Key questions to ask before embarking on a business transformation

Vodafone lists the five areas to focus on, and cites organisations that got it right, at this year’s Future:Now event.
Tony Baird, head of networks; Russell Stanners, CEO; and Grant Hopkins, enterprise director, Vodafone New Zealand.

Tony Baird, head of networks; Russell Stanners, CEO; and Grant Hopkins, enterprise director, Vodafone New Zealand.

What is the gap between an amazing transformational deployment of mobility versus buying a lot of devices? What is the difference between transformation and just adopting technology?

These are just some of the key questions Vodafone and its partner organisations put forward at the Future:Now in Auckland this week.

Organisations from different sectors such as the New Zealand Police and beverage firm Frucor are highlighted among the organisations that have shifted their business processes and adopted mobile technologies.

Russell Stanners, CEO of Vodafone New Zealand, says the NZ Police had this view of the future: they need to get more support for people in the field, not the police station.

Vodafone is delivering smartphones and tablets to police officers, and it is estimated each officer will gain 30 minutes per shift. This is the equivalent of 345 frontline officers and additional 520,000 hours a year.

“It has transformed the way they interact with the public,” says Grant Hopkins, enterprise director at Vodafone New Zealand.

If a police officer pulls over an individual, the latter will show them instead a paper variant of the driver license. The police can than key the data into an iPhone. The driver then asks if they will be able to check a photo from the files, and then confesses that the license is not his.

“The police are now being connected real time and far more interactive on what they are doing,” says Hopkins. “They are moving into the contemporary space, the same environment they are interacting with.”

“We see more innovations coming in that space where the tools are available on the front line,” says Hopkins. One example is Frucor Beverage, whose products include V and Pepsi, that has changed the ‘route trade’ or how it sells the products to dairies.

Frucor provided its sales representatives with iPads loaded with an app that provides them vital information on the customers like previous transactions, and sales of similar products in nearby stores.

Tony Baird, head of networks; Russell Stanners, CEO; and Grant Hopkins, enterprise director, Vodafone New Zealand.
Tony Baird, head of networks; Russell Stanners, CEO; and Grant Hopkins, enterprise director, Vodafone New Zealand.

“That has led to a big transformation,” says Hopkins. During the average of seven minutes a call per customer, the sales representative can talk about the performance of the store relative to another store that carries the same products.

“They are turning the transaction from an order taking business into order making,” says Hopkins, as the sales representatives are seen as partners in growing the business.

Another frontline innovation it is working with is with the call centres at the Inland Revenue Department. Stanners says Vodafone has been involved in ‘evolving’ IRD’s call centres. For instance, one million IRD customers are now using voice ID authentication, and this has reduced internal call transfers by 80 per cent.

The client will just state a name and address. The system recognises the person, says Stanners. "It is much more personal, more effective, no more remembering your mother’s name," he says, as users do away with passwords.

Stanners says Vodafone is also setting the standard with what businesses can do with technology right in its own headquarters that is being built in Christchurch. The project shows the company’s commitment to lead in building the new business centre following the earthquake in 2011.

“It will be the most technologically advanced building in New Zealand,” says Stanners of the facility that is scheduled to open in early 2016 in Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct. The building will be completely wireless, and staff will use their smartphone as security pass.

Can you react swiftly to any imminent threat?

Vodafone NZ enterprise director Grant Hopkins lists the following five questions for organisations to answer as they assess whether they are a “ready business”.

This means they are efficient, customer centric and connected, able to make the most of any emerging opportunity and react swiftly to any imminent threat, he says.

One: How ready is your organisation or business?

“Are you ready to handle the expectations the modern workforce demands, with the greater flexibility in where and how it works? There are plenty of concerns: How can my data be compromised? What will happen to the productivity of my team? Will my team feel isolated or detached and how do I manage that? How do I change my IT and HR Policies to support this?”

Two: What transformations are happening in your industry?

“Do you need more flexibility, resilience, scalability, security, better insight and control? How will you use these things to stay ahead of your competition?” In the UK, for instance, customers can buy insurance on the basis of the way they use their vehicle.

What transformations are happening in your industry?

Grant Hopkins, Vodafone

Three: Are there transformational opportunities for your organisation or business? What problem(s) are you trying solve?

“To transform your business or organisation you might look to reduce your overall property costs or footprint, remove duplication, or mobilise processes and deploy apps. Often our customers can end up adopting new business models or, in some cases, creating new revenue streams altogether.”

Four: Your staff use remarkable apps in the consumer world. Have you asked them what parts of your business would they improve?

“Innovative ideas can come from anywhere within an organisation. Canvassing staff in the change process has many benefits and gives them some ownership of those changes.”

Five: What processes could you simplify or change?

Hopkins says some of their customers customers remove unnecessary manual processes or duplicated technology. But it is also important, he says, to get their feedback on what processes that could be changed entirely.

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