Permanent - Full Time
Job title: Solutions Architect
Reports to: Head of IT Systems
What are we looking for?
As part of Withers' continuous drive to innovate, we have recently launched a multi-year programme of work – the Way We Work programme - which will review and augment how the firm operates globally in order to optimise fee earner efficiency and ultimately deliver the best service to our clients. This will be achieved through a combination of reorganisation, process improvement and the better use of technology, including the digitisation of assets and processes.
The Solution Architect role is a new role for Withers, and will be responsible for leading the definition, documentation, selection and communication of new and updated technology solutions. Although this is a new role, solution design and technical assurance is currently carried out across technology teams and IT leadership. This role is being introduced as a dedicated role in order to support the Way We Work programme, although the role would be wider than this and would also support other technology and business initiatives across the firm. This role is particularly timely due to the current growth in Legal Tech and in technology-led innovation, coupled with increased expectations of both our staff and clients.
The Solution Architect will work in close collaboration with the Business Architect to identify solutions which meet business challenges and opportunities. They will utilise their knowledge of Withers' existing IT capabilities as well as possessing a broad knowledge of other relevant and emerging technology to help and shape new solutions. Withers' technology is predominantly COTS, although development – predominantly by external suppliers – is used on occasion where commercially available solutions do not materially meet requirements.
As this is a new role for Withers, the candidate must be a self-starter who is able to work proactively to establish and demonstrate the value of the role, in line with industry best practise, including establishing the architecture standards and governance frameworks which will ensure that their role is successful.
A key part of the role will be working with stakeholders across the firm – both in and out of the IT department – in order to define business-aligned solutions, and hence the individual must possess excellent stakeholder management skills, have the gravitas to instil confidence in senior (executive-level) business stakeholders, and be able to manage conflicting points of view in order to drive consensus-based solution decisions.
A very high level of personal organisation and professionalism is required in this role, together with a 'can-do' attitude and an ability to work to tight deadlines and under pressure. This person must inspire a positive work environment and help champion quality, innovation, teamwork and service to the business.
Areas of focus and responsibilities
- Establish the Solutions Architect role within Withers, pragmatically implementing an architecture framework and governance model which balances best practice against the rapid delivery of demonstrable value.
- Utilise architecture best practices (such as the Architectural Development Method (ADM)) to ensure a consistent and governable approach to architecture within Withers.
- Work in close collaboration with the Business Architect and Business Analysts to analyse requirements in order to identify and define opportunities to deliver business value through technology, to determine fit-for-purpose solution options, and to drive solution decisions backed by strong business cases.
- Work with Chief Information Security Officer, Business Systems Team, Global Systems Team and Project Management Office to ensure that all delivered solutions are consistent with agreed standards and deliver maximum value to the firm.
- Propose suitable options based on aligning the strategy with requirements and measurable benefits fully understanding the implications of options and decisions.
- Production of technical solution designs for assigned projects and gaining acceptance and approval from internal stakeholders.
- Analyse the current architecture to identify weaknesses, identify opportunities to increase value, develop opportunities for improvements and recommend new best practice approaches.
- Stay abreast of and provide expert advice on technology and application trends. Feed into the Head of IT Systems and the IT Systems technology strategy.
- Ensure that IT application capabilities, where practical, are consolidated in order to increase the value of IT to the firm.
- Responsible for the end to end design and integration of custom built and off the shelf applications in use in the Withers environment.
- Championing the technology strategy with a hands-on understanding of how this can be applied to solutions.
- Oversee the technology elements of vendor and product selections to meet technical and business requirements.
- Review and approve vendor provided technical specifications and designs against Withers standards, roadmaps and policies.
- Create technical architectural documents for custom built applications or integrations.
- Act, where necessary, as the Technical Lead or Technical Design Authority until appropriate time to hand over to assigned SME's for IT projects
- Where appropriate includes design of test systems to prove architectural design sanity.
- Ensure a collaborative approach for solution design across all areas of IT, including IT Systems, IT Business Systems and IT Service Delivery.
- Lead technical workshops, participate in project meetings or stand-ups to review and present architecture designs or communicate technical requirements.
- Ensure the strategy, architecture, standards and roadmaps are communicated and understood by the relevant teams.
- Provide architecture support and guidance for Withers' IT teams and external vendors.
- Using knowledge, assist IT Systems and IT support teams to ensure that new services are effectively delivered, understood and supported against business requirements.
- As part of solution handover, use knowledge to assist SME's in any handover capacity.
- Work with IT Change and Release team, IT Training Team and internal comms team to ensure that user training and adoption is considered as part of design and change.
This list of duties and responsibilities is not exhaustive. It is intended to describe the general content of, and requirements for the performance of this job, and as such, the role may also include the undertaking of additional tasks as required.
- Able to work closely with senior (to executive level) business and technology stakeholders, demonstrating the gravitas and presence to inspire confidence and influence actions
- Strategic-level thinking, able to work with the Global IT Leadership Team to define and influence strategic decisions in order to optimise IT services and capabilities delivered to the firm
- Enthusiastic and approachable: able to collaborate with and motivate people across different teams and with different backgrounds to fully engage and to work collaboratively to deliver solutions
- Engaging with diversity of thought, recognising contributions and concerns from members of the firm – team members and stakeholders – from all backgrounds
- Strong attention to detail in order to ensure that technology solutions and responsibilities are delivered to a high standard, and that decisions are based on sound justifications supported by data
- Excellent analytical troubleshooting skills with the ability to resolve problems methodically and logically
- A proactive self-starter who will actively seek out innovative opportunities to deliver value, whilst ensuring alignment to the overall IT strategy and priorities
- Adaptable to rapidly changing work conditions, as the Firm, the IT team, and the technology environment grow and evolve
- Strong commercial approach, ensuring that services and capabilities deliver maximum value for money
- Flexible approach to working hours, in order to accommodate global interactions and IT changes / incidents, when required
Skills and experience
- Graduate or equivalent in a numerate subject (IT or related)
- Demonstrated success over 5+ years in the role of Solutions Architect in a law or similar professional services firm. It is expected that the post-holder will have relevant architecture qualifications
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills to all levels of seniority
- Excellent influencer, able to gain support from diverse stakeholders in order to guide strategic and tactical direction
- Strong analytical problem-solving skills with the ability to methodically and logically draw conclusions
- Able to support the estimation and planning aspects of business cases and implementation plans
- Able to negotiate demand and priorities with stakeholders
- Past hands-on experience in delivering products and services, including proactive vendor management and negotiation
- Demonstration of having identified and delivered technology innovation which delivered tangible business benefits
- Demonstration of extensive knowledge of current issues and trends in IT, particularly for the legal industry, including security, data protection, etc.
- Excellent working knowledge (desirable) of legal IT systems including, but not limited to,
- Windows 10, and Office 365
- networking technologies
- remote connectivity technologies – e.g. Citrix and dual-factor authentication
- document management system – iManage or similar
- time management/recording systems – Elite, SmartTime or similar
- practise management systems – Elite or similar
- customer relationship management systems – InterAction or similar
- collaboration technologies, including video and audio conferencing
- mobile devices including iPhone
- Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:30pm, but flexibility is a must and occasional after-hours work will be required
- 12 week probation period
- 12 week notice period
- Competitive benefits package including pension, private medical, season ticket loan, subsidised gym memberships, lifestyle discount scheme and more.
About Withers Worldwide
Withersworldwide has been acting for successful individuals, businesses and institutions for 125 years. We advise clients on their business, personal and philanthropic needs both at home and abroad. In this fast moving and increasingly regulated world the need for integrated and timely advice has never been more urgent.
We are recognised as the leading international law firm for successful people. With offices in Europe, Asia, the United States and the Caribbean we provide coverage across the world that other law firms focussed on the individual cannot. We have represented 70% of the Top-100 ‘Sunday Times Rich List’, as well as a significant number of people listed in the US (Forbes) and Asian (Hurun) Rich Lists.