Case study

How Keller unlocked strategic conversations with shorter, sharper reports

“The Board and I have found the new reports to be clear, well-balanced and of high quality, giving us the right level of information we need to shape our thinking and actions."

~ Peter Hill CBE, Group Chairman, Keller Group - As quoted in the Keller Group Annual Report and Accounts 2023

Key takeaways

  • Shorter and more impactful board papers
  • More focused and strategic conversations
  • Improved communication and decision-making throughout the group

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Keller is the world’s largest geotechnical specialist contractor, helping to build everything from schools and hospitals, to football stadiums and metro tunnels, and is part of the FTSE 250 index.

What did Keller want to achieve?

Keller has more than doubled in size in the past 10 years, employing 10,000 people across 19 business units and 40 countries. 

As the group has grown and become more complex, so too has its board pack – making it increasingly difficult for board and committee members to understand performance drivers and add value. 

Our meeting papers weren’t articulating the challenges and opportunities in the best way, or really answering the questions that our directors were asking.  We needed help to make things crisper and clearer, so the board could work more effectively.

~ Kerry Porritt, Group Company Secretary and Legal Advisor, Keller Group

With the group still growing, this had to change. Board and committee members needed papers that could cut through the complexity, give them a holistic understanding of performance, and stimulate more strategic discussions. 

The governance team also recognised that writing board and management papers was consuming far too much management time, and the output was ineffective. This was a significant opportunity to free up valuable time and work more efficiently. 

When we worked out how many hours we were spending writing and editing papers every year, it was shocking. It was then a no brainer that we needed to do something radically different.

~ Kerry Porritt, Group Company Secretary and Legal Advisor, Keller Group

How did we help them?

Having made several attempts to address the issue internally, the governance team wanted to try a different approach. 

Over the years we have tried to improve the quality of our board papers, but there’s only so far you can go with an internal exercise.

~ Kerry Porritt, Group Company Secretary and Legal Advisor, Keller Group

Keen to deliver long-lasting change with a growing and geographically dispersed community of report writers, they chose to implement Lucia, Board Intelligence’s management reporting platform.  

Lucia harnesses the power of technology and AI to apply the Question Driven Insight (QDI) Principle to reporting. It’s a methodology for upskilling management to deliver clear, concise, and compelling papers that are full of insight and focused on what matters.

Lucia, and the QDI Principle, have been rolled out to Keller’s senior management team and their direct reports. 

Now, when they write a report for the board or executive committee, they can benefit from Lucia to do so. With its AI-powered nudges and prompts, it helps them to paint a holistic and balanced picture of performance that delivers forward-looking insights, and which answers the questions that matter most to the board and executive committee. 

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It’s brilliant to have a tool that gives you consistent reminders, that pops out a best practice template and a set of questions based on the kind of paper you want to write.

-Kerry Porritt, Group Company Secretary and Legal Advisor, Keller Group

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What impact did we have?

Lucia has helped report writers to produce shorter and more impactful board papers that are helping the board to have more focused and strategic conversations. 

It’s also improving communication throughout the group – helping information to flow more effectively and robust decisions to be made more quickly. 

And it’s helped the board to clarify what matters most to them – forming a clearer and better articulated view on what information they need, why they need it, and what questions it’s helping them to answer.  

When people use Lucia to write their board papers, it impacts the reports they're writing elsewhere too – for their boss, team, customer, the regulator. It's an opportunity for everyone to upskill in how they write and communicate.

-Kerry Porritt, Group Company Secretary and Legal Advisor, Keller Group


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