Australia Post is helping to transform service delivery while also becoming more customer-centric. We spoke with Andrew Walduck, Executive General Manager, Trusted eCommerce Solutions at Australia Post, about the biggest challenges and successes in creating digital services for customers.
Australia Post is an extremely large and complex organisation. What do you see as the final result of digital transformation across Australia Post?
We have been on a transformation journey over the past few years with an aspiration to become one of Australia’s leading eCommerce and internet age companies. A critical part of this transformation has been enabling the digitisation of the organisation and specifically making it easier for our customers to interact with us.
Ultimately, we are moving from being a network-centric business where we’ve historically delivered to addresses to a customer-centric business, where we deliver to a person. Our focus has been on enabling that service to be a seamless and frictionless experience that customers will advocate for, and while we’ve come a long way, we still have more to do.
What have been the core activities in implementing digital services?
Our focus to date has been around fundamentally changing how we create products and go to market faster. We have spent a lot more time growing our customer insight, research and ideation capabilities.
At its core has been a commitment to delivering better value for our customers. This has involved spending more time listening, learning and adapting to customer needs. And observing their experiences to make their lives easier.
What was the biggest challenge you faced and what steps were taken to overcome it?
I think one of the biggest challenges organisations face is creating an environment and culture that encourages and embeds innovation. Ultimately, it’s people that drive change, not infrastructure.
Managing change is a core competency of our people and leaders at Australia Post. It is not something deliberate that we do, but is more an appetite for improving how we work, how we get better for our customers and how we respond faster to the needs of our community.
We have spent a lot of time building a culture that prioritises adaptability, where teams are empowered to manage uncertainty, learn and evolve. For me, a creative culture is critical to building products and services that create new value for customers – and this starts with an insatiable appetite for learning and the courage to try new approaches.
What have been the biggest successes of your digital transformation to date?
Ultimately, we’ve transformed the way we approach digital product development and delivery. Over the last three years, we’ve built an internal digital ecosystem, having hired some of our industry’s leading developers and dev/ops capability, to provide a one-stop-shop to help every part of our business develop digital products and solutions for online and mobile.
We have also integrated our various customer databases to enable a single view of the customer. Over 50% of Australia Post’s interactions are now digital, and over half of these via mobile. We have now over five million registered customers, and just under half of our total revenue is digitally-enabled.
Importantly, we’ve also embedded a new customer-centric framework and method of working that’s driven by what our customers will advocate for. Our focus is on improving experiences at the point where customers make decisions on how to interact with us. This could be starting on mobile, the Web, or in some cases on a third-party website, where our APIs or organisation’s capabilities are enabled inside another organisation’s experiences.
For us, it’s about balancing both digital and physical experiences in a way that’s consistent and occurs at the times most appropriate for our customers.
So far have you experienced any changes to your business processes due to digital transformation?
Changing how we work has been a continuous focus for us, and specifically disrupting our processes constructively to devolve decision making and accelerate the growth of our new businesses.
We have transformed our postal network to strengthen our core offerings around delivery. For example, enabling our posties to scan parcel barcodes at the point of delivery and at our post offices. As well as the introduction of parcel lockers that provide added choice and convenience around parcel collection.
We have co-located teams, rolled out customer experience training and introduced new methods of development such as internal hack days and scaled agile delivery. We have also shortened our planning horizons and made changes to how we fund, govern and deliver on strategic programs to enable us to develop and get products to market faster.
The recent launch of our MyPost Apple Watch app is one example of an initiative that arose out of a two-day internal hack and was released within weeks. Another example is the recent launch of our new SafeDrop feature, which allows you to opt to have parcel deliveries left in a safe place if nobody is home to sign for them. This involved us bringing multiple teams, systems and operational processes together to deliver in just seven weeks – less than a third the time it would take traditionally.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to others about to undertake new digital implementations?
My advice would be to focus on solving your customers problems, not just your own. This may result in working with partners to build propositions that drive great customer uptake and usage of your products and services.
A significant focus for us now is on how we better partner with industry, government and our community to better support, incubate and accelerate ideas and help create new digital opportunities we haven’t yet imagined.
I see innovation as more than just having an idea. And it’s not about separating digital from transformation more broadly. It’s about the ability to carefully plan and partner with others to execute in a way that creates value and will make a difference. I think many organisations have lots of ideas but not always the ability to execute on them well. What’s important is to acknowledge everything that makes you great, while recognising the capabilities required to drive the future.
About Andrew Walduck:
Andrew Walduck joined Australia Post in January 2012 to help drive the digitization of Australia Post and build a great customer-centric company.
As Executive General Manager, Trusted eCommerce Solutions, he is responsible for the creation, operation and expansion of Australia Post products and services, trusted by Australians to connect people, businesses and governments to each other and the world.
The Trusted eCommerce Solutions portfolio includes physical and digital identity, payments, financial services and digital communication solutions for consumers, small businesses, large corporations and government agencies.
Prior to his current role, Andrew led Australia Post’s Information, Digital and Technology team as Chief Information Officer.