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HCF, hummgroup, Commonwealth Bank And Riparide Talk Sustaining Digital Transformation [Innovation Circle 2022]

How do you maintain a culture of innovation that contributes value to your business, regardless of economic or industry volatility? Salesforce ANZ’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr Gayan Benedict, shares the best insights from Innovation Circle 2022 featuring IT leaders from HCF, Commonwealth Bank, hummgroup and Riparide.

When you get a roomful of IT leaders together, there’s both buzz and trepidation about the business tasks they face. Never before have we wielded such significant organisational technology budgets, enabling us to bring to life new innovative capabilities faster than previously possible. And while this increasingly entitles IT a seat at the decision-making table, there’s never been bigger expectations of the results we’re expected to deliver.

So at this year’s Innovation Circle I asked the question, ‘As IT leaders, are we doing enough?’

Gayan Benedict

Are we making interactions with our businesses as inviting and personalised as they were before digital changed the game? Because that’s what people want. 

Matching these expectations is especially hard when times are uncertain and consumer behaviour can be quickly swayed by macro forces. Success in the new economy will depend on leaders that can adapt, continue to invest in innovation, rapidly respond to developing evolving requirements, and do so with an elevated security mindset. Success tomorrow depends on your effective preparation today. 

HCF, Commonwealth Bank, hummgroup and Riparide span some of Australia’s largest sectors. The IT leaders behind each business have embedded innovation into their processes to tackle new problems. One unique characteristic shared between them is a continuing focus on IT accountability to deliver business value.

We are accountable for business outcomes, while they are accountable for implementation outcomes to continue testing, learning and evolving. Together, we are nurturing new ideas and bringing change to seemingly immovable business processes.

Here are some key session takeaways on embedding innovation into your business to ensure sustainable digital transformation.

HCF: ‘Structure your IT governance to bring people along’

HCF is Australia’s largest not-for-profit healthcare fund. Operating in a highly competitive industry offering an intangible product, they’re focused on building consumer trust – something HCF calls the experiential delivery of ‘uncommon care’. 

As HCF’s Program Director & Community Lead – Enterprise Digital (Online, Mobile App and Salesforce), Anand Banerjee’s goal is to improve all member touch points across the business – physical branches, online channels, call centres – to be as efficient and consistent as possible. 

“These [healthcare] products you don’t touch and feel they’re all trust based, right? So our frontline staff go over and beyond to help our members, we broadly call it ‘uncommon care’. But instead of making it one off or person dependent, or making it frontline staff dependent, how can we make it consistent? How can we make it system driven?”

Anand explained the digital transformation process that HCF has been on in the last few years that focused on three streams of activity; platform migrations away from legacy systems, expanding shared services across the business, and change management. Anand says the latter – getting everyone on board to new systems and ways of working – was a core tenant of the transformation program, and was also the key to success for HCF.
Hear how HCF managed the transformation and IT governance across their people, processes and technology and ultimately empowered over 700 frontline staff. Watch the full HCF episode on demand.

Commonwealth Bank: ‘Times are always uncertain, so keep looking long-term’

To put it lightly, the market backdrop for financial service players like Commonwealth Bank is complex: spiking inflation, supply chain issues, talent shortages, increased competition and a fall in consumer trust towards traditional finservs.

So it begs the question: how do you build innovation into your business and justify the ongoing investment of time and resources? 

Commonwealth Bank’s Executive General Manager – Digital Economy, Adam Clark, believes it comes down to the ‘why’ behind innovation. Adam believes innovation should be customer focused and he particularly called out the opportunity that came from the Consumer Data Right.

“You can have platforms and programs that are secure, but also allow you to innovate and drive productivity and value for the consumer.”

Watch below how Commonwealth Bank is using the Consumer Data Right to continue innovating securely.

Clark outlayed the competition they face from new finservs players to the digital payment instruments from big technology companies like Apple and Amazon. He says the speed of competition forces Commonwealth Bank to reassess what the customer wants and innovate. 

The challenge is creating an efficient structure for innovation to happen and a culture of value around it to ensure continued investment.

Hear Adam Clark discuss why it’s easy to value innovation because we’re always in times of change, and how to ensure organisational discipline around prioritising long-term success over short-term goals. Watch the full Commonwealth Bank episode on demand.

hummgroup: ‘Security is crucial to fast innovation’

hummgroup is a finserv player that has busted into the industry with its buy now, pay later (BNPL) offerings. The intuitive platform is attracting financial-savvy consumers and businesses, turning hummgroup into market leaders in Australia and abroad, while generating over $1 billion transaction volume in Q4 FY21. 

hummgroup’s Head of Architecture Andy Barnes says the next level of growth will come from global expansion – requiring them to modernise the BNPL platform to achieve “speed to value” and grow from low presence to market leading solution in record time.

But he knows that each new market will have different product needs and financial regulations. Therefore their ability to innovate fast and securely is absolutely crucial to scaling the business in a consistent way.

Andy says this is why a solid and stable digital platform like Salesforce has been crucial to scaling quickly in new markets and establishing zero-trust frameworks within its information architectures. 

“We’re a BNPL provider, but we also do credit cards and other interest bearing products. So we are regulated and we have to do our PCI DSS [Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard] and PII [Personally Identifiable Information], and all the good stuff. We really like to build security from the ground up and embed it within our organisation.”

Hear Andy explain how hummgroup builds zero-trust architectures into their digital foundation to support fast, scalable business growth. Watch the full hummgroup episode on demand.

Riparide: ‘Innovate what you can, when you can’

Some see travel accommodation as a simple roof to put over your head, while others like Riparide see an opportunity for a chance to provide fulfilling moments in nature.

As an online bookings platform for hosts and travellers, Riparide’s unique proposition is the use of tangible data to capture the intangible experiences, working towards using a data filtering system to help you find what you’re really looking for –  search ‘peacefulness’, ‘joy’, ‘rejuvenation’ and more.

Paulo Goncalves, Head of Host Supply & Expansion, says it’s this edge that kept them connected with their audience when pandemic restrictions put a country-wide pause on travel. When bookings stalled, Goncalves’ team pivoted quickly to what they could impact: optimising the backend host onboarding process and continuing to connect emotionally with audiences.

“So there were two areas that we focused on. One was improving our onboarding mechanisms and flows”.

“We were able to be a lot more nimble with our engineering resources. They weren’t spending as much of the time on the heavy lifting of infrastructure, can focus on things like feature development which is what they like doing.”

“On the other hand, we knew that customers would be itching to get out and about as soon as they were allowed to. And so we really worked hard on inspiring them throughout the pandemic and giving them hope through our marketing machine.”

When restrictions were lifted, Riparide was prepared to support thousands of new bookings.
Hear Paulo give advice on having the tools to build fast when the opportunity arises. Watch the full Riparide episode on demand.

Create an Innovation Circle of your own

The span of industries that these leaders represent – including healthcare, financial services, travel and hospitality – signifies that innovation should be a valued, consistent priority for any business, even amidst uncertainty, or rather, especially amid uncertainty. And we’re thankful to be able to support such a community of IT leaders  in sharing their approaches to innovation within their diverse organisations. 

Watch every episode of Innovation Circle

Read more:

Gayan Benedict VP, Customer Advisory & CTO

Gayan is CTO and Vice President of Customer Advisory, Salesforce Australia and New Zealand.

More by Gayan

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