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AGL CIO 'flips the triangle' of IT function

AGL CIO 'flips the triangle' of IT function

Those doing networking, infrastructure and security are 'essentially waste' says Simon Moorfield

The chief information officer of AGL Simon Moorfield has described how he is 'flipping the triangle' of the energy giant's IT department, and disposing of roles that don't have a direct impact on the company's customers.

"If you think about 'the triangle' of your IT organisation, typically much of the people and work that you have is sitting at the bottom end," Moorfield told the Gartner Symposium on the Gold Coast yesterday.

"Their level of empathy and understanding of your customer problem is quite low. You have to try and flip that the other way and have teams solving problems for your customers that are very close to your business teams, I think you get a lot more value," he added.

Most roles in corporate IT functions don't touch the customer, Moorfield – who was promoted to AGL's executive team, reporting directly to CEO Andy Vesey, last year – explained. 

"Much of the IT team then – who are doing network cabling or providing IT security – is essentially waste. And that sounds very provocative I know. But you have limited capital and limited energy that your human capital can provide, and I believe we should be pushing as much of our human capital into the position where it adds the highest amount of customer value," he said.

CIOs should push "as many of your IT team up the value chain" to work with various business functions "testing and evolving and understanding customer problems and solving them there and then" said Moorfield, who joined AGL in 2015 from Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where he had been general manager products and process and acting as the CIO of CBA’s retail division.

In 2016 AGL revealed details of its $300 million, three-year digital transformation program.

The program has three core pillars: foundational capability, digital adoption and what AGL’s CEO described as “signature moments” made possible through the company’s digital investment.

As part of the program AGL committed to train the entire IT team in Agile within six months. Staff DevOps and Design Thinking skills have also been developed.

Moorfield said the "lower end of the stack" which IT departments traditionally provider like infrastructure, networking and security, "all those are becoming consumerised through cloud technologies".

"Pushing as much as you can into that space and empowering your teams to be more focused on solving customer problems, that's a big shift I'm trying to work with our AGL team on," Moorfield added.

The CIO added that he was inspired by the likes of Australian, digital service businesses, name-checking realestate.com, Seek, carsales.com and Webjet.

"Highly customer orientated in their digital delivery, and their developers will be far more focused on delivering customer value through those Agile teams, than traditional bricks and mortar organisation would be," Moorfield said.

@georgepnott

The author attended Gartner Symposium as a guest of Gartner.

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Tags NetworkingenergyvalueskillsAGLdesign thinkingcommodityinfrastructureDevopstriangle

More about AgileAustraliaCommonwealth BankCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaGartnerSeekWebjet

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