Life on the land in Australia


KPMG’s Richard Marrison image www.ozrural.com

KPMG’s Richard Marrison . . . ‘If I could actually harness, extract, harness, maintain and access all of the knowledge that we have in our global organisation at the time I need it that would just be utopia.’

We all know the story: you obediently give all your information to the robot over the phone, including your account number and password, then after an interminable wait, a human comes on the line and asks who you are and wants your password again.

Then you’re transferred to another human who wants the same information. It’s enough to drive the most well balanced consumer up the wall and halfway across the ceiling.

At the recent Growth as an Enabler of Technology roundtable jointly held by The Australian Financial Review and KPMG, the big question was if ­Australian business is digitally ready. Its ­conclusion: we’re getting there.

Richard Marrison, Partner in Charge, Technology at KPMG, told the ­roundtable there was much mileage to be made on just effectively using the basic data held within an organisation about an individual customer and ­making sure that this is shared ­consistently across all channels.

“We’ve all been on the end of a phone where we’ve put our customer number in on the phone and the first thing they ask you is: ‘who are you?’ It’s things like that, that really quickly detract from the ­customer ­experience,” he says.

Marrison says timeliness was crucial to creating a data utopia.

“If I could actually harness, extract, harness, maintain and access all of the knowledge that we have in our global organisation at the time I need it that would just be utopia. I think it’s getting information out of people’s hands and into some kind of structured mechanism to access I think is the dilemma that any big firm has,” he says.

“Much of the data work that’s been done has been around a better ­understanding of the performance of the business and about managing of the risk profile of the business.

“If you really look at what’s been done tangibly, that’s where the investment has been. However, the intent, everyone will tell you, 80, 90 per cent of people will say it’s now about turning this data around to enhance the customer experience. There is a fundamental shift in what the data is going to be used for.

national broadband symbol image www.ozrural.com.au

Client experience

“The challenge then becomes how do firms provide real, valuable insights in real time and then how do I deliver it to the part of the organisation that’s ­interacting at the customer at the time they need it in the way that they need it,” Marrison says.

“Practically, that’s what everyone’s working around. So if I’m dealing with a particular customer in a retail perspective and I know this customer is behaving in a particular way, that they’re of a particular profile; that they’re asking about information about a particular product?

“How do I analyse all of that ­information and then make suggestions and prompts back to the person or the piece of technology that’s interacting with them, to say well maybe try this or maybe adjust it this way or maybe do this or try this.

“There’s a lot of investment going into the delivery mechanisms of insight. So as I say, I think people have got lots of data. They can draw lots of insights from it but then how do you deliver it to the different parts of the company?”

Karsten Lehn, executive director at the office of the Fair Work Ombudsman says government generally has become more technologically savvy.

“From a consumer perspective, I think the expectations are that ­sometimes the client experience is the point of differentiation,” he says.

“There’s really not much more. There might be some price variation but I think increasingly it is becoming [service experience] and it is a competitive advantage if you’ve got it and if you don’t you’re going to lose your customers, because switching is becoming easier.”

Some caution

He also sounds a warning about putting information about Australians on the cloud – especially on the ­government side.

“We need to be cautious about putting data into the cloud and ­particularly Australian data; if that’s going overseas we have issues around that and the ability for other countries to potentially take that data, which is not theirs, so we won’t use cloud ­services overseas,” he says.

“There are constraints that imposes. As we see a maturing of the service framework in this country, I think the ability of government to be more ­nimble will increase.”

Lehn says government departments have quite substantial IT infrastructure setups, personnel, a whole range of things supporting those operations. “The question is that providing the best bang for buck or do you get more ­efficiency by putting that out into a cloud? I think as the cloud ­environment matures we’re going to see a continuing shift.”

He says the government has to strike a balance between spending money on technology and serving the community.

“The application market is one where we hear demand for some of ­government services on apps, but it’s a big step for a government agency to go into the app space,” he says.

“Plenty have done it but that’s a very dynamic environment. There are a ­couple of key platforms now and in the future there might be another three or four – alternatively, the two that are dominant now might not even be there.

“Investing in that type of technology approach from a government perspective has to be treated with some caution, because as you say, at the end of the day we’re investing taxpayers’ money into services that we’re returning back to society. So it’s got to be value for money.”

Henry Sapiecha

November 28th, 2014

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