CIO50 2020 #26-50 Andrew Todd, Iress
Andrew Todd has led a comprehensive digital transformation agenda at software company Iress since taking on the role of chief technology officer in early 2017. At this time, he moved Iress to become one of the first major enterprises in APAC to adopt Slack, closely followed by Zoom later that year.
At the beginning of last year, Todd led the company-wide transition away from Microsoft to the Google Suite for all office applications.
“The key driver for this was to create a more seamless, cloud-first collaboration culture, as well as to simplify Iress’ toolset to encourage people to spend less time perfecting PowerPoint slides and more time writing code and solving real problems for our clients and users,” he tells CIO Australia.
This cooincided with the move late last year to shift Iress’ phone system from on-premises to cloud-native, to increase security and stability while reducing operational costs. Close to 100 pieces of physical infrastructure were subsequently decommissioned.
When the COVID-19 first began raising concerns in early 2020, Andrew and his team proactively began testing the impact of remote working on business critical teams and bolstering the necessary services and supports they would require in the event of a full-blown pandemic. This was later broadened out to confirm the capacity of all teams at Iress to comfortably perform their roles from home.
“When Iress’ COVID taskforce made the call to mandate all employees begin working from home in mid-March, the transition was - incredibly - almost seamless,” Todd says.
Having all corporate accessible by Iress employees remotely also meant they were better able to support the company’s clients who were also grappling with the shift to remote working.
“Nowhere was this more critical than with those clients operating in the equity markets, which experienced a 200 percent increase in trade volumes due to extreme market volatility,” Todd says, adding that Iress’s clients reported zero service or support interruptions during the pandemic period.
In September 2019, Todd and his team introduced the ‘Alfred bot’, a concierge service powered by Workato and integrated with Jira and Slack, which eliminated the need for people to log into various systems to seek technical support or request hardware or software services.
This resulted in helpdesk satisfaction levels soaring to 99.7 per cent, while improving the ability of the technical support team to manage and track the progress of support tickets.
Workato has also been embraced more broadly at Iress, as part of a drive towards low-code, self-service automation initiatives to reduce the number of hours spent on manual or repetitive tasks.
Some of the highlights have included projects to automate customer billing to generate more detailed, timely invoices; building an integration to quickly convert work items raised in Jira into sales orders for customers; and the ability to integrate more easily with additional data sources to reduce the cost of managing acquisitions.
The finance team at Iress is estimated to have already saved hundreds – if not thousands – of hours.
Todd has also been a strong advocate for consolidation and simplification at the management level, for instance, having reduced the number and type of technology roles from 193 to 40.
“Once this has been achieved, with the full support of the team, the focus has now been on defining clear career paths which enable people to develop and succeed in their career whether they aspire to people management responsibilities or technical mastery,” Todd explains.
“This approach began in the technology team and was soon adopted by the rest of the organisation as a simpler, more engaging model for fostering and retaining top talent.”