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Financial Ombudsman Service to ditch tech heads as it open arms to Workday and outside service provider

Not just the legacy HR and finance systems being booted

The UK’s consumer guardian for the financial services sector looks set to chop 38 jobs from its IT department in favour of buying Workday cloud-based HR and hiring an external service provider to support its compute plans.

Just week ago, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) launched a tender for an IT services partner capable of supporting and developing its new data warehouse and CRM systems in a deal that could be worth up to £22m. It is also set to go live in September on Workday’s SaaS finance and HR system under a £6m, five-year contract awarded in November 2020.

In a communication to the IT department - seen by The Reg - CIO Nicola Wadham said the “organisation change journey” was not over, and the team would “need to respond to changes the technology roadmap brings”.

The CIO plans to move some roles from the IT department, including some vacant positions. As a result, 38 people could be at risk of redundancy. Meanwhile, 17 new roles were set to be created to support the new structure, the missive added.

A spokesman of the Ombudsman told us that only said seven roles would be affected as part of the move to Workday.

He refused to comment on the further potential job losses at the organisation, whether team members would be able to apply for the new roles, or whether they would get a chance to do so before the organisation accepted external applicants.

“The Financial Ombudsman Service is moving to a new IT system to improve our HR and finance functions as part of our work to ensure we remain an efficient and cost-effective organisation. This change involves retiring legacy HR and finance systems. We are now consulting staff affected by this process and will continue to work with staff and their representatives going forward,” he said.

Under the ongoing tender, the winning IT services business is set to provide ongoing support, maintenance and development of the ombudsman's new cloud-based enterprise data warehouse. Currently being built on Microsoft Azure data platform tech, including Synapse, the analytics and BI platform was due to go live in the first quarter of 2022. This deadline appears to have slipped by a few months.

That cloud data warehouse is set to replace the current on-premises system built on Microsoft SQL Server, SAP Data Services and BusinessObjects, the analytics and reporting system SAP bought in 2007.

The new data warehouse system needs to be ready for September 2021, when Workday is scheduled to go live, according to a tender notice.

"The Enterprise Datawarehouse must be in place for the Workday feed by [September] as Workday is an important source of data," a market notice published in January said.

With redundancies in the air, the ombudsman might be about to find out exactly how much goodwill is needed to meet complex interdependent deadlines. ®

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