Andrew Johnston: Professional Consulting Services

Key Competencies and Experience

An enterprise and solution architect with over 30 years’ experience, I have a passion for solving business problems through the creation of innovative solutions. Analytical thinking, extensive cross-domain knowledge and an ability to focus on both the big picture of a complex, connected portfolio and issue details provide insight into problems. Strong technical leadership, communication and influencing skills help drive the design and delivery of solutions which meet business needs, perform, and actively enable change.

Key Competencies

Analysing complex problems and finding innovative, enduring solutions

  • Developed and promoted an integration architecture for National Grid which survived several generations of system evolution, allowing major system replacements and rationalization with minimal impact on other systems, significantly reducing costs.
  • Guided Accenture to rectify early performance and reliability problems with National Grid’s Field Force Solution, which then delivered business value for over ten years.
  • Delivered an agile shelf-edge ticketing solution for Marks and Spencer despite severe constraints on platforms, networks and a Y2K application change freeze. New solution reduced key business process from over 14 days to a few hours.

Communication and technical leadership

  • Rescued the development of TRW’s idWorkshop programme from near cancellation. Analysed weaknesses in the prototype system, applied lessons and patterns from very different business and technical domains, and guided an international team to evolve it into a commercial offering with required scalability, reliability and usability.
  • Provided technical leadership in the migration of National Grid’s business systems to new “private cloud” data centres, co-ordinating multiple partner organisations and developing tools, standards and techniques used across the programme.
  • Articulated and promoted the vision for National Grid’s work and asset management portfolio, to drive a strategy of dramatic system rationalization and modernisation.
  • Acted as Design Authority on that portfolio for several years, understanding and communicating multiple complex interactions, reviewing and coordinating the work of several development partners to preserve and improve the architecture’s integrity.

Software development and project management

  • Designed a secure but flexible network architecture for National Grid’s Smart Asset Management initiative, providing an appropriate balance between strategic control, tactical innovation and long term flexibility and security.
  • Ran the procurement exercise to establish the hardware solution for that programme.
  • Developed working prototypes of several solutions, including innovative components in National Grid’s integration environment, and the idWorkshop Knowledge Base. Repeatedly demonstrated ability to quickly adopt new technologies and environments.
  • Devised a new way to document and model complex Enterprise Data Architectures.

Key Experience

The following are key points from my more than 30 years’ experience. Since 1994 I have worked as an independent consultant and MD of Questa Computing Ltd. servicing multiple clients, some concurrently.

TRW Inc / id Information Systems Ltd. (May 2014 – Present)

Programme architect for web-based portal/on-line diagnostics for automotive aftermarket. Amazon Web Services, Oracle WebCenter, Microsoft, Linux and open source technologies.

National Grid Plc. / IBM (1997 – 2014)

Wide-ranging support for this major UK and US energy transportation utility, including IT Strategy, solution architecture, enterprise integration, asset, document and mobile field force solutions, portfolio design authority, architect role development, data centre migration, major systems procurement. Wide variety of technologies, including VMWare virtualisation, multiple generations of Oracle toolset, Microsoft and various mobile client solutions.

British Energy Power and Energy Trading (February – June 2007)

Requirements, future architecture and project direction for the Retail Spine (wholesale energy sales to the UK’s biggest power consumers).

Marks and Spencer Plc (May 1999 – June 2002)

Development of the “Ticket Shop”, an agile muti-country, multi-lingual platform for shelf-edge ticketing. Microsoft technologies including VB, SQL/Server and ASP.NET.

Faith Footwear Ltd. (May 2000 – November 2001)

Strategy study, development of a data capture network for Business Intelligence.

Oracle UK / BSkyB (June 1998 – March 1999)

Reliability review for this first interactive digital television service platform, including development of modelling toolset. Development of testing processes, training delivery.

Livingston Rental (as an Associate of Sema Group) (March 1995 – January 1997)

Legacy porting to Unix/Oracle. Stock information replication. Remote monitoring.

National Power (July 1994 - March 1995)

Introduction of code control & automated test tools, development standards update.

Eurotunnel Plc. (1989 - 1994, Permanent, Development Support Manager)

Development/QA standards, IT procurement and contract negotiation/management, supplier and internal QA reviews, creation of integrated development environment.

Digitus Ltd. (1986 – 1989, Permanent, Managing Systems Engineer)

Development of shipping, treasury, property management and oil trading systems.

Racal-Decca Advanced Developments Ltd. (1982 – 1986, Permanent, Senior Engineer)

Study and development projects in satellite communications and navigation.


1979 - 1982: Lancaster University. B.Sc. (Hons) 1st Class in Physics. 1972 - 1979: Chepstow School. 10 'O' Levels, 4 A Grades at 'A' Level.

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© Questa Computing Ltd. 2014
Page last updated 01 June, 2015 12:16

Questa Computing Ltd. is registered in England and Wales number:2889117.
Registered office: Ember House, 35-37 Creek Road, East Molesey, KT8 9BE UK
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