As Chief Customer Officer of Superloop – a digital infrastructure and fast internet provider listed on the ASX with operations across Asia Pacific, Jon Tidd’s challenge was seeing the wood for the trees; when the pandemic struck it could have been hard to even see the trees.
The company has grown quickly – both organically and by acquisition – and rapidly built up a broad portfolio of disparate information systems and a large data collection. When the pandemic struck, and people started working from home, the sources of data became even more widespread – but the need to rapidly interpret the information to understand how to adapt the network and the business to help customers in their time of need was brought into even sharper focus.
Tidd, who joined Superloop in 2018 as Group CFO, and is now chief strategy & transformation officer, is a self-confessed analytics enthusiast, and needed some sort of digital window that would provide data transparency across the operation, and generate clarity about how the business was performing, what customer experience looked like, and what the future might hold.
That digital window has been built with Power BI.
“The role of data and analytics is to help describe what’s happening, predict what could happen and then prescribe what should happen and what decisions we should make to better serve our customers across all of the different parts of our process,” Tidd says.
“The biggest thing for us is we are now understanding our business better than we were before, which has been a game changer and means we can be a better business for customers, employees and shareholders. With these insights we’ve been able to improve our cycle times and deliver value faster, double the number of customers we serve, improve our financials and achieve a >+50 customer NPS.
“Prior to this we weren’t able to paint the whole picture. I’m a big believer that we are entitled to our own opinions but we aren’t entitled to our own facts. We have diverse perspectives and healthy debates about the right decision but now that’s anchored in a shared picture of the whole topic. Previously we weren’t able to see the wood for the individual trees” says Tidd.
Power BI has delivered Superloop a track through the forest of data.
Superloop prides itself on being faster than the incumbents, driving down response times for customers, installing cutting edge networks and providing access faster than competitors. To do that the business needs a fine grained understanding of what is happening where and when, and that demands data, or more pertinently, insight.
Implementing Power BI allowed Superloop to peer into all aspects of the business. Having used Power BI in previous roles he understood that he could start small, and grow rapidly. He’s hired a single Power BI specialist via Expert360, Moiz Sherwani, who helps design models and dashboards with interactive Power BI access to the decision-makers across 300-strong Superloop, who increasingly rely on the insights that Moiz provides to steer their decision making. Power BI also allows Superloop to review employee engagement data to identify opportunities for improvement.
The company’s finance division has just started using Dynamics 365 through Wiise, and Tidd expects they too will use Power BI for analytics.
According to Tidd; “The fact that I could dip my toes in it without any major upfront commitment is really what has now made it such an intrinsic part of the business. We could demonstrate the value of Power BI with real insight then expand to further parts of our business as we go.”
Combining the different systems for network and customer data Power BI serves up a clear visual of how Superloop’s processes are performing, which allows executives to take action to improve the business for today and tomorrow.
“We’ve deliberately chosen to pick or build best of breed systems for each part of the value chain, instead of a monolithic architecture that tries to make one system do too much.” Tidd says.
Joining the dots
Power BI essentially joins the dots across the different data sources. That was particularly important when the pandemic struck and Superloop had to implement remote work policies to keep staff and customers COVID safe.
All of a sudden contact centres were being staffed from people’s homes, enterprise teams, support teams and even service personnel were working out of their homes rather than the office. Yet Power BI maintained the enterprise-wide transparency – the data feeds were just being channelled into corporate systems from different locations, Power BI could still provide that window on all the data.
When NBN announced they would provide free wholesale access for homes across Australia for families with kids forced to learn from home, Superloop was able to launch a free internet offer the very same day, confident from the insights they had to hand.
Knowing how the network was performing, what demand was being experienced, how employees were faring, was particularly important to understand during the pandemic. Critically, Superloop’s executives needed to know how well customers were being served as so many of Superloop’s clients were also working from home and needed reliable high performance internet connections to keep working, connecting and communicating.
“We implemented Power BI at the perfect time,” he says.
The next step is for Superloop to explore how artificial intelligence and machine learning could be introduced to the mix to help automate some decision making and process optimisation.
“The high-volume nature of our business means that we can run, test data and learn things – implement different things and see how they go. We’ve made amazing progress on describing what’s happening and making recommendations- the next stage for us really is getting much much better at predicting.”
Tidd says that security is paramount to Superloop. “Our Information Security and Enterprise Systems teams were integral to ensuring the data is secure, timely and useful, and they helped drive Power BI adoption without compromise.”