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Building a digital business

Byron Connolly | July 28, 2015
IT heads from GE Australia, ING Direct, RACQ, and the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences discuss their drivers for digital transformation

ING Direct COO, Simon Andrews: New blueprinting methodology involves robots working on code
ING Direct COO Simon Andrews

The world has gone digital -- 7 billion people are now using around 30 billion connected devices. This has meant that businesses of all sizes need to create compelling digital strategies that improve interactions with customers.

Digital bank, ING Direct is doing just that, rolling out a single platform -- using modular design principles -- to service customers across multiple channels such as the Internet, mobile, and its contact centre. This follows the transfer last year of ING's innovative 'Bank in a Box' cloud-based test and development environment to its primary data centre.

Simon Andrews, chief operating officer at ING Direct told attendees at this month's CIO Summit in Sydney that the local operation has brought across a digital channels platform created by ING Direct in Spain.

"They [ING Spain] hosted core capabilities around analytics, content management, campaign management, and personal financial management," said Andrews.

"We have taken that across, basically cut it up into modules, and in the process of delivering it [to the business] now. The business will define what services they are and how it looks and feels but we have to get very responsive ... we need to be able to consume other services from third-parties or within the ING Group globally," he said.

But it's not just about providing modular applications that can be shared with third parties. Making sure app integration is complete right down to the middleware layer is vital, he said.

"We have introduced a new methodology for the build called 'blueprinting', which and basically it runs top down rather than bottom up and involves robots working on some of the code. They [robots] start with a template at the front end and go down," he said.

"We haven't delivered this yet but it's what we think is going to be very important because the whole thing will be a complete integration -- not just the modular components of the Web or mobile but common, shared components that you can assemble from the middleware [layer] up."

Meanwhile, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences has been through a few years of naval gazing with a restructure and staff cuts meaning that the organisations has had to get on the front foot to deploy new digital tools.

Dan Collins, CTO and head of digital media, at MAAS, told attendees that the last 18 months has been rocky. A new management team initiated a redundancy program to cut costs and MAAS lost a third of its staff roster.

"This was a challenge for us but it gave us space in a sense to look at the digital tools we were using, to make some calls on shutting down some legacy systems and perhaps not playing in as many digital social platforms that we had," said Collins.


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