Building and construction giant, Boral,
has appointed Kathleen Mackay to the new role of head of digital delivery
following a reshuffle of its IT group led by CIO, William Payne.
Mackay was formerly GM, IT project delivery and had a ‘small stint’ as CIO
before Payne joined in January. Payne has replaced former CIO David Oxnam, who
is due to leave the organisation next month.
Mackay, who reports to Payne, is driving
Boral’s focus on improving the customer experience using new tools and rolling
out a culture that supports the use of Agile development methodologies.
In her former role at Boral, she ran a
team of around 60 staff delivering multi-year waterfall projects that she said worked
well but didn’t catch the market opportunity fast enough.
“The challenge is how do we become more
agile and more adaptable? That’s the intention of this role hellip; in digital
delivery we have more of an experience focus so there’s an experience around the
customer which sees us stand in their shoes and look at what it is like to
interact with us on our digital platforms. We have a lot of plans around how we
can improve that,” she said.
Mackay told CIO Australia that Boral is
a fortunate organisation because it “makes the best concrete in the world and
it sells itself.”
“But that comes with consequences hellip;
whilst we have a great brand, we can’t afford to be complacent in terms of how we deal with our customers,” she added.
“The construction industry is a little
bit backward [technology-wise] when you compare it to other industries like
banking hellip; and how they interact with customers, ING is a completely online
bank, you have apps for CommBank, you walk into one of the new CommBank
branches, they are all about the customer.”
Mackay was previously in various IT
roles at NAB, Macquarie Bank, and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
Much like the banks, putting the
experience more in the hands of internal and external customers is what Mackay
and her team hope to achieve at Boral.
“For example, internally we are looking
at how we make staff as productive as possible and give them the rights tools
to collaborate. We’ve brought [solutions] like Smartsheets and we’ve said to staff, ‘go and use
these things’. And we’ve just had an explosion in people coming up with great
ideas about how they can collaborate and work together better,” said Mackay.
Boral’s Mackay: “We have a great brand, we can’t afford to be complacent in terms of how we deal with our customers.”
The effectiveness of new tools was
tested when Boral recently shifted its Oracle ERP system into the cloud and
used collaboration tools to enhance communication during the around-the-clock
implementation over four days.
“And it was brilliant because everybody
could log in and update all at the same time, I could see the dashboard and
monitor progress – I would know immediately if we had issues.”
Mackay’s digital team is part of the IT
organisation and will be staffed by up to 75 people over the coming months.
“We are intending to have about 10 agile
teams hellip; at the moment most of my team are delivery-oriented. My title as head
of digital delivery, it’s not just project delivery, it’s service delivery as well.”
Outside of the digital team, Boral has
enterprise architecture and integration functions, a technical foundation layer
(infrastructure and operations), and a commercial team, Mackay said.
Mackay said Boral will be making some ‘strategic
decisions’ on technology projects it wants to move forward with but declined to
elaborate further, saying the plans were confidential.
“We are looking for a completely new breed of Boral digital people and culture. We want to attract the best and be the team that people are falling over themselves to come and work for.”
Kathleen Mackay is a member of the CIO Executive Council.
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Follow Byron Connolly on Twitter: @ByronConnolly