Application & Solution Manager


Application & Solution Manager

Business Area: IT

Place of Work: Liverpool

Contract Type: Permanent

Hours: Full Time

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has circa 396,000 members, and over £60 billion in assets, we’re one of the largest private pension schemes in the UK and in the top 50 worldwide. Established in 1974, we’re entrusted by over 350 higher education sector employers to manage and administer the pension scheme and its investments through our two companies, Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited and USS Investment Management Limited.
Our purpose
Working with Higher Education employers to build a secure financial future for our members and their families.


The role
Working within the Business Systems support team the purpose of the role is:
• To work closely with USS business systems owners and 3rd party Suppliers within the Group and Pensions business, to ensure that business systems are fit for purpose, architected and developed effectively, and that business requirements and agreed solutions meet their business needs and strategic criteria
• Provide technical expertise and knowledge to drive the future business systems strategy, and identify application design and integration challenges and opportunities, working with Enterprise Architects, technical specialists, 3rd party Suppliers and Business owners to resolution
• Management of the Microsoft365 collaboration applications across USSL and USSIM, including application strategy and platform choice, application design, application delivery, application standards, and governance, and operational support
Key responsibilities
Application & Solution Management
• Ensuring appropriate technical challenge and expertise is applied when looking at new and existing business system applications and solutions, whether this be in BAU or change, ensuring systems meet business needs and requirements and stakeholder needs.
• Review and undertake solution design options from a build vs buy approach for new and existing application requests, providing recommendations and options
• Engagement with 3rd Party suppliers to understand product roadmap and applicability to USS, to understand and perform detailed reviews of product architecture and development standards, and to ensure that 3rd Party systems are fit for purpose and align with USS strategic intent
• Engaging with Business Change Management forums and Design Authority to ensure designs are aligned to Enterprise Architecture principles and business and technology strategies
• Reviewing technical design specifications for respective Group and Pensions systems to ensure the application design aligns with USS technology strategy and Enterprise Architecture principles.
• Collaborating with Enterprise Architect function, including input to Design Authority, product roadmaps, maintaining oversight of applications and collateral to enable this
• Ensure consistent delivery of high-quality services and/or solutions which meet USS business users and technical requirements
• Responsible for ensuring architectural and application management collateral is updated in line with changes
• Provide leadership as the solution/product owner for existing in house developed Microsoft 365 applications, setting the standards and ensuring all members of the team are delivering to the highest standards
• Product owner for Microsoft 365 collaboration software, ensuring clear roadmap and strategy is in place for the applications
• Supporting and contributing to the change initiatives resource estimates and costing for Microsoft 365 application development

Application Platform Strategy
• Ensuring USS application strategy aligns with Microsoft software roadmap, including cloud, low code programming and web service development (API).
• Responsible for creating and maintaining the collaboration platform strategy and roadmap
• Ensuring any USS applications developed in open source code has the appropriate governance and controls, and keeps up to date with the industry
• Delivering technology that empowers business users to maintain applications themselves and deliver strategic objectives

Technical Leadership
• Be the escalation point for technical system issues, assist in the root cause analysis of problems and own issues in critical situations when required.
• Provide strategic and tactical leadership across new and existing Business Systems Suppliers, whilst also taking an active role within the development of the solutions.
• Building an application solution design community, including internal business stakeholders and 3rd party technical specialists
• Act as the technical mentor to the M365 application team, ensuring that designs and technical specifications are visible to all team members
• Provide quality control and peer review for M365 application and Business Systems development, offering guidance where needed
• Engage with Business areas and project teams to empower and facilitate the handover to technology teams, with a focus to enable operational support
• Encourage a positive and professional team ethic, maintaining standards and promoting a pride of ownership
• Be approachable to both technical and business areas

Managing Processes & Architecture principles
• Where required, support wider IT functions when adopting best practise guidelines for solution design and delivery approach
• Understanding how all parts of the business model work including processes, technology, and
application architectures.
• Ensure best practice is adopted and alignment with Enterprise Architecture principles with M365 development (e.g. build or buy, code repositories, solution documentation, alignment with latest Microsoft industry applications and standards etc.)

Relationship Management
• Identify and develop effective working relationships with key internal stakeholders and with external suppliers
• Engage with a wide range of stakeholders including project teams, IT specialists, architects, Information Security, business users and management
• Strong knowledge and experience in software development and/or designing and building web API solutions and integration into 3rd Party solutions, engaging with 3rd Party providers and business stakeholders
• Demonstrable experience in technical solution, design, build and delivery
• Good understanding of the pension and finance industries, or other regulated industries, gained through experience
• Experienced customer and business service focus and attention to detail, with demonstrable experience in business engagement and stakeholder management
• Experience of working with third party IT companies/suppliers
• Experience and background with use of DevOps from a software development framework perspective
• Experience in designing and building platforms on premise or cloud e.g. Azure, AWS, GA
• Experience of design, build and delivery with Azure cloud applications i.e. logic apps, function apps, DataVerse
• Must have some project management or software delivery experience
• Experience in managing resource demand and capacity
• Experience in Product Ownership / Product Management
• Proven skills in analysing and delivering against diverse business requirements
• Experience is managing a development team highly desirable

• Educated to degree level in an IT related or other relevant subject, or equivalent knowledge gained through experience
• Microsoft certified or relevant knowledge in Azure, low code programming and/or web service development (API)

USSL is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We recognise the diverse lifestyles and priorities of our employees and have reflected this in in the company’s Flexible Working Framework, which, wherever possible, supports employees to find a balance that works for them whilst ensuring we always put our members’ interests first.

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