Women in Architecture Spotlight – Heidi Alison

Featured in this week’s spotlight is Heidi Alison, Program Director, of Suncorp Group.

Heidi is an experienced and qualified transformation leader with a business architecture background, delivering tangible business results for her clients for over 20 years, in London, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

She inspires others to drive change and helps stakeholders to understand and deliver what is possible through new technology and operating models with a strong customer focus and deep business understanding.

We were Interested in her perspective about being an architect, so we reached out for thoughts on several key questions.

Question: How did you get your start in the industry?

Answer: I initially studied Commerce and Management Accounting and loved the strategy and management subjects and found myself less motivated by financial accounting as a profession.

I was returning home to Australia after a decade of contracting in London, mainly in Retail and Investment Banking and was looking to level up and build on the skills and embark on a new career.

Enterprise Architecture roles caught my eye and shortly after I returned home and completely by chance, I met most of the Enterprise Architects in Brisbane at an IT contractor event, where I met a few people who are still both mentors and friends, to this day.  One of these people just happened to be running an EA study group which I joined.  The rest is history!

This event changed my career path, network and friends and I am forever grateful.

Q: What is your current responsibility and what is your typical day like?

A: I spend most of my time talking to business leaders and stakeholders to deeply understand what challenges they are facing in achieving strategic goals and understand not only the why, but also the impacts this has on customers, employees, and the bottom line.  I coordinate and design a future state and then package work to achieve this into projects to manage to delivery.  The way I perform at work is just as much about change management and governance as it is about architecture, delivery, risk and technology.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I’ve recently transitioned from vendor architecture strategic advisor to client program director.  What’s most exciting about this is the accountability and leveraging skills I have as part of a broader role, leading design through to delivery in context of change required for a business need.

I still perform consulting architecture activities as a function of a broader role and get to be involved when the business is ready to change and get to see this from end-to-end, which is incredibly rewarding.

Q: What trends in architecture are you looking out for the rest of 2023 and 2024?

A: I’m excited by the capability maturity available for zero-touch automation and process mining.  This can transform enterprises to be truly data-driven, extending beyond decision-making and into data-driven operations.

Q: What is one thing we can do to support or increase the women in architecture?

A: I encourage everyone to ‘pay it forward’, none of us got here all on our own and I have had so much help along the way.  Stay humble and help others on their journey,

Make yourself available to answer questions, suggest different books, associations, courses, and connections.  Support others on their journey.  Advocating for others doesn’t diminish your skills, network, or value, it’s part of being a successful leader.