We’d love to see you, in person or on social, at our home 1 Angel Square, to hear from Group Digital Services Director, Tom Loosemoore about the cultural challenges and opportunities of being an open organisation.
Designing open practices within any organisation is challenging. Through Co-op Digital, The Co-op is embracing a change in organisational culture and the way that it interacts with the outside world. Open data and the free flow of information is a vital part of this change.
To help this transformation, some of the team responsible for developing Government Digital Service (GDS) have recently joined The Co-op, here in Manchester and Tom Loosemore is one of them.
At this event, with Open Data Manchester, Tom will discuss what it means to become an organisation that embraces the opportunities of openness, how to help your organisation have the confidence and capability to do it and how promoting openness and more intelligent use of data can benefit organisations and the wider community.
At the beginning of 2015 the Co-op had over 250 websites. Every department, campaign and anything with a budget wanted their own domain. As our online presence expanded, our resources stayed the same. Trying to maintain content quality and accuracy was futile.
We failed to ask ourselves one simple question… do we really need them all?
When is it time to delete a website?
For the last five months we’ve been busy removing websites. Deciding which ones stay or go is an emotive process. To keep emotion out of it we asked ourselves the following:
Are people still using the site?
Some decisions were easy to make. After looking at our site analytics, 12 websites had less than 100 visits in the last year so they were removed.
Is the content still relevant and up to date?
I’m sure the Co-op isn’t alone in creating websites for marketing campaigns. Part of any campaign should also include how effectively you close it – unfortunately for some this was never done. They’re done now. We also created one page summaries for three sites which were still receiving over 500 unique views a month such as the 2014 campaign “Have Your Say”. In a few more months we’ll review the content again and press delete if we think it’s right.
Is it best for our members maintaining XYZ site?
It takes time and money to run a website and ensure they meet user needs. We therefore need to decide if this time and money is better employed elsewhere to benefit our members.
Are we duplicating content?
The problem we have at the moment is trying to manage very similar content across multiple sites. We’re now looking at ways to combine sites with similar content/themes and you will see the results of this soon.
Does the website fit with our digital strategy?
With Mike Bracken joining the Co-op to lead Digital we now have a clearer vision of what our Digital estate should be.
As a result we’re now starting to see tighter controls put in place to decide when a website should be created.
In a big business like the Co-op there are a lot of great ideas all vying for attention. But how do you decide what’s important?
Unfortunately we’ve been too keen to say yes to everyone instead of spending the time to decide what is best for our members and users.
If you look at our main site, co-operative.coop, we have 114 links on the homepage. 101 of those links go to another website or micro-site. It’s very easy to get lost in a maze of websites.
What are we doing now?
It takes time to review and potentially delete or migrate a site. So far, we’ve removed 20 sites and work is underway to delete/migrate another 12. For each we have to look at the user impact and how it affects the Co-op. I’m sure there’ll be more changes to come as we continue to evolve with our member needs.
The better we make our digital estate the easier it will be for our users to understand what we do and for our members to experience digital co-operation in action.
We’re going for it. Shifting a massive chunk of our digital development programme to continuous delivery. That gives me butterflies!
Having run a team of ‘UXers’ that all ache to work in a proper Agile way has been a challenge. We often found ourselves reliant on a super-human delivery manager (namecheck: Victoria Mitchell) to hold back the mountains of Waterfall documentation and ‘sign-offs’ to enable us to work in our Agile bubble. It didn’t really work.
By bursting that bubble and working alongside the business, engineering and operations we are immediately… but I’m not going to espouse the virtues of that here, there’s plenty bigger brains that have done that.
I just want to share some early observations from a UX team perspective as we make that change:
1) We all do UX
We don’t call ourselves a UX team anymore, we are part of a design team. We are all responsible for the user experience: marketing, IT, designers, shop colleagues, call centre colleagues, CEOs… it’s how we work together that delivers the experience. I believe our artists-formerly-known-as-UXers have a key role in evangelising their ingrained user-centric principles across the business. Ensuring everybody is focused on delivering a service that meets people’s needs.
2) Lose the IT and Business/Marketing divide
Being in ‘Digital’ I have often been the buffer between Marketing and IT, the former feeling restricted and stifled, and the latter feeling criticised when all they want to do is keep the business safe. Not only does an understanding have to break out, but the boundaries need to be removed completely. Have multi-disciplined teams, delivering specific products not departments emailing huge documents over ‘the fence’ ensuring they are safe from blame of failure. We now have a team of Engineers, Delivery Managers, Business Analysts, Interaction Designers, Content Designers literally sat side by side delivering the ‘thing’.
3) Find, empower and trust super-smart decision-makers
Another massive change is required to make this work. The multi-discipline team can’t do their thing if the business isn’t able to provide decisive direction at the same pace. This is where our next challenge is. We need rapid, smart decisions and for that, rapid, smart, decision-makers who are trusted and empowered to take responsibility for their product. Enter product managers, new roles to the Co-op, but very much needed to ensure that the transformation happens. It is these folk that will play a vital part in ensuring the Co-op can transform now, but continue to help a modern Co-op respond rapidly to members’ and customers’ changing needs.
Are you a product manager? Contact Polly Haslam to see if there’s an opportunity for you.
I started my working career in 1992 and in the 23 years that have followed I’ve seen a huge amount of change. None has been more profound or significant than the emergence of the internet and subsequent digital capabilities in how we work.
I’m enormously proud of what we’ve achieved in the Co-op over the last 18 months. We’ve taken a business from near collapse to one that with hard work and a focus on doing the right things will become once again one of the UK’s most treasured things. I can’t wait.
To make this dream a reality we’ve recognised the need to embrace the “digital revolution” not just in terms of the services and products we offer our customers, but in changing our ways of working. Excitingly we’ve managed to recruit some of the very best people in the world to lead our thinking in this area and help us not just catch up, but get miles ahead of the competition. From “Slack” to “Bimodal Agile”, our lexicon has changed.
Whilst very exciting, I’ve got to be honest and say it’s also filled me with fear. At 45 years of age was I about to become one of those outdated Execs who lived in a past world that I’d seen and observed in my earlier career? Good for a few words of advice here and there but basically living in an outdated world. For the first time ever I started to feel old.
Six months on and I feel young again…….
Throughout my career I’ve always believed that if you do the right thing for the customer and make the business vision/ strategy/ objectives simple for colleagues to understand then you’ll not go far wrong. I’ve also always said that a great business “creates value for the customers that they’re able to share in”. I’ve realised that the “digital revolution” simply makes this easier to do and puts the customer at the heart of the business even more than before. In that context it makes customer centricity even more important and people who think that way even more valuable.
So yes, the lexicon has changed (a sprint has nothing to do with Linford Christie but is a quick piece of work with an outcome, a “slacker” isn’t someone who is lazy but someone who communicates via a more effective tool – the list could go on) but what matters has become even more important and makes it more difficult to succeed if you don’t get it right.
So as we leave 2015 and look forward to the new year, I’m excited. Not just by the new digital team, but by the realisation that I’m not old and out of date just yet and my views, principles and ways of working are more important than they’ve ever been.
Enjoy Christmas with your wearable technology. I’ll be catching up with re-runs of Tomorrow’s World!
Hi everyone. I’m Zuna Farooq, External Intelligence Manager (Strategy) at the Co-op – yes my job title is as brilliant as my job! We track long-term consumer and market trends and relate them back to what it means for the business.
Last week, we attended Future Foundation Trending 2016 (#TrendingFF16). Here are my takeaways from the day:
26% of UK households are single-person, forecast to rise. People feel more comfortable doing things alone and tech will cater to more fulfilling solo experiences. Consumer Virtual-Reality launches in 2016 and FutureFoundation predict that we could see the “arrival of VR-fuelled selfish media”. For Food, single pack sizes continue to gain in importance, and for consumer services, single-person propositions.
I tried the Oculus Rift headset and OMG it’s indescribable! I used to smirk at VR references but until you try one, you just can’t imagine how REAL they feel.
Careers are not for life
More people are retraining and have “slash” jobs – e.g. writer/photographer/blogger. Life skills will continue to be important, and consumers will value help in developing and building these.
Consumers are more impulsive
Last minute plans, celebrations etc. all bring opportunities for home meals and drinks. #FOMO (fear of missing out) is rising and has the potential to be used as a marketing tool to tap into consumers.
Cashless stores will be big
Paying will be a thing of the past and as FutureFoundation described it, shopping could feel more like stealing. We have Apple iPay / contactless in all of our stores and we were first in the market to launch applepay – great that we are leading the way on this trend! 2016 will see consumers quickly think of cashless as norm.
Think John Lewis ads, using emoticons, and making customers genuinely happy. This will be significant for our brand, Digital proposition, Membership and our customer service.
Here’s the future canvas from the end of the day (you can download a better version from the Co-op intranet page – sorry colleagues only!)
There’s much more from the day which can be downloaded from the Co-op intranet pages under the Industry tab, or drop me a message. Packs include information on consumer pursuit of pleasure vs. control and a rising trend around brands rating consumers, plus how consumer lives are changing because of tech.
You can also follow me on twitter: @Zuna, External Intelligence Manager at the Co-op.