CIO spotlight: Glen McLatchie of SkyCity

CIO spotlight: Glen McLatchie of SkyCity

This CIO’s success calls for a balancing act in the era of unceasing change - transforming the ICT function in an organisation that is facing a raft of disruption

How do you get data out of a customer facing application and put that in the hands of an employee, who is actually going to do something with it? And then, use that data to change customer behaviours and have an impact on the bottom line?

Focusing on the right things

“We’ve made a conscious decision not to be too distracted by the shiny things until the time is right. The temptation to focus heavily too early in the transformation on web and mobile customer facing solutions is super high.

This is certainly the glamorous side of our roles, the area everyone wants to play in. And the area you can quickly demonstrate progress.

But how do you get data out of a customer facing application and put that in the hands of an employee, who is actually going to do something with it? And then, use that data to change customer behaviours and have an impact on the bottom line?

This is the complexity of it, really getting business benefits out of collecting information from customers and all interactions. That is a much deeper process, more strategic, complex, harder, and far less glamorous.

Don’t get me wrong, you need to have a good web and mobile digital plan and capability to deliver, and we have that along with innovative technology trials such as robotic. But you also need to have a technology foundation that can utilise the information in a way that impacts the bottom line.

I had a recent conversation with a US-based global company, which has recently deployed a lot of smart devices into the hands of their customers.

The devices cost millions of dollars and provided vast amounts of data, but to date have provided no revenue return, nor do they have a way of utilising the data. When asked the question if it made a significant difference to the customer experience – the response was, ‘not really.’

My point is that it’s critical that a full business architectural view is taken so that the total technology picture is understood, along with dependencies to drive revenue improvement inclusive of organisational change." 

Communicating ICT’s goals across the organisation

"Recently, we held an ICT showcase, a technology trade show for our Auckland employees.

We were getting feedback from within the company that people didn’t really understand what was going on in ICT. They could see there were more people being employed and our budgets were going up.

There was a limited view of the total programme. In most cases this was limited to the upgrade of end user computing and workforce mobility, or their patch of the business, but they could not see the big changes. Nor did they understand the significant investment that had gone into our aged infrastructure and cloud services.

We needed to give them a holistic view of what ICT was doing. I wanted people to feel and touch the new systems, look at a rack of servers, and understand what it meant for our security posture and highlight programme dependencies.

We wanted to show the complexity of the change right across the business.

The event was open for everyone, and we held it in our Auckland convention centre.

For the business, it was a new experience looking at what we do every day.

We had them log in with their employee card. We then captured who they were as they walked around and displayed their employee photo with their details on a large screen. They asked, ‘why am I up there?’ That was an interactive way of showing them our new facial recognition software.

They were able to pick up a scanner that will be used by the new supply chain management system. And use the fingerprint system for logging into the new rostering system.

Again, it is a different way of telling the same story. You talk to the board and executive and they understand why we need to do a transformation programme. But we needed to bring that understanding four to five layers down the organisation.

And we did that, we had people from our production area, kitchens, the dealers, security teams, finance teams, everybody across the business.

They got excited about the future, and that was the biggest thing.”

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Tags strategyskills shortageCIO roleagilecareerbig dataBoardteam buildingwomen in technologyskycityaucklandCIOS and the boardcontinuous learningleadershipGlen McLatchie

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