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Case Stena

Business Technology Operating Model transformation improved the business’s IT
co-operation and operational excellence

Photo by: Stena Group IT

The Stena Sphere includes the three wholly owned parent companies Stena AB, Stena Sessan AB and Stena Metall AB. Stena AB, is one of the world’s leading shipping companies in the maritime areas of passenger traffic, bulk transport and cargo transport. Stena AB also operates subsidiaries in the real estate, recycling industry and in green energy. Stena is one of Sweden’s largest family-owned companies. In 2022, Stena employed around 17,200 employees and the group turnover was over 53 billion SEK – close to 5 billion euros. Stena is headquartered in Gothenburg and is a member of the Combient Network. 

Stena Group IT is a centralized function that employs around 200 IT professionals. It manages the IT service delivery and shared IT resources for the group companies. Stena Group IT was in a need for a more comprehensive way to manage end-to-end IT development and service operations to ensure high quality operations and value delivery for Stena businesses. 

Setting the vision

In the fall of 2022, Stena Group IT had identified a need for a step change in the IT operations management, there was a clear intention to move into a more structured IT service delivery organization. The way Stena Group IT had earlier delivered services for businesses had not been standardized, resulting in a situation where the business didn’t fully see the value in IT operations and was unaware of the services available. The unclarities in roles and responsibilities had led into a situation where the services delivered to businesses were very dependent on individuals and came with an increasing personnel risk. 

Stena Group IT had set an ambitious vision of the target state. In the future, the Stena Group IT would be a true service delivery organization that runs the IT services 24/7 and 365 with high customer satisfaction. The Stena Group IT would work according to the same operating model and the other businesses would also know their role in the model. Stena Group IT would also be able to communicate the services clearly and understandably for all stakeholders. 

“We set a clear mission and vision for Stena Group IT,” says Patrik Andersson, Stena Group CIO. “We wanted to reach a state where Stena businesses consider us as strategic partner for business technology development and where we deliver efficient and effective IT services – with the right set of capabilities, clear responsibilities and operating model that brings transparency and efficiency into the operations.” 

As the Stena Group IT wanted to leverage a best practice model instead of re-invent the wheel for IT operations management, Business Technology Standard was a natural choice. 

Designing the new operating model: an evolution, not a revolution

From an IT service delivery perspective, Stena Group IT is operating like any other service delivery organization. That’s why the Stena Group IT management didn’t want to start from scratch, but instead wanted to utilize a best practice model and adapt it to Stena’s environment. As Patrik Andersson was familiar with the Business Technology Standard and its operating model concept, the choice was easy. 

Stena chose Sofigate to help in designing the new operating model based on the Business Technology Standard framework. Together with Stena Group IT management team, the basis for the new way of working was created in a few months. “The collaboration with the IT management team worked seamlessly and the people were very well engaged in the work,” explains Juho Nevalainen, Executive CTO, who led the design work with Sofigate’s team. “Stena challenged us the right way to make the model fit their situation, but at the same time they were very open for the model and our best practices, which made our work very rewarding.” 

After the design phase, the new model had to be taken into use. “The aim was not to change the way of working completely for everyone. The aim was to put in place the foundations to make sure that lives up to the business needs in the future. This is an evolution, not a revolution,” Patrik Andersson summarizes. 

To ensure rapid implementation of the new way of working, Stena Group IT formed a Transformation Office. Sofigate’s team supported the Transformation Office during the first six months with change communications, key stakeholder engagements, specifying the new operating model with detailed adjustments and organizing trainings. The new service catalogue was also a priority as Stena was implementing a new platform for service management. 

Jakob Åkerlund, Sofigate’s transformation lead, underlines the importance of close business collaboration as well as change management activities. “The balance of running fast and pacing business-as-usual highlights the importance of common prioritization.” 

The Transformation Office put a lot of effort in communications through various channels, engaging with IT personnel to ground the new way of working and facilitating both common training sessions and role specific trainings. The trainings were well received: the average grade for trainings was 3.6 on a scale from 1 to 4. Altogether over 40 Stena employees participated in on-site trainings about the new ways of working and the feedback was good. “Best training I’ve ever been to,” as one of the participants commented. 

Early signs of success: clarified responsibilities and improved satisfaction at work

The intensive engagement period paid off and Stena Group IT’s new operating model was implemented successfully while training sessions and e-learning courses continue to support change. The operating model is a comprehensive package that combines the whole way of working into one; a model for capturing new needs for development, project model for managing development activities, governance model for steering the development, service catalogue for IT service delivery, support model explaining how support is organized as well as descriptions for roles and responsibilities. 

What’s even more important, the transformation is clearly happening already, even though the change in ways of working takes a long time. Throughout the journey, pulse surveys among the IT personnel indicated that the new operating model is well received and understood. The new roles have already clarified the responsibilities among the Group IT in daily work and improved satisfaction at work. 

“Business Technology Standard framework has provided a solid basis for our new operating model. Stena Group IT management team witnessed strong engagement from all stakeholders – both IT and businesses. We’ve made a big change already in short period of time in our operational excellence and employee experience and I feel we’re on a right track going forward.”

Patrik Andersson, Stena Group CIO

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