Auckland Transport is boarding the digital transformation train, seeking to appoint a panel of Agile specialists to support "a customer centric way of working".
AT, which designs, builds, maintains and upgrades Auckland’s transport infrastructure, joins a host of organisations wanting to do things differently, to speed development and rollout and to focus on the customer experience.
Auckland utility Watercare and banker Westpac also outlined their digital transformation ambitions at the recent IBM Watson Summit in Auckland. Unisys is helping NZTA transform while Genesis Energy, reporting its results this week, emphasised its Agile capabilities - and their impact on the company's bottom line.
"In the retail customer area of our business, the implementation of new technologies has resulted in call volumes falling and self-service transactions increasing," said Genesisi chief executive Marc England.
"Our agile workplace culture is working to redefine products and experiences for our customers, building on our position as the only company that can offer its customers bottled LPG, natural gas, and electricity on one billing platform."
According to McKinsey, Agile is no longer just a methodology for software development but has become a critical capability for companies to respond to customers.
In AT's case, the new panel will support the organisation's new "Customer Central" hub, created to establish a more rapid, collaborative project delivery model focusing on what the agency calls "customer problem statements and outcome focused delivery".
Panelist need to deliver some or all of a range of skills, including design thinking, lean user experience sprint facilitation, high fidelity interface development, time-boxed, collaborative and co-located work and expertise in data and analytics as well as coaching, testing and integration.
Agiile skills transfer, however, is a big part of the agenda, with AT seeking a measurable increase in experience design and Agile skills within Customer Central, which aims to deliver "great customer experiences quickly", and across the broader organisation.
Presenting at the IBM Watson Summit last week, Watercare appeared to be in the early stages of its transformation.
Like many organisations, Watercare is finding it is being measured against the "last best experience" a customer has had from any organisation. That has become the minimum expected.
Paul De Quaastenient, manager IS portfolio and project management office at Watercare, outlined the challenge Watercare faces as a result Auckland's growth. He said in one week, 825 new residents arrived and 344 new homes were built. A new street was created every two days.
"Watercare needs to plan and build for that and get ahead of the growth," he said. "In addition, customers expect to engage any time, any where and on any device."
A changing technology landscape - including smart devices, IoT, cognitive computing - means Watercare also needs to get smarter with technology. Current ICT infrastructure is not the platform that will take the utility into the future.
Working with IBM over six weeks of collaborative design thinking, helped create a visible and transparent transformation programme.
IBM digital consulting leader Peter Johnston said the fundamental challenge for Watercare was how to shift from being an engineering-based company to a customer services company "without letting the good stuff go".
"We need to set up this programme differently," he said.