The cornerstone of Suncorp\u2019s pivot to put the customer at its centre has been the launch of its new app, bringing together Suncorp\u2019s products and services in one place.\n\u201cThe app brings Suncorp\u2019s strategy to life in a very practical way for customers, making it easier and more rewarding to connect to and navigate the full suite of Suncorp\u2019s brands, products and services, in addition to those of third parties,\u201d explains Sarah Harland, the company\u2019s chief information officer.\nWhereas previously customers of Suncorp\u2019s brands \u2013 which include AAMI, APIA, Shannons, GIO and Suncorp \u2013 interacted on a transactional basis, such as with a policy renewal or to make a claim, now they enjoy a \u201csimple, personalised and empowering experience.\u201d \nPowering the app are 380 RESTful JSON APIs that encapsulate core legacy insurance, banking and data capabilities, exposing them as consumable micro-services. Cloud-based, scaled API infrastructure securely manages the data and APIs for internal and external consumption, creating seamless access to products and services across the ecosystem.\nMeanwhile, an API-enabled OAuth2 identity architecture pivots away from legacy, siloed brand and product-based authentication to a unified identity delivering a more holistic understanding of the customer.\nApplying machine-learning tooling using Python, H2O and Apache Spark, combined with personalisation logic and the latest techniques available via gradient-boosted machines allows for \u2018next best action\u2019 capabilities, \u201cprompting customers with timely and contextual offers and experiences to more accurately meet their needs,\u201d Harland says.\nArtificial intelligence is also used to provide customers with spending analysis and indicators of their financial health, with assistance for users to navigate their financial assets, ask questions, obtain quotes and access products provided via an in-house developed chatbot.\nTransforming ways of working\nThe app required a \u201ctransformational change in the way we worked internally,\u201d Harland says, \u201cmoving away from the development of bespoke infrastructure and processes by business and brand to the delivery of a single, integrated customer experience\u201d.\nBehind the app sits \u201can open platform of connected digital, data and partner assets\u201d established by Harland\u2019s Technology, Data and Labs teams in collaboration with business partners and customers. And all in less than a year.\nTo achieve this, the teams benefitted from mature Agile practices being applied at scale, as well as enhancements to the way the company carried out design, planning and governance, which proved especially beneficial in the latter stages of the project \u201cwhen all components were orchestrated to produce the final product.\u201d\n\u201cCore technology and business teams defined and built core APIs while digital teams designed the customer experience and built experience APIs. All came together with strong leadership and effective communication across all stakeholders maintaining a common objective and focus on the end customer experience,\u201d Harland adds.\nThroughout the process, Harland worked hard to raise \u201cawareness and appreciation\u201d of Technology, Data and Labs teams within the business \u201cto build influence and enhance trust with stakeholders.\u201d\nThis was done through frequent town halls and online videos and in-person meetings, to share the divisions\u2019 strategy, successes and learnings.\n\u201cTaking the time and opportunity to reach out to other areas of the business and collaborate openly was critical,\u201d Harland says.\nAdaptive influence\nHarland\u2019s ability to effectively influence leadership and bring colleagues along on the transformation journey is a skill learned from working in the UK and US.\nMoving to a US-based role in the early noughties, Harland found the \u201copenly challenging, egalitarian, American style of leadership\u201d in stark contrast to that she had experienced in the UK.\n\u201cI had grown accustomed to researching and thinking through problems independently and then giving direction to team members to carry out instructions, knowing that the success or failure of any project would ultimately sit with me,\u201d Harland says.\n\u201cMy American colleagues, conversely, were highly collaborative \u2013 easily reaching across organisational lines and layers to seek out the best idea, generally with a disregard for hierarchy. Opinions, feedback, instructions and input were given directly by superiors, peers and direct reports alike,\u201d she adds.\n\u201cI realised quickly that to be effective I needed to adapt my style to the culture and behavioural norms of my new situation if I were to lead a transformation successfully.\u201d\nShe quickly adapted \u2013 openly asking for feedback, engaging with colleagues to develop strategy and asking others to help influence the organisation on her behalf.\n\u201cI developed enormous respect for this style of leadership and have become a much better leader as a result. That experience helped me to integrate in Australia where I have brought my technology skills as well as building my ability to adapt to different cultural situations,\u201d Harland says.