Digital delivery plan (July to December 2017)

  1. Co-op Digital’s purpose
  2. What the Digital plan is for
  3. Summary
  4. Membership
  5. Data
  6. Products and services
  7. The Federation
  8. Group-wide activities
  9. Capability

1. Co-op Digital’s purpose

We’re here to deliver commercial value for our businesses through digital tools and practices so that customers, members and their communities benefit. We aim to show that in an internet era, co-operative digital businesses can meet and go beyond the raised expectations of members, colleagues and customers at the same time as delivering social good.

We work with business units helping them to transform their products, services and ways of working. We work in multidisciplinary teams, which means that product managers, delivery managers, user researchers, designers, content designers and software and platform engineers, data engineers and data scientists work alongside subject matter experts to deliver a product or service. Depending on the project, subject matter experts could be store managers or funeral arrangers. We work together as one team to succeed.

We’re responsible for:

  • Data and data science
  • Membership
  • Digital products and services
  • Digital engineering
  • Digital engagement
  • The Federation
  • Ventures and partnerships

2. What the Digital plan is for

This plan describes what Co-op Digital is delivering from July to December 2017. It helps colleagues understand our priorities for the next 6 months. It also provides a baseline that helps us to track delivery of our milestones and expected benefits.

For digital product and service delivery, we go through a series of phases and decide if there’s value in continuing at the end of each phase. The decision is based on whether the benefits are achievable and whether what we’re doing can meet or go beyond the defined needs. The plan could therefore change as the products and services mature.

We’ll adapt based on what we learn as we identify products and services that could serve members in new ways. We’ll produce a revised plan every 6 months.

3. Summary

Co-op Digital is set up to support delivery of the Co-op’s current strategy and to help prepare for the future. We’re doing this by:

  • partnering with teams across the Group, working together to solve problems using internet-era culture, practices and ways of working
  • co-designing, creating, iterating and maintaining digital products, services and standards that meet colleague, member and customer expectations
  • improving efficiency or developing new revenue streams for existing businesses
  • providing support, advice and guidance on emerging technologies, user-centred service design and iterative development processes
  • attracting and retaining the right people with the right skills to deliver the right products and services that meet needs, exceed expectations and deliver commercial value

Our priority activities for the remainder of 2017 are focused on Membership, data, products and services and The Federation.

For example, for our members we are:

  • attracting more people to join our Co-op and encouraging more trade so that we can deliver better returns to them and their communities
  • being transparent and devising a clearer approach to data consent so that we put members in control of their data, and maximise their trust in us
  • experimenting with a mobile app to help them to quickly and easily access their reward balances and engage with their community
  • providing finders for funeral homes and food stores so they can locate the services they need

Some examples of what we’re doing for colleagues include:

  • in partnership with Funeralcare, transforming the at-need funeral service to give them more time to spend with clients
  • in partnership with Food, making it easier for colleagues to find information about how to do things and to manage their schedules and tasks
  • improving our Co-op’s approach to managing data so they have the insight they need to make informed decisions
  • providing tools, manuals, advice and expertise on agile delivery, digital engagement, engineering and data science

4. Membership

We co-design, create, iterate and operate desirable products and services to meet members’ needs and exceed their expectations. We aim to attract more new members to the Co-op, encourage them to be more engaged and to trade more often with our businesses.

What we’re delivering

Graphic show 2017 projects that come under Membership and the progress we aim to make. Tablets in stores; member referrals, kiosks: beta by end of September. Business unit offers: live from July. Mobile app: beta from July through to December. Balance notifications and dashboard refresh discoveries July to September.

Figure 1: Delivery of membership products and services

Figure 1 shows our delivery timeline for member products and services. Our Membership activities relate to creating, iterating and operating member products and services.

Creating and iterating member products and services

Attracting more members

We’re finding ways to optimise how we recruit members, particularly those new to the Co-op, and those with high spending potential. We’re testing in-store tablets for registering temporary cards, colleague referrals, in-store kiosks for registering temporary cards, and improving the payment journey for becoming a member.

Encouraging members to trade more and get more engaged with their Co-op and  local community

We’re helping members understand our proposition so that they’re more likely to regularly use our products and services, redeem their 5% rewards, and select local causes to benefit from their 1% rewards.

Membership app

We’re looking into how mobile technology could be used in the member journey. There are opportunities we could explore that add value for trading and community engagement. We’re starting small and iterating as we learn more. The first release will contain a Membership card, reward balances and transaction history.

Personalised member offers

We’re encouraging more trade through the Membership dashboard and exploring personalised member offers and food vouchers.

Operating Membership products and services

We take care of Membership operational management across the Co-op. We also maintain and simplify engineering of the Membership systems that enable delivery of Membership services. For example, we’re merging systems in the Contact Centre that cover Membership and Food separately, each with a dedicated team, to enable them to function as one team.

What’s next

We’ll continue providing support for ongoing changes to Membership and will simplify the existing Membership system. We’ll start from use cases, considering accountabilities and governance, encompassing all applications, the future marketing campaign platform and future Membership proposition.

5. Data

We help get the most value from data for our colleagues, customers, members and communities. We do this in line with our ambition to be totally trusted with our members’ data and to use data to fuel what we do.

What we’re delivering

Graphic shows our progress. GDPR: discovery July to September. Content service: beginning alpha in October. Data science lab and data governance lab: discoveries beginning in October. Membership dashboards, CRM selection algorithms and attitudinal insight: alphas beginning in October. Location finder: live throughout

Figure 2: Delivery of data products and services

Figure 2 shows our delivery timeline for data products and services. We partner to transform our Co-op, work towards reusable solutions and operate services.

Partnering to transform our Co-op

Data journey

We’re laying out our vision and the journey we need to go on. It will cover how we make data a valuable, usable asset that delivers commercial benefit.

Getting value from data

Improving marketing effectiveness

We’re improving and bringing consistency to how we measure the impact of our marketing activity.

Food customer relationship management (CRM) selection algorithms

We’re working with the Food Insight team to explore how to improve the customer and member targeting patterns for till couponing to improve redemption and return on investment.


We manage delivery of Membership marketing campaigns. We’ll be helping to achieve commercial objectives by suggesting and making improvements.

Attitudinal and behavioural insight

We’re increasing the richness of data around customer and member attitudes through a group wide brand tracker. We’re making the data more useful by directly linking it to trading behaviour. Next, we will improve our capability to select and engage members and customers for research.

Data engineering

A capability that will define, develop, deploy and support the technology and tools required to capture, store, process and visualise data. For example a membership dashboard.

Data science lab

We’re proposing to set up a data science lab – this could help us provide managed data sources, tools, and instructions so colleagues can complete more consistent test and learn activities

Data governance tools

A discovery and alpha proposal for user tool support required to ensure we can develop and share Co-op wide data standards, policies, language and quality metrics.

Data integrity

Data governance

A function and capability that will help create high quality data we can trust. It will establish standards, policies, processes, data ownership and ways of working.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

We’re working to meet and go beyond the new data protection compliance requirements. We’ll be starting a discovery to inform a programme of work for Digital.


Member data policy

We are carrying out research to better understand our members’, customers’ and colleagues’ views on consent. This will lead to a new member data policy.

Consent service

We’re proposing a discovery and alpha for a consent service. We want to simplify how we deal with consent across the Group. A prerequisite for cross-promoting products and services.

Data services

We’re building the capability to manage and expose data around locations and other reference data such as product information and local causes. So far we’ve delivered 2 consumer-facing online services – a Funeral Home finder and a Food Store finder.

Operating data services and Membership data science

We develop tools and support teams to make the most of Membership data through:

  • managing and supporting the server for data analysis
  • improving the datamart – a repository of related member and customer data that we have transformed into usable information for analysis and reporting
  • helping people to ensure solutions are aligned with our data principles
  • continually seeking cross-trade opportunities
  • deepening understanding of members through analysis of trading behaviour
  • providing analysis, insight and reporting

What’s next

We’re putting together a multi-year programme to develop our data operating model and capability so we can meet the Group’s ambition around data. Our milestones will develop as that evolves. In the shorter term, we’ll take what we learn from the GDPR discovery, implement the processes and engineer the solutions that we need to become compliant.

6. Products and services

We partner with businesses across the Co-op to help people solve problems using  internet-era culture, practices and ways of working. We co-design and build digital products and services that enable colleagues to do their jobs more efficiently. We offer members and customers new ways to buy, use or engage with Co-op products and services that meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

What we’re delivering

Graphic shows what we're delivering between July and Dec 2017. Funeralcare at-need: beta through to December. My schedule: alpha through to december. Task manager: alpha up until October. How do I? beta begins in october. Food site: alpha will begin in October. In October we'll have discoveries into co-op archive and publishing service and a pre-discovery into a colleague site.

Figure 3: Delivery of digital products and services

Figure 3 shows our delivery timeline for digital products and services. Our activities include partnering to transform our Co-op, working towards reusable solutions and creating new consumer products and services.

Partnering to transform our Co-op

At-need funeral arrangement service

We’ve been working with Co-op Funeralcare to build an award-winning digital funeral arrangement and logistics service. We’re gradually rolling out the service nationally.


How Do I? Colleague advice centre

We are creating a trusted source of information covering how to do things in stores like putting a phone top-up through a till. This tool could be reused in other business units.

My Schedule

A service that helps colleagues in stores to see their schedule, book holidays and request extra shifts. We’re trialling a prototype for store colleagues and another for store managers. It may be useful for our call centre and Funeralcare colleagues too.

Task Manager

We’re looking into user needs and journeys in task management and digitalisation of the back office. We’re working with Food to decide whether store colleagues’ needs can be met by third-party software or by enhancing a prototype Store Dashboard.

Working towards reusable solutions

Publishing platform and services

Self-service content publishing

We’re developing a self-service content publishing capability. We are also exploring how we can migrate parts of the Food site to the publishing platform.

Colleague site

We’ll be planning a discovery for an enhanced colleague service that will help the Co-op to deliver more content to colleagues through appropriate channels.

Digitising the Co-op’s history

We’ll be running a discovery to understand the value of digitising the Co-op archive. We believe it could add context and meaning that encourages member engagement.

What’s next

Over the next year, the Digital and Funeralcare team could roll out the at-need service to all our funeral homes. We will also continue designing and building services with Food. Full-service platforms will emerge from our work. The Co-op can benefit from these through increased efficiencies from using a single domain, shared components, core data Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and consistent high quality design. This helps us encourage reuse of assets and avoid fragmentation that leads to inefficiency and increased cost. We can build and use these reusable components across the Group.

7. The Federation

We’re positioning the Co-op as a leader in the north-west digital economy. The Federation is an open community of digital businesses and innovators based on co-operative values. All must sign up to The Federation pledge.

What we’re delivering

Grpahic shows that Federation booking website is has been live since July

Figure 4: Delivery of Federation products and services


We’re officially open before the end of 2017. There are 12 private suites; 10 are already taken. In the co-working space there are 6 private pods; 5 are taken. There are 120 flexible desks; 20 are taken.

Booking website for flexible/permanent desks

We’re building a web-based service for flexible/permanent desk bookings. Figure 4 shows the delivery timeline.

Events programme

There will be a regular programme of digital events. We’ve already hosted a number of events such as: NHS Hackday and the Hack Manchester launch event.

What’s next

A model is emerging from The Federation that could make it possible to scale in other areas of the UK. We could also investigate options for digital upskilling courses, specifically targeted at Co-op store colleagues.

8. Group-wide activities

Digital engineering

Our engineering activity enables delivery of milestones highlighted throughout the Digital plan. We also work with colleagues across the Group advising on activities including hosting, messaging, colleague recruitment, IT transformation. We engage with colleagues to set the approach and standards for digital development to make it faster, more predictable, sustainable and cheaper. We also deliver and maintain

  • architecture principles
  • API strategy and standards
  • software development and technology development standards and product evaluation
  • technology platform operating standards
  • cloud security patterns and practices
  • digital development tools

Digital engagement

We manage a range of communities and channels, gather social intelligence and provide reporting and insight for the Group. We work with colleagues to engage appropriately with online communities and advise on digital engagement as a tool for online co-operation and for promotion of Co-op products and services.

We partner with colleagues responsible for digital engagement so that we:

  • have one Co-op voice and a consistent standard for things like the time our members, customers and colleagues wait for a response
  • amplify messages relating to local causes, encouraging members to get involved
  • ensure that local causes, colleagues and member pioneers utilise digital engagement tools effectively by providing regular live tutorials and seminars
  • look at new tools that might help the Co-op to engage – for example chatbots; computer programmes that convincingly respond to customers’ conversations

9. Capability

We attract and retain the right people with the right skills to work on the right products and services at the right time. We balance delivering commercial outcomes with being a great place to work; where people are respected for the skills and experience they bring to delivering products and services that deliver the Co-op’s mission whilst progressing their Co-op careers.

Over the past year, we’ve been building our core team but we need more permanent user researchers, software engineers, data engineers and data scientists.

Building operational capability and capacity

Valuing diversity

The Digital team has a 37% female to 63% male ratio. We’re making progress but have  more work to do. A digital engineering colleague chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Pioneer Group and will also represent Digital on the Group’s Inclusion Council. We have agreed to partner with WISE to encourage future female talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.

Digital masterclasses

We offer monthly masterclasses that cover the basics of agile working. We’re working with Funeralcare IT to deliver bespoke sessions on ‘Agile for Leaders’ and ‘Working with User Needs’. We’re also delivering ‘Agile for Leaders’ and ‘1-2-1 Agile Coaching’ sessions.


As we learn new things and work with our partners across the businesses to refine how we deliver cross-Group services, we document our approach so that we can share the repeatable patterns, principles and standards we develop. We’ve created a Design Manual, which helps reduce cost, effort and inconsistency in services and we’re putting together a Service Design Manual and a Digital Business Operations Manual.

What’s next

We’ll investigate more flexible working patterns and approaches to recruitment and employment to encourage further diversity and inclusion in Digital teams. We’ll modify the Digital Masterclass to work as a regular induction session for new digital starters and create a supportive community around agile ways of working across the Group.