Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has partnered with MuleSoft to help facilitate its goal of becoming a customer-first organisation through digital transformation.
The self-funded regulatory body selected MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform as the foundation for an extensive business transformation, following its decision to adopt Salesforce as its core CRM platform for all internal processes and customer service interactions. The Mulesoft technology enabled the QBCC’s IT team to ensure data could flow more seamlessly between Salesforce, the commission’s existing legacy systems, and its customer engagement channels.
“It allows all the data captured in the forms to be passed directly to Salesforce,” QBCC’s executive director of customer service, Bruce McGregor, said. “This was a key capability that reduced processing overheads and assisted to streamline the entire workflow involved.
“From an architectural perspective, Mulesoft allows what I think can be best described as connecting the spaghetti. What that means is I can get to market quicker, because it enables us to get to data from all our disparate systems, so I can offer our services better to meet internal and external customer expectations.”
McGregor said MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform also decreased the complexity of connecting to disparate systems and applications, on-premises and in the cloud for QBCC.
“This was a critical component for enabling us to fully take advantage of new technologies, such as Salesforce, and shift to digital channels to service our customers in new ways, without having our IT team start over each time,” he added.
Leveraging digital to empower a customer-centric culture
The QBCC has undergone a significant digital transformation as part of efforts to shift from regulatory watchdog to customer-centric services provider. Formed in December 2013, the QBCC sprung out of the former Building Services Authority and a parliamentary enquiry to bring into play a new board, a new commissioner and a revamp and restructure led by a customer service focus.
According to McGregor, digital was quickly recognised as a core part of a transformative customer service strategy.
“Customer service now is at the forefront, as opposed to previously, when the commission was more of a regulator and enforcer,” he said. “When we formed, it was very much about making sure we had customer service top of mind. The regulatory aspect is still very relevant, but the way we go about doing that would be completely different to how we had done it previously.”
McGregor said the QBCC’s strategy from the outset was simple – to make it easier for its internal customers to come to work and do their job every single day.
“It wasn’t just about a digital transformation, it was about a cultural transformation,” he said. “It’s about trying to get a typical government organisation to be customer-centric. For us, it’s not about a digital journey, it’s a customer service journey. Digital is just a part of that service offering you provide within an organisation like ours.”
Reaping the rewards of implementing smarter systems
As one of the first steps in the transformation project, the QBCC redesigned its dispute processes. This involved re-engineering the way in which customers lodged information using digital smart forms and how the data was subsequently processed internally.
As a result, the QBCC saw an increase of over 165 per cent in the accuracy of data received from customers. It also resulted in efficiency savings by reducing the time required to review cases by approximately half.
In addition, QBCC’s customers are now interacting on digital channels three times more than traditional channels. By leveraging digital more, the cost-to-serve for key transactions are reduced by up to 80 per cent.
“These dramatic improvements have been incredible and would not have been possible without the connectivity support provided by Anypoint Platform,” McGregor said.
The QBCC is now one-third of the way into its full digital transformation project, and McGregor expected the Commission’s full transition will take place this year. Work is already underway on redesigning the insurance systems to take advantage of the new Salesforce platform.
“We still have some legacy systems and we’re still on our transformation journey,” he said. “But we’re managing a Salesforce experience and co-designing to make the internal and external customer service a lot easier.”
McGregor said his close relationship with his organisation’s CIO has been instrumental in driving the overall digital transformation project forward.
“He is still highly accountable and working closely with partners like MuleSoft to find how new technology can be leveraged as part of our overall digital strategy,” he said.
Are organisations suffering from digital culture shock?
MuleSoft’s founder and VP of product strategy, Ross Mason, spends a lot of time with customers internationally. Speaking at a press lunch, he noted companies are now realising they need to have something in place to cope with the massive change in expectations from consumers and their business partners.
“It seems to be a global phenomenon that people are actually suffering from digital culture shock,” he said. “They know they need to do something, but they don’t exactly know what to do. The guys that are moving ahead of the pack, beyond the mavericks and the first-to-market, are those that actually have a clear and carefully thought out strategy from the outset.”
Mason saw a stark contrast between companies and organisations that know where they want to go, like the QBCC, and those that are still trying to find their way.
“It’s as though these companies know they need to tackle digital transformation, but nobody wants to really think about it,” he said. “From a global perspective, the UK is a little further ahead in tackling this problem in some ways. By contrast, in North America there is still a divide.”
Mason said it is vital to identify from the outset how important digital transformation is to your business and what your consumer really needs today.
“It’s time to do some more long-term thinking when it comes to digital,” he said. “It’s not just about the technology or software, it’s also about how to transform internal processes and structure of your teams.”