As 2017 swings into gear, Australian IT chiefs discuss their business and technology priorities for the year which include cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and customer experience projects.
UNSW chief data officer: Kate Carruthers
For Kate Carruthers, chief data officer at the University of New South Wales, 2017 will be about delivering on the UNSW 2025 Strategy, with a particular focus on implementing data and information governance and cyber security programs. This includes the roll-out of an information security management system and data clarification process.
“These are the key foundations of our strategic data initiatives,” said Carruthers. “We are also looking at next-generation analytics to support the 2025 Strategy.”
She said that smart businesses this year will be taking a serious look at how internet-of-things and big data technologies can drive growth.
“For the higher education sector, I believe that augmented and virtual reality will shift how we do education in the coming years,” she said.
Carsales.com chief product and innovation officer: Ajay Bhatia
Bhatia said 2017 will see the online organisation invest more in data science, artificial intelligence and user experience initiatives.
“All this will happen while we continue the task of evolving into a global organisation. In 2016, we launched significant parts of our platform into Chile and Mexico. I expect that 2017 will see us roll-out our platform more broadly across our global portfolio.”
Bhatia added that advancements in data science hold significant promise for Carsales.com and he expects to use advancements in these fields to further the business and experience for online users.
Aussie Home Loans general manager, customer experience and technology: Richard Burns
Burns said this year will be about using technology to drive enhancements that will improve the experience for brokers and end customers.
Increasing the speed of service will be vital, he said.
“Our responsiveness to get to a customer is a key driver for satisfaction. Using data around where customers have come from, allowing that customer [to find] a broker and ensuring that a customer is seen as quickly as possible [will be key],” he said. “It’s also about giving feedback around the quality of that interaction and doing that in real time."
Integrating more of Aussie’s data points so the organisation can see right through the customer journey will also be important this year, he said.
“We will start playing with artificial intelligence and machine learning to constantly improve – Salesforce is talking to us about some of their capabilities in that space as is Microsoft.”
Cox Automotive director, product & digital strategy: Scott Andrews
Automotive auction company, Manheim Australia and New Zealand has undergone rapid change since becoming part of Cox Automotive Australia.
“We’ve got two new software businesses we’ve added to the mix and also the CarsGuide business, which is the automotive classified business,” said Andrews.
This means that from an IT standpoint, the company needs to take advantage of cloud and mobile services and make sure it has good plans around disaster recovery, he said.
“Over the past 12 months, we’ve got better in terms of performance and robustness of our systems but we’ve got a pretty strong continuous improvement focus – we don’t want to rest on our laurels and say ‘near enough is good enough.’
“We want to continue to iterate so that our customers continue to get the best experience possible from us. We are sort of looking at downtime of any type now as completely unacceptable almost across any of our systems.”
Cox Automotives is also investigating the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, said Andrews. He said there’s an opportunity for AI to help the organisation better predict what vehicles will be worth over time.
“The potential is limitless, we are aligning with certain partners – Salesforce is one with its Einstein product. We’re very interested in where they have taken the platform,” he said.
“We know that AI, in particular, is not an internal skillset or capability – you’ve got to work with partners in this area and we rely on them not just to be educated but also collaborate with us on where they are headed.”
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