by Byron Connolly

CIO50 2016 #26-50: Richard Burns, Aussie Home Loans

Nov 24, 2016
Technology Industry

Aussie Home Loans has undergone a major business transformation over the past year that has included an office relocation, a shift to activity-based working, adoption of Agile work practices, and team restructure. The organisation has also insourced critical customer service processes and upgraded core infrastructure and applications.

CIO Richard Burns says the transformation was necessary because technology was inhibiting the business and was often viewed as a barrier to helping people achieve their goals.

“We need a completely different approach on the leadership, culture and technology fronts to turn this around. The technology group is now seen as a partner and enabler of the business,” Burns says.

The transformation impacted all business units at Aussie’s head office and has led to significant cultural change as well as defining how the Aussie team takes new initiatives to market. The environment in which the team work and how they work together is almost unrecognisable from a year ago, says Burns.

The transformation had three key objectives. The first was to insource the contact centre and implement new workforce technology to improve the focus on the end customer. The second was to engage experts in workplace design to move to activity-based working while implementing Office 365, follow-me printing, room booking system and wireless projection in meeting rooms.

The third piece was to implement a very strong change management and in-depth employee engagement process that unearthed key concerns and opportunities.

Burns has moved key components of the organisation’s infrastructure to Microsoft Azure, which has reduced the security risk of operating some of its systems, decreased IT costs, and increased the flexibility to change systems when required.

Salesforce is used to provide a single source of truth for servicing the company’s mortgage brokers. It provides Aussie’s staff with a better understanding of brokers’ key issues, helped to rationalise processes, and improved reporting.

The roll out of the Adobe Campaign has improved reporting and enabled the delivery of a centralised service for franchisees that ensures they can market to customers quickly and meet their strict compliance and brand guidelines. This is backed by a single customer data repository.

The transformation reduced the organisation’s reliance on archaic business processes and paper, increasing the mobility and flexibility of the team.

“The workplace design and technology uplift were complemented by the upgrade of several outdated business apps that drove inefficient work practices. For instance, we had three campaign management systems or multiple sources of truth for information for our brokers,” says Burns.

Burns says the physical relocation had a major impact on the team but was overcome through a strong engagement and change program, which involved champions of each business unit across three areas: culture, work processes and information.

Cultural challenges included siloed business units, different working styles, a “meeting culture” and poor communication between business units. The organisation overcame these issues by visiting other businesses that had undertaken similar transformations, and adopting a ‘one team’ approach that was adopted by the executive team to ensure customisations weren’t made that would only meet the needs of one business unit.

“Importantly, the head office team transitioned to the new environment seamlessly and were able to adopt and use the technology very quickly. This has allowed team members more time to focus on finding new ways to meet the needs of our brokers and customers,” he says.

Aussie Home Loans is a franchised business that provides a greater level of support to its brokers than its competition, says Burns. These technology and business innovations are all designed to increase the level of support offered to franchisees but still reduce overall operating costs.

“Another interesting aspect is that my team’s focus on customer and employee experience has actually helped reduce costs rather than increase them, ensuring we are creating an industry-leading and scalable business model.

“By investing in platforms that are both flexible and scalable, we are fostering a culture of change and innovation in an industry that often moves very slowly.”