Working Differently in the Digital Age

16
Jun 15
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I reflected recently on how much things had changed since I was the same age as my children.  I remember my brother and I sitting in our orange themed 1970s lounge room waiting five minutes for a tiny TV to warm up.  We would watch whatever was showing as the manual tuner made channel surfing a risky affair.  Not much changed in the years that followed.  We got a new TV a couple of years later and a third national TV broadcaster was big news at the time.  A tape deck arrived in 1979 but we still bought records for several years after that. 

Now my kids sit on their own devices, wirelessly connected to the entire world.  They happily flip through bite size chunks of content from a seemingly bottomless selection of topics.  They message friends, interact on social media, waste hours playing Mindcraft (has anyone found a solution for that yet?) and occasionally look up for some good old human interaction.

The pace of change now is remarkable.  Digital is changing everything and it’s doing it fast.  Just as digital is changing the lives of consumers, it is also having a profound impact on organisations and business models.  In this digital age, new competitors and new business models can appear fast and scale even faster – in just four years, Air BnB had more rooms available than Hilton who had been around for 93 years.  The most successful organisations in this new era will be those that are able to continuously evolve, continuously innovate and harness the creativity of their employees. 

Like many organisations, Australia Post is changing to make the most of this new era and ensure we continue to support ecommerce growth in Australia.  Over the past four years we have been investing in our technology, people and culture to change the way that we work.  A way of working that is right for a world that is continuously changing, where great customer experiences are table stakes, and continuous innovation is core to survival.  Our Digital Delivery Centre is an example of this new way of working but its success lies in three interrelated and self-supporting aspects of change that go beyond just one area of the organisation. 

Firstly, we have changed the way that we work at a team level.  Moving to multi-functional teams aligned to customer experiences and using Lean and Agile based working practices.  And we have developed a model, based on the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), to help us scale this to work involving multiple long running teams across different parts of the organisation.

Secondly, we are changing the “system of work”, or the environment, within which these teams operate.  This has seen the introduction of new innovative funding models, changes to governance models, formal recognition of experimental and iterative delivery models, and a de-emphasis of line reporting to improve organisation flexibility.

And last, but most important, we have invested significantly in changing the culture of our teams to one where curiosity, innovation and a learning mindset predominate in our people.

We have learnt a lot through our journey and still have a long way to go.  But we are proud of what we have achieved.  

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As a Service 2016

Submitted by Cameron Gough

Cameron Gough

Cameron Gough is General Manager of the Digital Delivery Centre at Australia Post.

One thought on “Working Differently in the Digital Age

  1. I’m very interested in how important a cogent case for change is perceived to have been in this transformation. If it has been, how much and what type of effort has been devoted to communicating that need to change across AP.

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