Delivering industry leading application management

Financial Conduct Authority 

Transition of application management service to a flexible model built on offshore service delivery.

Challenge summary

The FCA (formerly the Financial Services Authority – FSA) needed to transform delivery of their IS Division’s technical services and applications projects.  A review suggested that outsourcing would offer a practical route to transforming the division’s capabilities.

Key points

  • Smooth transition from the FCA’s in-house Application Management Service to the offshore delivery model
  • Value for money Application Management with reduced costs and improved availability of systems

The challenge

The Financial Conduct Authority undertook an effectiveness review of its Information Systems (IS) organisation that identified a need for service transformation. The review assessed the structure, activity levels, costs and quality of service measured against market best practice. It also assessed the FCA’s existing use of third party IT suppliers for the provision of IS/IT services.

In addition to identifying a need to transform delivery of the IS Division’s technical services and applications projects, the review findings suggested that outsourcing would offer a practical route to transforming the division’s capabilities. It indicated that outsourcing could support the FCA’s objective of delivering a large portfolio of business applications as part of a programme to rationalise its legacy application estate.

The FCA believed that this rationalisation would be too big a task for the IS Division to carry out on its own and that the acceleration of business benefits could best be achieved by engaging world-class service delivery outsourcers.


The FCA sought a solution and delivery partner in line with its objectives for Application Management. These were to:

  • build a cost effective, flexible and robust delivery capability – with guaranteed delivery
  • ensure a smooth transition with uninterrupted service provision
  • progress quickly to industry leading service to the business – reusing existing experience, methodologies and processes
  • engage a delivery partner with a high quality service leadership team

As world-class experts in the processes and standards used to supply and service applications, we were selected as the FCA’s Application Management partner. This was in line with the FCA’s adoption of a Best of Breed outsourcing model. The delivery model utilises our extensive offshore capabilities. Again, this reflects the FCA’s own strategy and outsourcing vision to leverage offshore cost savings.

Crucially, a strong leadership team has been central to the success of the project with onshore and offshore colleagues encouraged to work as ‘one team’. In addition the offshore delivery team is located in a secure area in order that access to the FCA systems and data is restricted to approved Sopra Steria resources.

How we worked together

The solution sees us managing a variety of applications from Oracle E-Business Suite to bespoke systems with a mixture of technologies. While our application management service is not sector specific, the nature of the FCA requires some highly specific technologies, such as market monitoring technology, which Sopra Steria is able to provide as bespoke offerings. We successfully carried out a smooth transition from the FCA’s previous in-house Application management service to the offshore delivery model. This involved knowledge transfer for over 100 systems and was met with all transition SLA targets achieved in full. 

Results and benefits

The FCA is receiving value for money application management with reduced costs and improved availability of systems. We have established a robust delivery capability that is evidenced by four and a half years’ delivery without a single missed or failed service level agreement. The model is also cost effective for the FCA and has productivity built into the price. This ensures that Steria is continually looking for new ways to improve productivity levels.

Our reputation for innovative and flexible pricing is reflected in this contract with a commitment to price reduction over the length of the service. After four years this had delivered a 43% reduction in the cost of the service along with a 30% increase in the number of software enhances applied to legacy systems at no extra cost.

Service flexibility ensures that we can meet the FCA’s needs for any emergency legislative changes. It also allows Sopra Steria to support other FCA Application Development Framework partners. For example, our application management support team is able to use enhancement days to apply minor enhancements, such as additional interfaces or integration, to support the development of new solutions being delivered by the other ADF partners.

The outsourcing of its IS services represented a major milestone in the transformation of the FCA’s information systems.