performance targets in co-operation with key members of the client staff who were to be responsible for achieving the targets. City of Westminster
Commercial Project Consultancy Garments Wholesaler/Retailer UK & Ireland 256 Our client, a medium-sized wholesaler and retailer of children's garments, purchased a clothing and accounting system from a major software supplier. The delivery of the required software version had been postponed several times by the supplier to the considerable inconvenience of our client. We were asked to assist in resolving this situation. We created a constructive dialogue with the supplier and our client which culminated in a detailed planning meeting between our client and the supplier, under our guidance. The meeting resulted in a revised systems implementation plan which suited both parties. We were able to negotiate appropriate compensation for our client. SU International
Public Sector Accounting and Systems Government Department Europe 156 For a major central Government organisation, we defined its management and financial accounting requirements, as part of a large project to overhaul its financial information systems. We were required to determine the organisation's accounting policies and the financial ledgers required to give effect to these policies. A major issue was the requirement for a chart of accounts capable of supplying accounting information for both vote and accruals-based accounts. Metropolitan Police Service
Commercial Report Writer Selection Retail Group UK & Ireland 299 Our client, a major High Street retail group, provides banking and accounting services to various entities within its organisation. One of the clients key requirements while computerising the accounting system was to have a flexible user-friendly report writer. Their selected accounting system could not meet this requirement, therefore the client commissioned us to help with the selection of a report writer. After identifying our clients requirements, we analysed over ten suitable packages in the market and shortlisted three. We assisted the client in making the final choice by providing them with an objective analysis of the advantages/disadvantages of each package. Following selection, we negotiated favourable terms and conditions from the package supplier on behalf of our client. We also assisted the client in implementation of the package. Given our negotiation and implementation skills, the client considered our involvement in these aspects cost-effective. Our overall involvement in the selection helped the client to make an informed decision within the constraints of a tight implementation timetable. Westend Client
Civil Society Strategy and Advisory Services International NGO Switzerland & UK 323 Our client is a major international NGO active in natural resources certification. We were asked to assist with their engagement strategy with the finance industry. Our client is interested in exploring synergies and developing opportunities for collaboration with financial sector institutions. Our work included reviewing and editing communication materials, facilitating contacts with sustainable finance actors, and organising a breakfast event in London with a selection of financial services professionals to explore further the relevance of natural resources certification to financial institutions. PEFC
Public Sector User Requirements Specification Government Department Europe 162 We were commissioned by our client to develop an Operational Requirement for commercially available accounts payable and purchase order packaged software. The benefits of computerising these functions included greater cost efficiency, improved creditor control and more meaningful management information. The project was run under the Prompt/Prince project management methodology. The accounts payable and purchase order user specifications were designed to Stages 2 and 3 of the design methodology SSADM using the automated tool Automate Plus. We were also asked to develop the Financial Case for submission to Treasury. The OR was signed off by senior and operational management on time and within budget and the Business Case subsequently approved by Treasury. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Public Sector Financial Assessment Government Department Europe 87 For the Department of Health we carried out financial appraisals of fifty third wave candidates for NHS Trust status. We interviewed the Chief Executive and Director of Finance of each candidate to identify the key issues facing each candidate. We assessed the likely impact of each issue on each Trust's future financial performance. We assessed the Trust's contingency plans for managing the risks it faces and we reviewed the strength and depth of the management team and the finance function. Our report on each candidate formed part of the Department's overall assessment of whether the candidate should be granted NHS Trust status. Department of Health
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Design Manager Manufacturing Engineering UK & Ireland 243 We were asked to recruit a Design Manager for this small, privately owned manufacturing company. The salary budget was tight and the ideal candidate had to be able to handle the (new) position as currently defined, and also grow into a larger group-wide role. We successfully identified a suitably qualified candidate who was able to start comparatively quickly - another requirement of the assignment. Skerman Fabrications
Commercial Systems Selection Retailer Europe 97 Our client is a leading specialist map and book retailer, offering 25,000 stock lines. The company has one satellite store and main site, which also caters for their mail order business. The company operated a manual system for stock control and accounting, and management information was difficult to obtain. The company wished to improve manual information, reduce operating costs, enable better control, and support changes to their organisational structure. We were asked to help them select a computer system which would control accounts, sales purchasing and stock control and provide information for marketing initiatives and other management information. This involved a detailed study of the company's requirements, investigation of suitable suppliers and selection of a computer system best suited to their needs. Teleordering and use of external databases such as Whittakers Bookbank were also considered. Edward Stanford Ltd
Commercial Joint Venture Specifications Consortium Europe 78 A member of this consortium called upon us to assist them with the development of specifications and plans for a joint venture which is expected to alter fundamentally the advertising and distribution industries and have over £1 billion turnover within three years. For the media member of the consortium our most important contribution was the specification of the business and legal arrangements, including financial forecasts and corporate structure. They were particularly pleased by our ability to respond quicker to their changing environment. In fact, the entire negotiation behind this major initiative was completed within three months. The retailing member, one of the UK's largest high street shop owners, mail-order and domestic credit suppliers found our business planning and marketing services essential. The computer services arm of the largest US computer media company found our local knowledge and understanding of the business and technical requirements vital in securing agreement. With the organisation now set upon its way, we are working closely with the participants in all areas and look forward to the success of the venture. We are helping to implement the business strategy, marketing strategy, human resource plans, site planning, computer strategy for 1200 terminals, and financial systems. BSS Consortium of Media, Retailing and Computer Services
Commercial Review of Cash Management Engineering Europe 25 For a major project-based engineering company we undertook a review of cash management. The work involved analysing systems and procedures and assessing the capabilities of staff. An assessment of the organisation structure was also carried out. A series of recommendations were made to improve the collection, forecasting and management of cash. Babcock International Group plc
Commercial Accounting Assistance Property Company UK & Ireland 197 Our client, an international property development investment company, made a decision to restructure one of the UK divisions and to merge two regional offices. As part of this change the Managing Director and Regional Financial Controller were made redundant. We were asked to provide interim management for one of the regional accounts functions. This assignment involved negotiating redundancy terms with accounts staff, ensuring the functions operated during the transition period, and assuming responsibility for the preparation of financial and management accounts. We needed to provide a diverse range of skills including staff management, knowledge of property operation and accounting and the intricacies of the Employment Protection Act. Peel Holdings Plc
Commercial Systems Review Property Company UK & Ireland 202 Our client is an international property development and investment group. We were asked to review an integrated property management and accounting system already in use in a recently acquired listed group and report on its ability to meet the management and accounting requirements of the group as a whole. We defined in outline terms the management and accounting requirements of the group and evaluated the package against these requirements. We then reported our findings together with a suggested implementation strategy. Peel Holdings Plc
Commercial Systems Selection Property, Investment and Development Group Europe 166 Our client is the property management function of an international property development and investment company. Their computerised property management system was inadequate to handle the increased size of their portfolio. In addition, the company providing support for the software went into receivership. We were commissioned to survey the market to determine whether there were any packages available to meet our clients requirements. The work involved drafting an outline specification of requirements, producing a list of potentially suitable packages and reviewing documentation, shortlisting a limited number of packages, and attending vendor demonstrations of the shortlisted packages. Finally, we prepared a report summarising our work and recommending two suitable packages. Mountleigh Group plc
Civil Society IT Strategy Review Museum Europe 170 Our client was in the process of producing their first 5 year corporate plan and required to know how their existing IT facilities and plans fitted in with the emerging business plan. We were called in to assist and proceeded to examine the level of information technology in use within the museum, consider some of the opportunities opened up by the judicious use of modern technology and some of the risks of not adopting that technology, and identify the next steps to be taken in formulating a strategy that complemented the corporate plan. We recommended a rationisation of equipment, identified problems that required immediate attention and identified divisional requirements in a priority sequence that could be incorporated into the business plan. National Maritime Museum
Commercial Re-organisation Property Company UK & Ireland 195 Our client is an international property development and investment company. A decision had been taken to restructure one of the UK divisions of the group and to merge two of the regional offices. We were asked to assume project management responsibility for the change. We prepared a detailed plan for carrying out the required changes. The plan covered staffing, system procedures and the merging of companies. The plan was discussed and agreed with the client's senior management. Over a period of three months we ensured that all the tasks were carried out - some by the clients staff and some by ourselves - prepared regular progress reports, discussed and resolved problems, and most importantly ensured key deadlines were met. After completion of the re-organisation we prepared extensive handover notes so that those client staff responsible for the new functions were in a position to manage effectively. Peel Holdings Plc
Civil Society Wider Marketing Software Project Charity UK & Ireland 306 For this major international conservation organisation, we facilitated the definition of information requirements for fundraisers. Through interviews, workshops, open houses and observation, our team enabled the clients staff to reach consensus and focus attention on core needs. The client also benefited from a transfer of skills from our team to theirs, enabling the client to undertake this type of work in the future without help from external consultants. World Wide Fund For Nature
Civil Society Governance Review International Conservation Standards Body London, Washington DC 379 For the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), we undertook a comprehensive review of governance. The MSC Board realised, when it was roughly four years old, that its initial governance structures were unwieldy, insufficiently open and not transparent enough to facilitate the MSC’s rapid growth. The MSC established an international governance review panel and selected Z/Yen to facilitate the review, so the review could be independent whilst overseen at board level. It was crucial that the multiple stakeholders in the MSC (funders, supporters, staff, food industry, environmental groups, scientists, certifiers and many other interested parties) were all able to participate in the review. The process included then innovative use of web-based questionnaires (over 50% of responses were web-based) for ease of use and speed of analysis. It also required an iterative approach; an initial survey was followed up with an outline of the possible new structure for comment and shaping. As well as facilitating the consultation, Z/Yen ensured that the review followed due process within the UK’s charity law, provided governance models to underpin the consultation and ensured that the lawyers reflected the emerging ideas in the resulting legal drafts. Details of this study are in the public domain. Further information can be found here: Marine Stewardship Council
Public Crime Cost Prediction Model Borough Council UK 341 A borough council asked Z/Yen to help them determine where crime affected costs, such as housing block repairs or car park damage, and by how much. We used our PropheZy approach to analyse 1,300 crime incidents and build a predictive model linking crime type and frequency to council costs, particularly housing repairs. The model was successful at prediction, and helped the council produce cost/benefit correlations with investment in better crime prevention and policing. Islington Borough Council - John Lowen
Commercial Efficiency Review Utilities Europe 180 For a privatised electricity distribution company we carried out an efficiency review as part of the setting of the price regulation formula. We reviewed the revenue and cost projections to assess the scope for efficiency savings. We also reviewed the capital expenditure projection to determine the financing requirements over a ten year period. North Western Electricity Board
Public Sector Ghost Bid for Mail, Distribution and Other Services Government Department Europe 120 For the in-house bid team responsible for messegerial services at HM Customs and Excise in Southend we prepared a competitive ghost bid. We reviewed the in-house teams ITT and based on our understanding, supported by a client site tour we constructed a tender submission. We based our bid on our understanding of the in-house team's competitors and other intelligence information our consultancy has on their markets. We supplemented our bid with a detailed SWOT analysis of the in-house teams competitive position. HM Customs and Excise
Commercial Management Department Set-up Property Company UK & Ireland 307 Our client is a local property investment and estate agency group. A decision had been taken to establish a management department to administer the groups own properties and act as managing agents for third parties. We were asked to assist in the establishing of appropriate management and financial systems. During the assignment we worked along side the management team establishing and testing procedures. We specified and implemented a computerised management and accounting system and trained the staff in its use. After completion of the assignment we prepared handover notes and monitored the effectiveness of the systems over an extended period. Wrather & Company
Commercial Operational Review Retail Group UK & Ireland 297 Our client, a major High Street retail group, provides banking and accounting services to various entities within its organisation. The implementation of a new banking and accounting system allowed our client the opportunity to link the two systems and consequently reduce data entry and increase efficiency. The introduction of the link required a change in the procedures related to the accounting transactions coming from the banking system. The client commissioned us to develop the new procedures. We reviewed the current procedures, analysed the changes required by the new systems and developed new procedures that ensured that the transactions passing between the two systems were correctly entered, complete, accurate, valid and secure. Our understanding of banking and accounting transactions and our transaction audit skills helped to ensure that the analysis work we undertook was comprehensive and complete. The client implemented our recommended procedures and is now gaining the expected benefits from the banking-accounting link. Westend Client
Technology Financial Modelling Nuclear Technology Europe 4 Our client, a major company in the UK nuclear industry, asked us to examine the options for developing a financial model of one of their sites. We first investigated the sources and makeup of the current costing/charging procedures. This enabled the issues and risks for modelling to be identified. Non-modelling options were then analysed to confirm that a financial model was the best approach. Having done this three model options were discussed, a software approach developed and a project plan. AEA Technology
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Production Manager Plastics & Packaging UK & Ireland 240 Our client manufactures plastic packaging for the food and medical sectors. Turnover is £15m. We were retained to recruit a Production Manager with experience in a continual production/process environment, and strong staff management skills. We advertised the position and produced a shortlist of four candidates from which an appointment was made. Sidlaw PLC
Technology Systems Design and Research International Financial Services Consortium London 383 The InterChainZ project was a consortium research project, led by Z/Yen, to share learning on Mutual Distributed Ledgers (MDLs, aka Blockchains). The research partners were a major Australian insurance company, an international accountancy firm, a credit risk and information firm, alongside a regulatory observer. InterChainZ showcased several distributed ledger configurations and numerous variants, exploring how they might work in a set of agreed ‘use cases’ covering: KYC/AML identity management; sharing corporate credit data; placing a small business and a motor insurance policy. Over three months the project delivered a series of functioning, interlinked MDLs along with software, a research report, explanatory materials and website information. The clients were able to use the software and analysis in developing new business opportunities for MDLs. PwC, Suncorp, DueDil
Commercial Governance Research and Index Professional Body London 381 The Institute of Directors invited Z/Yen to collaborate on a project to investigate whether and how it was possible to measure corporate governance in UK Listed companies. The objective of this work was to investigate different approaches to measuring corporate governance, see what kind of different results they produce and consider how more meaningful and consistent approaches could be developed. We looked at the corporate governance of the largest 100 UK listed companies using three different approaches: • a survey of members of the IoD, ACCA and CISI in the UK asking them to rate the corporate governance of companies they were familiar with; • a study of instrumental factors, a range of objective, directly measurable factors drawn from external sources; • a predictive model of corporate governance using support vector machine regression. Each approach gave different results, leading to the conclusion that no one approach can be used to measure corporate governance. The first edition of the report was published in June 2015, with further updates planned for the second half of 2015 and into 2016. Institute of Directors
Commercial IT Effectiveness Review Office Supplies & Printing Group UK & Ireland 226 Our client had a mature mainframe computer installation and required assurance that it was still meeting the business needs, still providing value for money and would be able to support the predicted level of growth of the group's activities. We examined the hardware, the systems and applications software, the business requirements, the computer department's staff numbers and capabilities, their working methods and development plans. At the end of the project we were able to reassure our client on every point plus indicate where and, most importantly, when, changes and additions would be required in staffing, hardware, software and working methods. Satex Limited
Civil Society Computerisation of Children's Home and Charitable Trust Trust UK & Ireland 296 Our client is a grant making charitable trust which, in particular, makes student grants for African students in the UK. The trust also runs a home for distributed children and a playgroup. The trustees wanted to computerise the records held on the children and grant making. We were asked to help them to specify their functional requirements, select suitable hardware and software and assist with the implementation of the chosen solution. Using our expertise in information technology for the voluntary sector, we were quickly able to help them find a suitable and cost effective solution. The trust has benefited from the improved information, in particular the children's records, where the staff can now spot behavioural trends early and take remedial action. Westend Client - 'Berkshire'
Commercial Personnel Manager Professional Services Europe 34 Our client is the seventh largest firm of chartered accountants and management consultants in the world. Following the appointment of a new Personnel Director, and a reorganisation of the personnel department, a generalist with experience in operational, strategic and project based personnel management was sought. We recommended a half page advertisement in Personnel Management and were able to produce an excellent shortlist within four weeks of the advertisement appearing from which an appointment was made BDO Binder Hamlyn
Commercial User Requirements Specification Computing Services Europe 74 Our client, a trade association representing the company services industry, wished to upgrade its existing membership database in order to improve its services to members. We developed a user specification for the membership system and supervised the tender, evaluation and solution of suppliers to determine the best option available. We also liaised with hardware suppliers to ensure that the association had the necessary hardware improvements to support the new user requirements. Computing Services Association
Commercial SpecialiZm - Sales & Marketing Director Outsourcing Europe 344 A large business services organisation needed a Sales and Marketing Director at a time of tremendous change. Z/Yen’s expert needed to build a sales and marketing team in a short space of time in order to increase sales rapidly. Our expert built a new sales and marketing strategy, supplemented by market research. While building up the sales infrastructure of marketing materials, website, contact management and bid documentation, he also set about hiring a team of 15 business development managers and their support staff. Annual sales were raised in one year by 50%. Using his hard-won, competitive bid experiences, our expert then moved on to identifying key acquisitions and helped to consolidate the business service firm’s competitive position. Comax Secure Business Services
Commercial Cost Control & Project Management Aircraft Design Europe 6 We were commissioned by our client to assist them in the control of a £100M prototype development project. This was a unique international project which was won by the company against intense overseas competition. Our assistance covered acting as temporary DP manager, advising on the choice of project management software, advice on budgeting procedures and accounting implications, and the setting up general procurement procedures. We also analysed requirements for, designed, wrote and implemented a number of standalone systems such as; project costing, timesheet and expense recording, the registration of purchase orders and the maintenance of procurement controls. We were able to provide much needed specialist experience and continuity to a company going through a period of considerable change and growth. Airship Industries
Commercial IT Strategy and Selection Manufacturing Europe 123 Our client is one of the largest manufacturers and retailers of high class sporting weapons in the country. They had an outdated computer system for accounts that was not meeting their needs and requested us to examine the total business operations and identify opportunities for the effective use of modern information technology techniques. Paramount amongst the requirements was the need for rapid information exchange between the head office, the two factories and the central London retail outlet. We identified and evaluated the options and conducted an invitation to tender procedure. We then assisted with the implementation of the chosen system which comprised a central computer with permanent links to the other locations. Holland and Holland
Commercial Computer Systems Upgrade Manufacturing UK & Ireland 229 We conducted a review of IT systems developments and used workshops to help the client to identify the most appropriate way forward for computer system upgrades and future developments. Two strands of IT systems had developed and integration requirements were becoming more important. Scapa Porritt Ltd
Commercial IT Systems Review Engineering Europe 31 For a company prominent in the glass manufacturing industry we conducted a review of all use of information technology. This was requested by the new financial director who wanted a health check of the systems that he had inherited. The review covered the company's business data processing operations, their office automation operations and their use of computer aided design (CAD) systems which were used for designing large bespoke glass making machines. The review concluded that minor improvements in the office automation network could improve productivity, but a major problem existed with the CAD system which would have to be replaced. Thus we were able to avert a potential disaster situation where the client may not have been able to carry on his business. BH
Civil Society Predictive Analytics Membership Organisation London 391 We have worked closely with one of the largest trades unions in the world for many years, using statistical learning models, known as support vector machines (SVMs), to predict and classify information about membership. In particular, we model membership information to help prevent lapses and to reclaim many members who do lapse by appropriately encouraging them to rejoin. According to its website (January 2017), UNISON serves over 1.3 Million members. According to UNISON's last published accounts (2015) membership income, by far the union's main source of funds, is currently over £160M per annum. In 2013, this work was written up as a published case study, Rust Never Sleeps, in Charity Finance magazine: In 2014 UNISON went public about this work and was highly commended for it in the not-for-profit category of the Analytics In Action Awards: . The work is ongoing at the time of writing, including various elements of analytical work to assist recruitment, retention and rejoining. UNISON
Commercial Structuring Remuneration Package Travel Agent United States & Canada 7 Structuring the remuneration package for the client in such a way as to facilitate the introduction of a government P R P scheme. US Airtours
Public Sector Capacity Planning Study Utilities Europe 176 We were asked by our client to assist with their annual review of IT Strategy. The Board's annual IT budget exceeded £10M and the growth in the use of central computing resources was around 40% every year. This meant that their traditional methods of calculating the need for computer processing power were being overtaken by events and becoming less accurate. The computer department called upon us for assistance. We collated performance statistics, identified service levels, agreed growth assumptions, defined performance measurement factors and extrapolated computer power requirements over a 5 year period. We also made recommendations on staffing the Capacity Management function and on the use of a computer system to aid the capacity planning process. We have been asked to continue our involvement in order to ensure that quicker, easier and more accurate forecasts are made in the future. North Western Electricity Board
Commercial Voice Mail Professional Services Europe 39 Working with our client, we helped them to implement the voice mail service provided by a major telecommunications organisation. The external voice mail system was used to gain experience for the client in the new technology and as a prelude to the selection and installation of an in-house system. BDO Binder Hamlyn
Public Sector Systems Design Government Department Europe 163 We were commissioned by our client to develop a strategy for supplier and product codes as part of a project drawing up an Operational Requirement for new accounts payable and purchase order systems. The client required standard supplier and product codes to ensure that purchasing and expenditure information was consistent across business functions. A particular problem was the number of products purchased (over one million) and the wide diversity of the products. We developed a coding framework based on product types which could be used to monitor patterns of purchasing to assess the range and mix of products and services bought. Where appropriate this would then be extended for a more detailed product level analysis. We also developed guidelines for operational procedures such as the set up and maintenance of supplier and product codes. The strategy was adopted by the client and they are in the process of monitoring their purchasing patterns using the framework. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Civil Society Strategy Analytical Membership Organisation Swindon 332 Our client was a large not for profit membership organisation with an income of £250 million. We were asked to work with their senior IT Team to support them as they developed an IS Strategy, and help them engage senior management into thinking appropriately and strategically about the use of IS. We carried out a gap analysis of their strategy work to date and worked with them to fill in the blanks, identifying the major themes for their strategy and templates and tools to allow them to complete that work. We worked closely with the team to develop a management summary and presentation to assist with presentation to the board. The strategy was presented to the management board and subsequently adopted. The National Trust
Public Sector Project Review Health Europe 144 For the London Ambulance Service Patient Transport Service, we undertook a review of a project enhancing and implementing a patient registration and transport scheduling system. The work established the project's current status through interviews with project members, users and the systems suppliers. We then went on to develop an installation plan for the remainder of the project. The plan focused on addressing possible risks, managing the risks and developing contingency and full back options. London Ambulance Service
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Finance Director SpecialiZm - Construction UK & Ireland 301 Our client asked us to identify a suitable shortlist of candidates for the position of Finance Director. Their Finance Director had left suddenly, so it was important that a replacement was found with the least possible delay. We identified three excellent candidates who were interviewed by the client within one week. An appointment was made. Westminster Scaffolding
Civil Society Review of Office Practices Not-For-Profit Europe 18 For the international federation of membership societies, we conducted a review of office practices. In particular, the management were concerned that they were not gaining sufficient benefits from their use of computers. We made several recommendations that our client could implement to produce improvements quickly and easily (e.g. electronic transfer of documents to publication houses, optimising the use of filing and office space). We also helped the client to build consensus between the objectives of trustees and management for the future direction of the organisation. The client told us that they found the priorities we assigned to our recommendations especially clear and helpful, which enabled them to implement the changes efficiently. Associated Country Women of the World
Commercial Banking and Accounting Systems Implementation Planning Retail Group UK & Ireland 284 Our client provides banking and accounting services to various entities within its organisation. Following the selection of the banking and accounting systems, the client, a major High Street retail group, commissioned us to develop a detailed systems implementation plan. Following interviews and discussions with key members of the staff, we analysed individual staff work schedules and developed a plan that minimised the disruption to the client's normal work pattern. The plan met with our client's approval and we were retained to help with the implementation project. Westend Client
Financial Services Review of Planning Processes Insurance UK & Ireland 258 Our client had enjoyed many years of success and has grown in thirty years from a small regional family owned insurance nationwide retail presence. The size and nature of the company had changed significantly in recent years. The group was now much larger and has a wider range of interests. New levels of management have been introduced and new businesses have been started which build on specific areas of expertise. We were asked to review the corporate planning process and identify relevant changes in keeping with the new size and nature of the group. Working with a steering group of senior management we were able to establish a more appropriate approach to planning in a group of this size. The new process was structured around a group of this size. The new process was structured around a group and business level framework, and was launched with a series of workshops involving group management and individual business management teams. Swinton Insurance
Commercial SpecialiZm - Chief Technology Officer Medical Imagery Systems UK 354 Z/Yen conducted a research project with a software company for an innovative piece of software with applications in a number of sectors as diverse as R&D, financial markets and consumer electronics. The research project led to a technology commercialisation strategy focused on medical imaging. However, the software seemed to be always 95% complete, and had been so for over 18 months. Z/Yen provided a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who worked with the company over nine months. The CTO needed a broad range of skills in mathematics, software development, operating systems, statistics, imaging, security and the general software industry. In nine months he succeeded in delivering a working product. He also delivered a working medical imagery system, a “technology demonstrator”, which went immediately into successful medical trials in the USA. HTTP Technology - Medicsight
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Finance Director Paper Merchant Europe 152 The client is a paper merchanting group with a turnover of £130m. It buys and sells globally, 99% of its turnover being matched bargains. The incumbent FD, whom we recruited two years earlier, had decided to move on because the economic climate meant that his scope for personal development was limited. The challenge in the recruitment was to identify an individual who was acceptable to both the executive management and the institutional investors who backed the management buy-out two years ago. The individual must also combine an attention to detail with acceptability to, and credibility with, bankers and other city institutions. We successfully identified a man with appropriated experience, who as able to start quickly. Meteor Holdings Ltd
Civil Society System Development Membership Organisation London 366 Z/Yen has been working with the Church of England for several years, designing, building, piloting and enhancing an on-line system for the collection of parish returns. Every parish is required to make statistical and financial returns each year; a significant task for every parish in the land. It is also substantial work for each diocese (as dioceses are responsible for validating the information) and for Church House in London, which is required to pull all the information together. The on-line system is designed to make the process of gathering, checking and collating the data much easier. After an initial small scale trial/pilot with six dioceses, the following year 22 dioceses chose to pilot the system. That represents over half of all dioceses, so in reality the pilot seamlessly transformed into roll-out very rapidly. Over 5,000 parishes fall within the 22 dioceses who used the system in its second year; over 4,000 parishes submitted some or all of their data using the on-line system. The feedback so far has mostly been very positive. The following year, the diocese count rose to 32, covering over 8,700 parishes. The system is also used as the core for other innovative developments, such as an on-line service register, and for research work, such as the Everyone Counts survey, The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England
Commercial Systems Proposals Review Manufacturing UK & Ireland 216 For a manufacturer and distributor of natural health products, we were asked to review proposals for new computer systems. The company required new financial and administrative systems to control their rapidly expanding business. In addition, a number of very large accounts with major retailers needed to be efficiently managed. The client had identified already,the potential suppliers for hardware and software. We were able to assist the company by clarifying the business objectives to be met from new systems and by defining the selection criteria to evaluate the options. The basis of the decision to procure new systems was then established and a business case was prepared subsequently for the board to approve. Regina Ltd
Civil Society Systems Documentation & Procedures Design Charity UK & Ireland 228 Our client is one of the largest charities in the UK, with a turnover in excess of £30,000,000 per annum and a large variety of projects in the UK and abroad. They were experiencing problems tracking the flow of documents in the organisation and severe bottlenecks in processing large volumes of incoming mail, especially donations received. We produced a report which documented their current mail and document handling procedures and proposed measures to improve the system. Our suggestions are expected to reduce considerably the inefficiencies in processing system, which should enable them to increase the net income available for charitable work. Save the Children Fund
Commercial Management and Capacity Study Television Company Europe 12 We were commissioned by our client to perform a 'Measurement and Capacity' Study as the first stage of a cost reduction exercise. We determined the functions and activities of the group and divided it into discrete units. We then determined the inputs, outputs, internal and external interfaces for each unit. This analysis allowed us to determine the areas of poor efficiency or effectiveness for further study. Anglia Television Group plc
Commercial Systems Implementation Banking Software Europe 140 For the professional services division of a banking software firm we helped launch the QMS and train staff, and provided support during live running of the system. We carried out part of the internal audit programme, and assisted in liaison with the certification body. Our client was successfully assessed to BS 5750 under the TickIT scheme. Internet Systems Ltd
Commercial Asset Valuation Utilities Europe 182 For a regional electricity company, we reviewed the valuation of its distribution network. We reviewed the available valuation methodologies. We considered the information required for each methodology and the likely robustness of the values given. We recommended a revised approach which was adopted for accounting purposes. North Western Electricity Board
Commercial Systems Development Banking Software Europe 139 For the professional services arm of this banking software firm, we assisted with the development of a BS 5750-compatible Quality Management System. We helped plan the project, provided detailed input to the drafting and review of the QMS procedures, and helped with the selection of a certification body. The QMS was reviewed and approved by the certification body, and our client retained us to support the launch and implementation of the QMS prior to assessment and registration. Internet Systems Ltd
Public Sector MIS & Accounting Requirements Scoping Government Department Europe 155 For a major police force, funded by central government, we carried out a management information and accounting systems scoping study. In this study we identified the key areas which needed to be addressed in order to allow the force to move from a purely cash (vote) accounting basis to a more commercial (accounting) basis. Whilst identifying these areas we developed a comprehensive workplan to address each of the areas identified. Metropolitan Police Service
Public Sector Systems Selection Government Department Europe 191 Ordnance Survey wanted to find a packaged system to replace their map sales system. We assisted them with the preparation of their Operational Requirement for the new system, prepared selection criteria and conducted an Invitation to Tender procedure for the installation of a package. In this instance we were able to show that a package was not viable as a total solution. We advised our client on the viability of a bespoke/package combination and how the implementation of a solution of this nature should be conducted. The result was a bespoke sales processing system, developed by Ordnance Survey computer staff in a 4th generation language, integrated with a packaged sales ledger system provided by a software house. Ordnance Survey
Public Sector Financial Training Government Department Europe 157 For the UK's largest police force, we designed and delivered a financial training course which was tailored to the specific needs of the client. In particular it focused on the problems of moving from accounting exclusively on a vote basis to accounting on an accruals basis. The fourteen attendees were an IT project team building a new accounting system. Metropolitan Police Service
Civil Society SpecialiZm - Human Resources Advisor Membership Organisation UK & Ireland 353 A Z/Yen client had a disorganised and demoralised human resources (HR) department. Staff in the HR department were unsure of their roles and responsibilities. Staff who needed HR services complained of problems with benefits, difficulties in hiring staff, poor advice on consultation and repeated mistakes on payroll and expenses. Z/Yen introduced a part-time Human Resources Advisor who worked with the department to put some basic systems and procedures in place. The HR Advisor used the idea of having the team build a “business management system” manual together in order to start them down the road of being more organised. The part-time advice enabled the team to pull together and sped up the results gained from hiring a new departmental manager six months later. UNISON
Commercial Voice Mail Selection and Negotiation Professional Services Europe 37 We were asked by our client to evaluate the responses to the ITT prepared and issued in a previous assignment. Each response was ranked against the required functional requirements, technical specification, support and cost. As part of the selection procedure we visited all eight suppliers and evaluated the systems for 'look and feel' and ease of system administration. Detailed negotiations were held with two suppliers. BDO Binder Hamlyn
Civil Society Systems Selection Education Europe 10 Our client is one of the leading independent Roman Catholic schools in the country with over 700 boys. The school had been considering the use of databases to control their school administration needs, including the monitoring of the future, current and past pupils providing full biographical information. The school did not have an established IT framework on which to base any software selection. We initially helped the school establish the long term requirements at a high level and formulate a framework for the basis of all future systems selection, considering the main school, guest houses, sports centre and farm. Following this we helped them select a system to meet their school administration requirements based upon the above. This involved documenting their requirements, investigating potential suppliers and helping decide on the best supplier to meet their requirements. Ampleforth College
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Information Systems Director Multinational Worldwide 115 We were asked to run an executive search for a new Director of Information Systems. This is a very powerful role at Heron, with overall responsibility for all IT matters throughout the Group, yet with only a 'dotted line' reporting from operational IT managers; the position has a large internal consultancy element to it as well. We successfully identified a number of suitable candidates, one of whom was offered the job. Unfortunately the client restructured its Head Office just at this time, the position was made redundant and the offer was withdrawn. Heron International Plc
Commercial Strategy Project Television Company Europe 17 For an independent television company we evaluated the cost saving opportunities offered by a joint venture with another television company. The joint venture would provide essential programme-making and transmission to its two parents and, by achieving economies of scale, do so at lower cost. We worked closely with professional representatives from the other television company involved to provide a joint view of the opportunities. The assignment was undertaken against the background of television franchise renewal: as part of their applications for franchise renewal, each company involved sought to demonstrate efficient making and transmitting of programmes. Anglia Television Group plc
Public Sector IT Training Study Government Department Europe 89 We conducted a major study into information technology user training within the Department concentrating on methods, resources and delivery mechanisms, specifically in the areas of office automation and PC-based products. The study focused on London head office but similar training structures were encountered in regional centres. The study assessed the training needs of user branches and personnel and identified and costed training strategies to meet these needs. The study covered a 5 year timescale and the recommendations made have been adopted for the Department as a whole. Department of Health and Social Security
Civil Society System Selection Charity UK 360 Our client was a large UK medical charity, providing support, education and advice to beneficiaries as well as funding research through a number of grant giving programmes. They asked us to help review processes and specify their requirements for a new grants management application, to replace their ageing system. After completing that work and demonstrating the cost justification for investment, we managed a selection process and agreed the choice of a new supplier. We then supported the charity through the implementation phase, identifying and addressing historic data quality issues. Finally we worked with the client to demonstrate the benefits delivered by the new system and ways of working. British Heart Foundation
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Group MIS Manager Manufacture, Distribution, Wholesale, Retail Europe 110 We were asked to recruit a Group MIS Manager for this rapidly-growing group. The role was a new position, and was necessary because the growth had largely come from acquisitions, resulting in a wide diversity of systems in use throughout the world-wide operations. A very large response, of nearly seven hundred, was sifted and a strong shortlist submitted. The successful candidate was very close to the ideal specification. A combination of advertised selection and limited search techniques was used. The Hartstone Group plc
Public Sector Systems Design Government Department Europe 164 As part of a project to develop an Operational Requirement for new accounts payable and purchase order systems we were asked by our client to assess the changes required to their existing general ledger (GL) to meet new business and reporting requirements. These had arisen as a result of changes in their organisational structure and in a requirement for more commercialised accounting practices to be adopted. The project identified the client's requirements particularly the need to hold both commitment and accrual information, recommended an approach which allowed the client to retain the existing GL and report the required information from it and also recommended changes to the structure and organisation of the GL to enable the client to improve the quality and consistency of its management information. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Financial Services Study of Product Transaction Costs Banking/Treasury Europe 29 For a leading international bank we completed a study to compute the transaction costs of their range of Treasury products. This study involved a detailed analysis of all back and front office activities in order to assign costs to products on the most appropriate basis. All support activities such as IT systems applications were reviewed, and their costs also assigned based on distribution methods such as CPU usage, asset values etc. A computer based simulation of manual back office was developed to provide an analysis of staff time by product. In conjunction with this study we also completed a non-exclusive competitive benchmarking survey involving the Treasury departments of banks based in New York and London. The results of this survey were issued to all participants. Following on from this, we acted as facilitators training client staff to undertake the product costing exercise independently. We then acted as facilitators to enable client staff to maintain and enhance the model, as well as automating several linkages between some modules. For the same client we later provided ad hoc consultancy support to enable the client to:
  • budget and record IT project costs thereby providing a link between IT project management and financial ledgers;
  • develop a new cost centre hierarchy and implement a new bought ledger system;
  • establish IT staff charge out rates to automate recharges via the nominal ledger and payroll systems;
  • validate and maintain the fixed cost register (including implementing charges by centre).
Procedures were developed to control and update all of the above.
Barclays Bank Global Treasury Services London
Commercial Systems Development Manufacturing UK & Ireland 211 Our client is a very large manufacturer and supplier of a basic building material. They operate several mainframe computers and have a large computer department. They had a number of strategic IT developments in hand at the particular time and had a shortage of experienced project managers. Consequently we were asked to act as project managers for the development and implementation of a new management information system. The development was carried out on an IBM mainframe the DB2 relational database management system and the SQL query language facility. An integral part of the project was introducing managers to, and instructing them in, the use of the system. The project was implemented within both time and cost budgets. Redland Bricks
Commercial Review of Property System Property, Investment and Development Group Europe 165 We were commissioned to assess the risks and impact on the operations of Mountleigh from the sale of one of their subsidiary companies. The firm in question wrote Mountleigh's computerised property management systems and had maintained them since, also acting as DP managers for Mountleigh. However the subsidiary was losing money rapidly and Mountleigh wished to sell the company to its management. We evaluated the systems, secured the necessary data and hardware, gave Mountleigh staff basic training and drafted support agreements to protect Mountleigh's interests. Mountleigh Group plc
Commercial IT Strategy, Selection and Implementation Publishing Solutions Europe 118 We were commissioned by our client to review the management accounting systems in use and advise on the direction of future developments to meet the business needs. We devised a strategy of phased replacement of all the Finance division systems commencing with General Ledger through Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Billing, Management Information and Accounting Interfaces with other division systems. We firstly, identified changes to existing systems which had an immediate effect of reducing cash flow by #2M. We then began the process of preparing Operational Requirements and conducting Invitation to Tender procedures for each system in turn. These systems were package/bespoke combinations for a large ICL mainframe environment. Benefits obtained from the new systems included the production of accounts 10 days earlier each month and the provision of on-line access to data allowing quicker management decision-making. Her Majesty's Stationery Office
Government iBook and PDF Production & Publishing Local Government United Kingdom 367 Our client wanted to develop a set of walks on Commerce and Finance to explain what careers and jobs people currently pursue in the Square Mile of the City of London. We created four walks - banking, insurance, shipping, and markets. Each walk had a number of sites to visit, with an explanation of the type of work. Naturally, there were large numbers of historical references. We combined text, imagery, maps, and indexing in two formats for publication. The client was pleased to publish and promote the walks to students and visitors. City of London Corporation
Commercial ITT Evaluation and Selection Property Company Europe 49 Our client was a major property development and management company with a turnover of approximately £100m and net assets of over £1bn. In a previous stage we produced a Requirements Specification document for Financial, Property and Management Information systems. We issued the Requirements Specification with an Invitation to Tender to potential suppliers and carried out a detailed evaluation of suppliers proposals to enable the client to decide on a systems solution. We assisted the client to negotiate a contract with the chosen supplier to produce the technical design of the new system. The British Land Company PLC
Civil Society IT Strategy Trade Union Europe 76 For this major trades union with over 200,000 employees we were initially asked to review the status of their systems development projects. This resulted in a Systems Audit Report. As a result of our initial review and recommendations, we were asked to develop an information technology strategy and provide support to their operational while COHSE recruited an IT Systems Controller. The major end product of the IT Strategy was a three year plan identifying the key systems projects, their duration and development sequence. We are currently developing a requirements specification for their Membership Accounting system so that a suitable application software package can be selected and implemented accordingly. Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE)
Financial Services Compliance Review Preliminary Study Insurance Broking UK & Ireland 259 Our client was one of the UK's largest motor insurance intermediaries. With the profile of the Group continuing to rise, it was considered essential to review compliance with the requirements of all applicable legal provisions, common regulations and codes of conduct and practice. We were asked to assist in conducting the initial study to provide senior management with the information necessary to enable the development and implementation of procedures to achieve minimum levels of compliance in all areas and higher standards wherever appropriate. The final report included: recommend scope of the compliance review; prioritised areas for review; lists of the major legislation, regulations and codes of conduct pertaining to areas under review. Swinton Holdings & Newco
Mining Strategic and Startup Support Commercial United Kingdom 368 For nine years, from conception, through fund-raising, listing, and further rounds, Z/Yen nurtured a potash mining company up to over £300 million market capitalisation. This was the first non-hydrocarbon mining project of any substance in the UK for over half a century. In the early stages of the project, our role was to provide a range of flexible services, advice, lobbying, promotion, and introductions. Later we provided a non-executive director and bespoke research. Sirius Minerals plc
Technology Financial Modelling Nuclear Technology Europe 3 Our client, a major company in the UK nuclear industry, asked us to design and build a financial model of one of their sites. The model enables them to forecast costs and revenues over a one hundred year period while the site is decommissioned, and will form the basis for several other models of different nuclear sites around the country. To build the model we started by gaining a thorough understanding of our client's current cost structure, by interviewing all of the cost centre managers and divisional accountants at the site. This helped us to prepare a list of the activities and events that drove the costs in the budget. As a by-product of this part of the project, we were also able to report to our client on the quality of the budgetary control systems on the site. The next step was to design and build a generic model of a single cost centre and project. These generic objects could then be used to model any real cost centre or project. The model itself consists of a series of functionally identical cost centres and projects, the logic for which is stored in a series of spreadsheets. The data for the model is stored in a database, and is linked to the spreadsheets using Microsoft Windows Dynamic Data Exchange. The entire model is controlled by a series of menus written in the macro language of the spreadsheet. AEA Technology
Commercial Banking and Accounting Systems Selection & Contract Negotiation Retail Group UK & Ireland 283 Following our work on specification of requirements and preparation of an Invitation to Tender document for the banking and accounting systems for our client, a major High Street retail group, the client commissioned us to help with the selection of the systems. Our approach on this project was to work jointly with the client by setting up a Steering Group consisting of key client staff and Z/Yen representatives. We helped the client to identify a suitable supplier with a good match to the client's requirements. The client was concerned about the long-term viability of support from the prospective supplier. We carried out an in-depth analysis of the supplier's business and set-up of its user-support operation. The client decided to proceed with the selection. We then helped the client to negotiate a favourable contract with the prospective supplier. The client commissioned us to continue working with the staff to prepare the Systems Implementation plan. Westend Client
Civil Society IT Strategy Review Children's Charity UK 334 For this large children's charity, Z/Yen undertook a review of its IT strategy including an examination of the information systems and IT infrastructure used. Our client was keen to get more performance out of its existing information systems wherever possible. The review helped the client to improve its IT service delivery. It subsequently resulted in new finance and HR systems and improved use of existing fundraising and children’s services applications. A key benefit from the review was the prioritisation of needs enabling our client to agree a practical way forward within its means. Barnardo's
Civil Society Strategy Analytical Membership Organisation UK & Ireland 327 This civil society organisation's income base stems largely from membership income; tens of millions in income each year through hundreds of thousands of members. This client asked us to help with follow-up processes for leavers, to help improve data quality, understand membership trends ans also for financial benefit; i.e. income recovery, by persuading a proportion of the leavers to rejoin. Through analytical work, we showed that a leaver was far more likely to rejoin if pursued promptly and with rigour. Those leavers who do not respond to the basic, correspondence approach, but are subsequently contacted with an enhanced approach, e.g. with a telephone call, are as likely to rejoin as those who respond to the basic approach. However, there is a significant cost to an enhanced approach; it is not viable to attempt to make telephone contact with all leavers who fail to respond to correspondence. We thought this problem would lend itself to statistical learning predictive analytics; which indeed it did. We trained our SVM, PropheZy, using members who had lapsed during 2009, including many who had subsequently rejoined through the basic follow-up process. Key data included gender, date of birth, duration of membership and various membership grouping and categories, specific to the organisation, which indicated particular interests and degree of involvement in those interests. The data proved highly predictive and we were able to predict individual's propensity to rejoin. This enabled our client to target their resources efficiently and effectively, to maximise the benefit from their income recovery work. UNISON
Commercial Audit Nuclear Industry Europe 185 We were asked to perform an audit of a series of spreadsheet financial models which our client, a major company in the nuclear industry, had designed and built to forecast its accounts for the next fifty years. Several of the models, which had all been built by different members of the clients staff, forecast information such as reactor fuel burn costs, fuel reprocessing costs and decommissioning costs. This information was transferred to a central model that forecast the company's financial statements. Our review was designed with four objectives in mind:
  • the models should be arithmetically accurate, that is all the formulae should be consistent;
  • the logic of the models should be correct, that is they should operate in the way their designers intended them to;
  • the procedures surrounding the use of the models should be well defined: changes to the logic of the models should be fully documented and reviewed, and different scenarios of the models should use consistent data;
  • the models should be consistent with the client's accounting policies.
We were able to make recommendations for improvement in relation to all four of these objectives, and also provided advice to our client on a number of principles of good financial modelling.
Nuclear Electric plc
Commercial Systems Selection Retailer Europe 122 Our client is a major retailer with over 100 outlets in the south and west of the UK. All their administrative and accounting systems were manual and they had decided to investigate the possibility of introducing computers. We assisted with a full requirements analysis of the business functions and conducted an ITT procedure for the first phase of computerisation consisting of branch returns and accounting. We chose a packaged-based system, conducted negotiations with the supplier and assisted with implementation planning. We provided support during the implementation which went so smoothly that the client decided to significantly advance his IT plans and consider the early introduction of computerised stock control, bar coding, and point-of-sale. Hodges Menswear
Civil Society SpecialiZm - Treasurer Charity UK & Ireland 346 One charity needed a part-time Treasurer to ensure that they were financially aware and under control. Z/Yen was able to provide a financially qualified MBA who sought part-time work in order to build up her expertise. She was able to work a few days per month and attend board meetings so that the Trustees were comfortable with the financial position of the charity. One of her major achievements was implementing a budgeting system at the charity which they continue to use several years later. As Z/Yen provides a standard discount to the voluntary sector and as the Z/Yen expert was clearly learning from the assignment, the rates were very competitive. The charity was able to have an extremely well-qualified, hands-on financial person for just the amount of time they needed. Charities Evaluation Services
Commercial Feasibility Study Retail Group UK & Ireland 290 Our client is a major High Street retail group, which places a great deal of emphasis on corporate giving. Outstanding growth in recent years has created an overload of work in the charities department. We reviewed the work of the department and considered the case for automation of the department's functions. We also conducted an initial survey of the software market and provided our client with a cost-benefit analysis of various options that were available to them. This study helped the board to reach their decision to proceed with a computerisation project. The client commissioned us to continue to work with them on a user requirements specification document. Westend Client (Charities Department)
Commercial Procedures Development & Systems Implementation Professional Services UK & Ireland 277 For the same professional services firm, we assisted the client with the implementation of the QMS, providing support during conversion to new procedures and during the run up to ISO 9000 assessment. We also designed and developed a large part of the procedures required to include the internal IT departments' work in the QMS and meet the requirements of TickIT. The client was successfully assessed to ISO 9000/TickIT in February 1994. R Watson & Sons
Financial Services ITT, Evaluation and Selection Re-insurance Broker UK & Ireland 269 Our client was a leading London market reinsurance broking firm. Following our previous work to produce a Functional Requirements Specification we produced an Invitation to Tender for potential suppliers. We evaluated the suppliers' proposals, produced an Evaluation Report and assisted the client with the selection of a supplier and the negotiation of contracts. Walsham Brothers & Company Limited
Public Sector Market Testing Central Government Europe 83 Our client was subjecting its mailing and support services to market testing. We were engaged to prepare a ghost bid against which the in-house bids could be measured. We identified potential competitors and undertook an analysis of their public accounts in order to understand their cost structure. Additionally we undertook market research to identify the spread of rates for messengers, one of the key costs of this bid. We identified opportunities for more efficient procedures and cost reductions. We incorporated all of the above factors into our competitive bidding model and derived a bid price and bid strategy which we believed would be pursued by a competitor. Using our work, our client was able to develop an informal bid. We then critically appraised the bid and provided constructive comments on how the bid could be presented more favourably. As a result, our client was able to submit a high quality bid. The client was successful in retaining their services in-house. HM Customs & Excise
Public Sector Review of Goldstar Transport Europe 52 We were commissioned by the British Railways Board (BR) to review the current viability of Goldstar and to make recommendations as to how, if at all, it could be divested. This review was required by BR as part of a larger overhead cost reduction exercise. We analysed the recent financial performance of Goldstar, highlighted its marketing strengths and weaknesses and listed the key opportunities and threats facing it in the future. We interviewed the key managers and encouraged them to consider the possibility of a management buyout (MBO). At the same time we created a list of potential third party buyers and began informal discussions to determine the extent of external interest. We concluded that Goldstar's viability was dependent upon its inclusive tours contract with BR and recommended that, if future merchandising terms could be agreed, either an MBO or a third party sale would be a possibility. We finally calculated a range of possible sale values and demonstrated the steps which BR needed to take in order to divest itself of Goldstar successfully. British Rail
Civil Society SpecialiZm - IT Director Membership Organisation UK & Ireland 348 An IT department of 30 people was inherited by an Administrative Director with no knowledge of IT. Having reviewed the situation, Z/Yen concluded that an IT Manager could manage the department without having to recruit a specialist IT director. However, the department needed to be brought under management quickly. Z/Yen’s IT Manager was running the department within days, stabilising the team and then laying out a longer-term strategy while the client began their recruitment process. Repeated difficulties hiring the right IT manager in a tough market meant that it took over a year to find a permanent person. During that period, Z/Yen’s IT manager was able to increase user satisfaction by 20%, reduce the budget by 15% and reduce the headcount to 22 while improving all key performance measures. Upon arrival, the new IT Manager was able to focus on new initiatives rather than fire-fighting. UNISON
Public Sector Performance Related Pay Local Authority UK & Ireland 248 SDDC wished to introduce a staff appraisal system backed with performance related pay. We worked with the client to the point at which they felt able to continue the project themselves. South Derbyshire District Council
Civil Society Programme Management NHS Foundation Trust London 385 A group of NHS Foundation Trusts wanted to improve their IT infrastructure and services by forming a Shared Service that could pool resources and expertise. They invited Z/Yen to provide assistance with Programme management. Initially this involved supporting the development of the Business Case, including detailed business planning, costs analysis and legal assessments. Following the agreement of the Business Case, Z/Yen continued to act as Programme Managers throughout the transition and implementation stages, including writing and maintaining the Programme Plan, monitoring and reporting on financial and implementation issues and risks, updating the business cases and advising on legal and HR issues, until the successful launch of the Shared Service organisation. Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Financial Services Treasury Survey Banks Europe 28 For the treasury operations of nine London based banks we prepared a questionnaire, provided advice on its completion, analysed the data contained in the questionnaire returns, identified trends and relationships and produced individual reports for each of the participants. Multiple Banks
Commercial Feasibility Study Property Company UK & Ireland 203 Following a major acquisition we were asked to investigate the options for rationalising the accounts function and simplifying the complex group structure. We were able to suggest a course of action which met the boards requirement to bring the accounts function into a single location and improved the overall efficiency of the department whilst providing significant cost savings. Having determined the complex constraints arising from the existing operational and financial arrangements we were able to present a method of restructuring the group which not only simplifies the existing structure but also provides a robust framework for the future expansion of the group. We also provided an initial implementation plan for both the restructuring of the accounts function and the first phase of the simplification of the group structure. Our recommendations were accepted and our actions implemented. Peel Holdings Plc
Civil Society Organisational Review and IT Strategy Professional Association Europe 108 This association has some 10,000 members throughout the UK and is responsible for the maintenance of professional standards and the provision of professional information to its members. We were first asked to review the organisational structure and the printing and publishing procedures. This was followed by a review of all information processing systems, an options analysis, the agreement of an approach to the usage of IT in the future, the development of a requirements specification and the selection of new computer systems for word processing, accounting and membership administration. The General Council of the Bar
Financial Services Trade Publication, Liquidity, and Transparency Financial Exchange London 369 We conducted a study with the London Stock Exchange into trade publication, transparency and liquidity. The project involved academic research, fundamental financial redefinitions, comparisons with other trade publication regimes by other exchanges, analysis of millions of transactions over a test period, and interpretative analysis for submission to regulators. Our findings were, at best, that little correlation could be found between trade publication requirements and liquidity issues, despite many conventional assumptions. We did however find that, at the level of stocks, a liquidity predictor could be built, indicating that varying liquidity relates intrinsically more to the stock rather than to the market. Our results formed the basis of renegotiation of reporting requirements, redefinition of 'normal market size' and sectoral requirements, and some enhancements and corrections to existing systems. London Stock Exchange
Public Sector Accounting System Review Housing Association UK & Ireland 271 Our client is a leading housing association which owns and manages over £70M of property consisting of some 4000 units. They were in the process of implementing new computer systems and required a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the manual procedures prior to implementation. These procedures had grown up in time and had not been reviewed for more than 10 years. We investigated the collection of receipts, rent accounting, cash and bank, supplier payments, funding of developments,general accounting and financial and management reporting. We were able to make recommendations on the organisation of work, management, planning and scheduling, control procedures and systems documentation; all of which contributed to the smoother introduction of computer systems. Warden Housing Association
Commercial Seminar Computer/Systems Corporation Europe 127 For this major computer corporation, we presented several seminars on the systems implications of the Single European Market. Our presentations helped our client to explain the issues to their customers and prospects, which enabled our client to show their services and products in this area in the right context. IBM UK Ltd
Financial Services Strategic Planning Insurance Broking UK & Ireland 260 Our client was one of the UK's largest motor insurance intermediaries. Following our Corporate Planning Review we were asked to facilitate their Strategic Planning Process. The Strategic Planning Process took the form of a series of corporate and business level workshops. We worked closely with top managers to produce Values and Mission Statements, strategic plans and financial forecasts. In the latter phases we helped to produce detailed annual action plans, reflecting prioritised projects. Swinton Holdings & Newco
Civil Society Programme Financial Planning System (PFPS) External Project Review Charity UK & Ireland 305 For this major international conservation organisation, we undertook a review of their recently implemented international database system for managing their conservation programme. We consulted senior management, system users and the team that developed and implemented the system. We used a combination of interviews, documentation review and questionnaires to ensure that our review covered the various interests and concerns at user sites in the three countries currently using the system. The project sponsor said, 'the report was prepared in an extremely helpful and methodical manner, making it easy to understand, accept and implement. As a result, we have been able to make further progress in our project by adopting the review recommendations as a framework for future project activities'. World Wide Fund For Nature
Commercial Development of a Quality Management System Business Case Market Research Agency Europe 1 We were asked to prepare a business case report for this medium-sized market research agency specialising in transport studies. Our recommendations were accepted and the client subsequently asked us to assist in the development and launch of their quality management system. Accent
Commercial Project Management Software House Europe|United States & Canada 98 Our client was conducting a multi-million dollar software development for an American television network. They identified a need for an experienced project manager and called upon us for assistance. The project team consisted of 15 development staff in the UK and 2 project liaison staff in the USA. We provided the client with a fulltime project manager. One of the first tasks for our project manager was to automate the project monitoring procedures which meant evaluating project management software, selecting a suitable system and implementing the choice. The major tasks were then scheduling and monitoring the work of the team, liaising with the network staff and reporting progress to both UK and USA management. Enterprise Airtime Systems
Commercial Capacity Planning Study Manufacturing and retail Asia 175 Our client is the UK subsidiary of a Japanese manufacturer/retailer of photographic equipment. As a result of continuing service level problems, the computer department called upon us to for assistance. We collated performance statistics, identified service levels, agreed growth assumptions, defined performance measurement factors and extrapolated computer power requirements over a 5 year period and advised on the selection of a new computer system. Nikon UK Ltd
Civil Society SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Systems Accountant Education Europe 68 Our client asked us to recruit a Systems Accountant with strong communication skills and public sector experience, to assist the Director of Finance in the implementation of a management and administration computer system. City University
Commercial Business Strategy Waste Management Europe 71 The industry leader in waste management asked us to assist them in the formulation of their seven year business strategy. This strategy covered all three aspects of their business, i.e. Waste Services, Landfill and Technical Services. The strategy formulation was based on two streams of work, an internal stream, covering mission statement, SWOT analysis, critical factor definition, organisational structure analysis, resources assessment and financial analysis, and an external stream covering business environment assessment, market definition, competitor analysis and industry structure analysis. These internal and external steams resulted in the formulation of an evaluative framework for business opportunities within the waste management industry. The opportunities evaluated covered a wide range, including competing better, expansion of disposal (particularly landfill and incineration), personalisation and image (greeness). The project resulted in a clearly defined strategy based on improvement and growth planned to increase profits by a factor of four. Cleanaway Ltd
Commercial Systems Selection Review Apparel Catalogues Europe|Asia 129 For a group of companies involved with the design, production, sales and distribution of clothing we performed a review of their systems selection for management information, order entry, stock control, MRP, purchasing, capacity planning, scheduling, import control and accounting software. The group had over 20 companies in the UK and Hong Kong and had a highly developed catalogue sales arm. Our work was to add value to the systems selection procedure by providing an independent, objective assessment of their shortlisted suppliers and planning for implementation. Our key recommendations were to improve the detailed planning, rethink the complexity of the systems architecture and increase the formality of the systems specification. These recommendations led to smoother implementation and more successful negotiations with the two shortlisted suppliers. ICD/Together
Commercial Business Systems Strategy Selection Fashion Importer & Wholesaler Europe 148 Our client is the UK operation of an international ladies fashion manufacturer and retailer. A decision was made to set up this autonomous subsidiary in the UK and to move away from the third party who had administered their operations in the UK to date. We were asked to help them establish a business systems strategy within a tight timescale as the third party was withdrawing support within a month and the UK operation needed to control their buying and sales orders from this time. We produced the strategy to deadline, giving our client various options and recommendations for the short, medium and long term, taking into consideration their need for rapid uncertain growth, possible links to USA and the need for package integration. We also provided a draft systems specification and analysed the marketplace for potential suppliers. Following this we provided advice on the selection of the final system, keeping the client in line with the overall strategic development of their systems. Leslie Fay (UK) Ltd
Commercial Development of Accounting Procedures Property Company UK & Ireland 198 Our client was one of the UK regions of an international property development and investment company. A review of the accounting functions of the region had established that action was required to improve effectiveness. We worked closely with the new Regional Financial Controller to sort out accounting problems, to develop new procedures, and to improve controls and structures over the use of the computerised property management system. At the end of our assignment the effectiveness of the accounting function had been improved, staff numbers and costs had been reduced, and the accuracy, relevance and timeliness of management information was enhanced. Peel Holdings Plc
Commercial Systems Selection & Implementation Distribution Company Asia 167 We were asked by our associates in Pakistan to assist them with the selection of a computer for their client who was the largest distributor of any product in the country. We produced a requirements specification and conducted an Invitation to Tender procedure. The latter involved, because of the location, a detailed on-site evaluation of the potential hardware and software suppliers. The solution chosen was the installation of minicomputers at major regional offices with communication to head office by the physical transfer of magnetic media. The software was a bespoke/package combination and we assisted in the preparation of a phased development plan over a 3 year period. During this implementation period we provided support by telex, telephone and letter advising on planning, progress, problem resolution and documentation review. Muller & Phipps
Public Sector Review Government Department Europe 160 In a joint venture with Chartered Surveyors Fletcher King we were asked to review the options for the privatisation of the Covent Garden Nine Elms site. We considered various options including total site redevelopment and relocation after considering the needs of the market and reviewing other London market places. The recommendations included costed options for ministerial consideration. A copy of our report was filed in the House of Commons library. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Commercial Voice Mail Feasibility Study Professional Services Europe 35 As part of its move to new offices this major professional services organisation asked us to evaluate the potential benefits of voice mail for over 1,000 users. We established business requirements and outline solutions. For each solution we identified the benefits, risks and costs. Based upon our recommendations our client decided to proceed with the purchase of a voice mail system. BDO Binder Hamlyn
Civil Society SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Financial Accounting Manager Charity Europe 134 Our client is a registered charity engaged in research into the causes, prevention, treatment and cure of cancer. An income of about £50m in 1990 from legacies, investments and over 400 shops was expended primarily on research by 1500 scientists in 20 UK locations. We were asked to handle the recruitment of a Financial Accounting Manager through a programme of advertised selection. We advertised the position in the Financial Times (Thursday edition) and interviewed those respondents who appeared most suitable on paper. We then presented a high calibre short list to the client and assisted in negotiations with the preferred candidate. Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF)
Financial Services Best Execution Compliance Automation Financial Services Consortium London 370 For a group of financial services firms - UBS, Killik, Nomura, and HSBC - working with the London Stock Exchange and Hewlett Packard, we created a best execution compliance suite to prove that individual trades were highly likely to have had proper venue, time, and price execution. UBS, Killik, Nomura, and HSBC with London Stock Exchange
Commercial Selection of Clothing and Accounting Systems Clothing Importer & Distributor UK & Ireland 255 Our client is a clothing importer and distributor. Following difficulties with their existing clothing and accounting system, the client commissioned us to help them select a supplier and negotiate contracts for an alternative clothing and accounting system from a short-list of two suppliers. We carried out a formal selection procedure, helped the client through the process of selection and negotiated a suitable contract with the supplier. The client felt that our involvement in the project helped them to clarify their requirements, provided them with a logical system for making a difficult selection decision and helped them to obtain more favourable contractual terms. S U International Ltd
Commercial Strategy Visits Utilities Europe 178 We took our client, the newly appointed Head of Strategic Planning at a Regional Electricity Company to visit his counterparts in other large and international organisations in the energy, utilities and regulated business sectors. He was particularly keen to explore how other organisations addressed the unique requirements of highly regulated capital intensive industries. Accompanied UK and overseas visits were arranged, helping the client to establish useful business contacts as well as research this particular topic. North Western Electricity Board
Civil Society SpecialiZm - Telecommunications Manager Membership Organisation UK & Ireland 350 A client with a distributed structure, 12 regions, 1,400 branches, was considering the implementation of a new telephone system and associated telecommunications. Z/Yen was able to provide a Telecommunications Manager who worked with the client over 18 months to specify, select, negotiate and manage the installation of an entirely new telephone and telecommunications infrastructure, working to the Communications Director. Z/Yen’s expert brought in specific training specialists to help staff understand both the new system, but also use this opportunity to provide customer service refresher courses. He also helped our client rationalise contracts with telcos, personal digital assistant suppliers and maintenance organisations. Finally, having renewed the infrastructure, he worked with the client and other Z/Yen technology experts to set out a new strategy for mobile and home working using the latest wireless and security technologies. UNISON
Commercial Information Systems Strategy Retail Group Europe 190 Our client is a major retail group. They wished to provide new technology for retail chains that they had recently acquired. They wanted to bring the acquisitions within the group's network of systems but were unsure to what extent this was practicable. We investigated the problem working closely with the client. We analysed the various options available to them, produced cost and effort estimates for the main options and recommended a practical way forward. Orbis Services
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Financial Controller Construction UK & Ireland 304 The client was dissatisfied with the performance of the incumbent Financial Controller and wished to replace him with a more pro-active individual. The client was very specific as to the personality required for the new individual and this, combined with the absolute confidentiality required, made the recruitment process more difficult than usual. After some months of effort we successfully identified an individual who was able to start work immediately. William Steward
Civil Society Governance Review International Conservation Standards Body London, Geneva 380 The Programme For the Endorsement of Forestry Certification Schemes (PEFC) asked Z/Yen Group to lead their governance review. A key objective in the PEFC International 2007 Strategic Plan was to ensure that the organisation had effective, transparent governance in place. PEFC formed an international panel of experts, facilitated by Z/Yen. The review comprised a mixture of surveys, interviews and intensive panel sessions, followed by a report. The first recommendation of the report was that the report should be made public, in the interests of openness and transparency. More details on the review, including the report, can be found here: A key recommendation was the creation of a Stakeholder Forum. This Forum now enables PEFC to work with stakeholders which it previously was unable to engage with successfully. Programme For the Endorsement of Forestry Certification Schemes
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Commercial Director Plastics & Packaging UK & Ireland 241 Following a number of successful projects carried out for a major plastics packaging client, we were retained to identify a Commercial Director for a major subsidiary. We advertised the position and presented a shortlist which was assessed along with an internal candidate. Sidlaw PLC
Commercial Communications Review Manufacturing Europe 80 We were asked by our client to review the proposed communications system changes detailed in their document 'Relocation IT Brief and Budget'. The scope of the review included office information systems, voice systems, cabling systems and data network. Our team of business and technical consultants commented on: points requiring clarification with suppliers, areas where costs could be reduced, the need for fall back procedures and contingency plans, service level agreements and definition of roles and responsibilities. It was also suggested that the client produce a short document on their communication principles, policies and procedures. Courtaulds plc
Commercial Business Systems Strategy Retail Group UK & Ireland 295 Our client is the head office of a major retail group. They asked us to look at the various head office functions (which include retail banking, payroll, investment, legal and accounting services) with a view to planning their office systems upgrade. We considered the outline requirements of all the services and information flows. The strategy needed to consider the interrelationships between head office functions and the interface between head office and trading functions. We helped our client to identify a clear systems migration path that would allow them considerable room for organic growth and the acquisition of additional functions. Westend Client
Financial Services Review of Staff Turnover Financial Services Europe 5 This assignment with a financial services company involved running workshops with staff and managers and an analysis of the company's human resources strategies against best practice in other organisations. Subsequent recommendations included, changing the sources of recruitment, the implementation of career development, performance appraisal, wider provision of benefits and communication briefing sessions. The Airplus Company Ltd
Commercial SpecialiZm - Recruitment - Financial Controller Utilities Europe 181 We were asked to recruit a financial controller for an electricity company, following re-organisation of the finance function. The role was a new one and, as such, was difficult to define. A candidate from the original shortlist was offered the position but declined it, and the client asked us to identify further candidates. This we successfully did, and a suitable individual was offered, and accepted, the position. North Western Electricity Board
Civil Society Carbon Price Modelling NGO Europe 325 In 2009, Z/Yen Group and Tomorrow’s Company, a not-for-profit researching the relationship between business and society, published a handy “Copenhagen Price Impact Calculator” estimating the economic impact of an agreement in Copenhagen. The calculator allowed people to choose their own carbon reduction targets, price elasticity and technological innovation rates and get back electricity, diesel, petrol and aviation costs. The team provided three sample scenarios, red (current efforts), orange (move in the right direction), green (aggressive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions). The price impacts on business for each scenario were: Red – electricity prices rise 11% to 16%, expected 12%; petrol prices rise 4% to 6%, 5% expected - Orange – electricity prices rise 14% to 24%, 15% expected; petrol prices rise 5% to 9%, 6% expected - Green – electricity prices rise 17% to 36%, 19% expected; petrol prices rise 7% to 14%, 8% expected. Tomorrow's Company
Commercial Time Recording and Costing System Regional Tourist Board Europe 183 Following our work in helping this regional tourist board to prepare a business plan we were asked to define a time recording and costing system. The system was designed to provide the Chief Executive and individual programme managers with more accurate information on the actual costs of running individual promotions, publication and research programmes. North West Tourist Board
Commercial Outsourcing Contract Management Energy United Kingdom 364 Z/Yen played a major role in helping British Gas outsource its `legacy' Information Systems. In the 1990s British Gas Corporation underwent a major restructuring, demerging to form Centrica, BG Group, and National Grid, which involved introducing new computer systems for each business. The legacy systems needed to be kept running for a significant period during handover to new systems. The contract for managing the legacy systems was awarded to Capgemini (Hoskyns). With only four months to put in place a Contract Management Group (CMG), British Gas IS Change Manager Kevin Connolly turned to Z/Yen for help. Kevin recognised that it was essential to have a `core of expertise' who were goal-orientated. Z/Yen was asked to establish the IS strategy, pull together the CMG team, and develop processes & procedures. Perhaps the key decision was to show the new operating companies that they needed to work together on their legacy systems rather than hand over everything to the outsourcing supplier immediately, thus incurring excessive change control charges. Kevin Connolly explains: "Z/Yen's lively and energetic style constantly challenged us to find positive solutions while providing the knowledge and experience to help guide the contract management process. Their mission was to put in place the commercial management culture and make our contract management group `fit for purpose'. Their consultants helped us to establish policies, controls and reports necessary to manage this complex contract. Their approach enabled me to prioritise our efforts effectively and to interface quickly with the 48 members of the Hoskyns contract management team." British Gas
Civil Society Business Systems Strategy Religious Organisation London 357 Our client was made up of the collective support institutions of a large religious organisation. They asked us to review their IT infrastructure, support and organisation to identify the investment and structures they would need to deliver a high quality and reliable IT service. Each institution operates independently and each had its own priorities and financial drivers. IT had not been seen as a priority for any of the institutions involved. We carried out a risk based assessment of the IT infrastructure, and consulted widely with stakeholders, as well as benchmarking IT service and cost against relevant comparators. Our aim was to build consensus among the disparate groups involved. Our recommendations were in the form of a costed action plan and route map for IT infrastructure, organisation and service delivery, which was accepted for implementation by all member institutions. National Church Institutions of the Church of England
Commercial Standards Planning Direct Marketing Services Europe 101 Our client is a major credit referencing and marketing services organisation. They were considering seeking registration to BS 5750 in order to improve internal efficiency and respond to customer and market pressure. Having assessed current procedures against BS 5750, we helped them develop outline Quality Management Systems for their technical IT operations and sales activities. Finally, we produced a plan of the tasks, effort, costs and resources required to develop and implement a BS 5750 compatible QMS. Equifax Europe Ltd
Commercial Merger & Acquisition - Relocation Implementation Plan DIY/ Manufacturing Europe 41 For a medium sized manufacturer of wood products for the DIY and construction market we assisted management prepare a detailed, fully costed task plan for the implementation of a major relocation and merger of two manufacturing business. These businesses based in the South of England were to be transformed to a single site in the North which was previously used for manufacturing but currently is vacant and run down. We used the latest project management computer tool to assist our review of task timings and costs. BLP
Commercial Business Strategy Car Dealership UK & Ireland 247 Following our initial strategic survey and financial analysis of the group, our client asked us to assist them in the evaluation of the strategic options that they wished to pursue. Working closely with their Finance Director, we produced a set of spreadsheet models which we used to analyse several alternative strategic routes. As a result, a strategic direction for the group was chosen and a plan formulated. The Finance Director also has strategic spreadsheet models which he can use to analyse future opportunities or threats as they arise. Smithfield Monarch Group Limited
Commercial Thought Leadership Study in Intellectual Property Law Firm Europe 320 In a full-service European law firm with a major US-client base, one area in which the firm was ranked highly in Europe was intellectual property (IP), yet partners complained that the firm did not have a high profile compared to some of its competitors in the crucial US market. Our aim was to try and help them 'own the IP space' with a piece of iconic marketing that would get the firm noticed by IP professionals. We proposed an index that compared national jurisdictions in various aspects of IP. A small group of partners was assembled from each IP discipline (copyright, trademark and patents) and a questionnaire devised. We then partnered with the leading IP publication, Managing Intellectual Property and launched the survey, mobilizing contacts of the firm and trade associations to encourage members to participate. We elicited several hundred responses and launched the report in May 2008. As for results, not only was there extensive media coverage with a piece of marketing property that increased in importance over time, not only did several companies ask for pitches, but the Global Intellectual Property Index (GIPI) also won the Excellence Award for Business Development & Marketing from the UK Law Society for 2008. As the lead client noted after the awards, "several competitors were furious they didn't think of this first". The GIPI continues to thrive and GIPI 4 was published in 2013. Taylor Wessing
Commercial Reporting and Forecasting Business Training Europe 116 For a Training and Enterprise Council, we implemented a new reporting and forecasting system. The work involved preparing budgets, reviewing the chart of accounts, establishing new procedures, identifying information requirements and improving forecasting techniques. We held successful workshops, involving all seven managers of the TEC, to ensure that the new procedures and systems were understood and accepted. During the work we reviewed the use of different software in the TEC industry, including the TFS system and made recommendations for future use of IT. Herts TEC