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CIO50 2022 #26-50 Jennifer Rebeiro, Greater Western Water

  • 2017 Rank 5
  • Name Jennifer Rebeiro
  • Title Chief information officer
  • Company Greater Western Water
  • Commenced role July 2018
  • Reporting Line Managing director
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 180 staff, 6 direct reports
  • As a brash and driven young tech executive, Jennifer Rebeiro recalls a time when she spoke to a fellow staff member in an unacceptable way. Rebeiro felt that the staff member was not representing the organisation correctly. After the incident, the employee never returned to the workplace.

    “This was a great lesson to learn in a terrible way,” says Rebeiro.

    “What I learned was that people operate in different ways and that I need to respect this. Just because she operated in a way that was different to me, that did not mean that what she was doing was incorrect.

    “I took it upon myself to have that conversation with her, I didn’t consult with anyone, and my actions resulted in our organisation being short staff for many weeks. So, what I had thought was in the best interest of the organisation wasn’t in the end,” says Rebeiro.

    This insight has influenced Rebeiro throughout her career, building her appreciation of everyone’s differences.

    “I also take the time to ask ‘why’ and resolve issues together. I am truly open to alternative views and this is why I am so passionate about diversity because it provides alternative perspectives, insights, and approaches to reaching shared goals.”

    These days, Rebeiro is chief information officer at Greater Western Water (GWW) where she leads a technology team that has delivered several innovations for the Victorian water service provider.

    The cyber threat is real for every enterprise across Australia and that includes utilities. In 2021, Rebeiro and her team introduced Cyberball, where they gamified cyber safety awareness, appealing to staff, their friends and families to encourage a cyber-first mindset.

    They also introduced ‘Cyber Thursday’ to open a discussion around cyber safety in the organisation, challenging the perception that cyber is an IT issue.

    Cyber Thursday started with engaging conversations about the importance of protecting company data by sharing a story of how an individual lost all of the personal details of a company’s customers, and demonstrating a real-life phone call with a scammer so that our people could hear the techniques that are being utilised.

    The team also made people aware that at tax time, cyber criminals come out to play, purporting to be the Australia Tax Office to get access to their ‘mygov’ account, says Rebeiro.

    “We know Cyber Thursdays are working when we see chatter on Yammer where employees will post messages like ‘hey, don’t open this email because I think it’s a phishing scam.’ It is this conversational and contextual alertness that demonstrates that we are making an impact through non-traditional channels with 0ur people to maintain cyber awareness.”

    Bot reduces saved developer upload time

    On July 1 last year, City West Water and Western Water merged to become GWW, which meant that disparate processes and systems needed to be combined.

    One of GWW’s specific business functions, Land Development Applications, is dependent upon timely processing and resolution. An innovative and agile approach was taken by the tech and business teams towards integrating and improving existing processes.

    “Initially, it was about enabling the two organisations to be able to work on a single application; then it was about rethinking and optimising the way people worked such as looking at transactions and thinking about the ways to simplify and automate some of this work. It was also about freeing up our subject matter experts to focus on value creating work instead of transactional activity,” says Rebeiro.

    For example, she recalls one of the processes that took a long time to complete was the uploading of developer plans. To deal with the issue, the team implemented a bot to automatically upload documents, which saved individual processing time by about 2o minutes per application.

    The progressive and regular release of enhancements like this has significantly uplifted the services provided to GWW’s developer customers. This has resulted in improved customer satisfaction through better service delivery and timeliness, while taking pressure off employees by providing simplified business processes and eliminating problematic manual processes.

    Better business process management

    Over the past 12 months, GWW has also undertaken 29 initiatives, which has resulted in significant improvements across the organisation, including increased insight and efficiencies, and increased satisfaction for staff and customers.

    “For example, streamlining and consolidating the customer complaint process has enabled us to have, for the very first time, a holistic and actionable view of customer complaints.," she says.

    “This helps us to improve our response and relationship with our customers and an equal benefit of improving the morale of our people. Equally, streamlining the onboarding of our contingent people has resulted in improved processes and an avoidance of 1,800 hours of manual processing".

    COVID contact tracing

    As GWW emerged from COVID, the organisation realised that it needed to have an internal track and trace capability to keep people safe. Using a business process management tool, Rebeiro and her team were able to onboard a pre-built track and trace module for the organisation with 8 weeks.

    “This capability has enabled GWW to manage, in a confidential way, potential COVID impacts and provide oversight across the organisation, enabling us to pre-empt any employee risks and invoke business continuity plans where required.”

    Byron Connolly

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