RACV overhauls legacy IT to gain a single view of its customer

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Image: RACV

The Royal Automotive Club of Victoria (RACV) was stood up in 1903 with about 56 members, roughly the same total as the number of cars in Melbourne at that time. 

Fast forward to 2020, the RACV now has more than 2.2 million members and has extended its reach beyond just roadside assistance, boasting a presence in the hospitality industry with 10 resorts around Australia, as well as offering general insurance.

A few years ago, RACV embarked on an organisation-wide transformation as the organisation was being stifled by its legacy IT, executive manager of transformation Mark Geraghty said.

“All the changes we wanted to make to the customer experiences we gave to our members we couldn’t make because we were constrained by effectively our legacy IT platforms,” he said, speaking at the virtual Salesforce Live for Financial Services event on Wednesday. “So our driver was very much we wanted to make change. We wanted to improve customer experience, but we couldn’t do that on our legacy platforms.”

Geraghty said about a year into the transformation program, RACV took a step back to change up the way it was doing things. This meant setting up a new operating model.

“We really did step back and say, ‘Are we making the right kind of change to get the kinds of results that we embarked on the transformation for?'” he explained.

“I think what we found at that point was we had been a little bit tech-led in our transformation and less business-led than perhaps we would like to be in defining those new customer experiences, and making sure that we designed to achieve those.”

RACV essentially paused and reset the program, bringing together the tech people with the frontline people, combining those functions under the one leader to make the transformation “tech-informed” instead of tech-led.

The organisation also had to focus on culture to make its transformation work.

“Culture is critical to any transformation, and culture change in particular,” he said, noting RACV has over 3,500 employees.

“In our case, it was to go from what were historically quite product-centric views of our customer, we had a poor understanding of our customer behaviour across all of the products they might buy from us.

“So we had to bring together those experiences technically, but more importantly culturally, to make sure that our decisions were member-centric rather than product-centric, and that was quite a change for us and we’re still in the middle of that.”

Geraghty said RACV went “all-in” to achieve a single view of its customer, which he said was quite complex given customers could have an RACV golf membership, an insurance policy, or a roadside assistance package.

“It is the Holy Grail, we are very close to achieving it, and the benefits of that are you can have a much more rich interaction with your customers,” he said. “We can really only do that when we understand all of their behaviour across all of our channels.”

The transformation project was extensive, Geraghty said, adding the technology was “about as comprehensive as you could imagine”.

“In a lot of ways, we went all-in with our change and that was largely due to the legacy systems being, I guess, a set of infrastructure that really wasn’t going to carry forward in any sense, so we did have to change a lot,” he said.

“We’ve changed our product systems, our billing systems, our CRM system, our integration platform, our financial system, so we really have made significant change to essentially the IT platforms that RACV operates on.”

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