The value of transparency for CIOs

Andrew Matuszczak, former CIO/CTO at Wesfarmers gives his thoughts on what giving everyone access to a central source does for a company’s transformation.

According to Wesfarmer’s former CIO/CTO Andrew Matuszczak there are many companies out there that have spent a lot of money doing things on the shiny frontend and not dealing with the backend problems.

During a discussion with Andrew White, ANZ Country Manager at business transformation solutions provider at Signavio, Matuszczak said those things are coming to light.

“The winners here today are the ones that have taken on the big challenges and dealt with those parts of the problems, worked with their backend technologies to bring them up to real-time, to being easily accessible and integratable,” he said. “And that’s why the bigger online vendors are extremely successful at the moment because they’ve got that in place, and this is a great opportunity.”

He points to Commonwealth Bank’s release of a credit card to compete with Afterpay as an example.

“They’ve had to change that whole model, and disrupt their own backyard,” he notes. “You look at the retail footprints and what’s happening in Melbourne today. How many businesses are there that have had to diversify into something completely different to meet the demands?”

Different meanings

Transformation is many things to many people but from my point of view, for any organisation, transformation should be around putting the customer first, and the customer first is from every type of experience, notes Matuszczak.

“Whether you’re going to a physical counter or whether that be ringing a call centre or going on a website or through a mobile app or any other electronic means,” he said. “That landscape is changing too, because you have to think about more than just your mobile app and your website because we now have this concept of marketplaces.”

Matuszczak points out UberEats as a prime example of a marketplace for restaurants, which in turns becomes a part of a community that enables other things.

“You have to think about all those different channels and all those things to do with the customer and the way that you’re going to deal with that,” he said. “It’s customer journey at the end of the day, customer journey has been called out for many years, and then mapping that through your business process into your organisation and looking at what needs to happen to improve that customer service at the end of the day.”

The old world of having manual processes, come undone very quickly when you merge these worlds because they are not catered for large volume, they are not nimble, not agile, they are generally not understood.

“You have key person dependencies,” Matuszczak said. “Transformation has to look at more than just technology – which then becomes an important part by the way.”

While newer, more nimble technologies are out there, the whole concept of organisations sitting there and saying they want to go with proven technology shows they are “too scared to take on new technology”.

Matuszczak said companies are asking what its target stakeholder operating model? And the answer would be, it’s better to ask, “what’s our current stakeholder operating model?”

“This is a better question because many organisations especially the larger ones don’t know the answer to that. That’s why start-ups and the nimbler shops can adjust and can pivot quite quickly,” he said.

Single source of truth

Although everyone wants to talk about data — an important aspect – they need to know their customer.

“You want a single source of truth, you need to know the relationships and interactions that occur across the customer journey,” Matuszczak notes. “But you also want to know what the process is and how your business actually works.”

What makes start-ups agile with only 30 people is that smaller teams make it easier to understand how the place works because they can speak to anyone around how it works.

“If you’ve got 3000 or 5000 people it becomes fairly diluted,” said Matuszczak. “There’s always that special way you do something for that particular customer or this particular customer – and that’s what throws the process out.”

Having that single source of truth and having a way to document that truth in platforms that are integrated and are easily accessible and driven and understood and have management buy in.

Culture drives transformation

Some organisations have multiple instances of this stuff, and a new project comes along they become a disruptor because they want another tool set that does this.
“We are great at producing tools for problems rather than matching the problem to a tool. Most organisations have tools that can do this stuff, but we just build complexity on ourselves and then we can’t get cut through to get the end results,” notes Matuszczak. “Which ultimately means the customer satisfaction goes out the window because they are stuck within this realm of stuff that people don’t understand.”

He relayed how he has worked in organisations that have process mapping tools and yet still have people that will go and do a Visio first and when they agree with everyone they go and translate into whatever the corporate system is.

“I mean why? That means through that whole stage of iteration, of improving or getting an understanding of it, no-one else can have a view of what’s occurring because it’s stuck in someone’s Visio file,” he states. “It’s really important to get this stuff on the table and get transparency into it.

Culture is what drives ultimately transformation in the organisation, it doesn’t matter who it is. It doesn’t matter how much reading or how many meetings they have, nothing gives better insight into the customer experience than sitting there and listening to agents taking calls from real customers.

“Before I’ve joined the organisation, I’ve already looked at their website and mobile app and I’ve tried to purchase something,” said Matuszczak. “This whole concept of doing synthetic transactions – an old term now – everyone talks about how we need a tool for synthetic transactions. No, what you do is you get real people testing your own service by signing up as a real customer.”

Organisations need to understand what they’re differentiating experiences are.

People are time poor and so everyone assumes you want online, quick, all those sorts of things. Pre covid people went to five-star restaurants versus a food court or a drive through, because of a different shared experience.

“You want quality food, you want service, you want to feel like this is something different,” said Matuszczak. This is no different. You need to think about those on the call centre experience, whether it’s online, the website or mobile app, airlines did this well with regards to tiering.

You had platinum, gold, silver, you have different attributes attached to different levels of service. Organisations have now swung the other way where one size fits all and Matuszczak knows why it’s because of volume, but there is still a market there for differentiator experience.

“I think the right process tool, mapping tools that we can put in place with those dimensions that allow for that is what will be differentiators for those who can drive something that is a slightly different offering that is a premium in the market,” he said.







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