Q&A with Peter Wataman - Driving technological change and implementation

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22nd May 2015, 2:05pm

In the lead up to Optus Vision 2015, our very own Chris Kennett sat down with Peter Wataman to give us a glimpse of what to expect when he takes the stage on May 27th at Sydney Town Hall.


Peter Wataman is the Chief Information Officer for Flight Centre Travel Group Limited. He is responsible for developing the company's IT strategies and implementing systems and infrastructure globally.



In a world where one of the most important competitive advantages is for a business to be able to change to the ever increasing demands of Customer expectations and scale, the ability to harness technology to support this environment is mandatory.  In moving the technology function from merely operating technology to a true business enabler of change, many challenges will be met including organisational culture, technology used, partners and financial models. Strategies are needed to overcome these challenges in order to allow technology to accelerate business change. 


In the following Q&A post, Peter Wataman talks about his role in driving technological change and implementation.


Q1: Please describe the role you believe technological innovation plays in achieving business growth. 

If growth is defined as scale then yes innovation plays a big part. The ability to grow the business and not be held back by technology and business models that don't scale is essential. 


Efficiency in business processes drives a more effective outcome, resulting in improved customer experience, as well as driving the cost of productivity down.


Technology innovation such as, 'as a service' model' for software has certainly allowed access to scale and features in a way that does not hold the business back any more.


The challenge is to take advantage of such innovations as a competitive advantage before it becomes a disadvantage not to.


Q2: What role does technological innovation play in Flight Centre’s day-to-day business development? 

Flight Centre owns many different brands from Leisure and Corporate travelling to wholesale and travel service brands.  Each brand comes with a different customer value proposition which usually comes with different customer experience expectations.


Also in a world where one of the most important competitive advantages is for a business to be able to change to the ever increasing demands of customer expectations and scale, the ability to innovate in order to differentiate is now just the way to do business.


Q3: What are the primary challenges you have come up against when pushing for technological changes at Flight Centre?

There have been several, however by far the most important challenge to over come is ensuring that the business is both capable and empowered to gain the most out of the technology change especially if a change in the methodology or way of doing business is required.


Another major challenge has been the concept of service based models and the impact on such areas as the commercial models, security and legals in comparison to the traditional technology solutions and delivery methods.


Q4: Have you ever received any significant push back from your employees when implementing major platform changes? 

Absolutely most people won't dive into change without question especially if the change requires a change of roles or responsibility. I think platform change should come with a more effective way of getting the result. As such if the way we get the result is not changing with the new platform then perhaps we are missing the point of the change in the first place.


Q5: What advice would you give an organisation looking to implement new technologies to achieve business growth?

Firstly consider the reason why. Sometimes changes are implemented to achieve more effective business processes or sometimes the ability to be agile.


Depending on the situation make sure you know what you are trying to achieve and apply the appropriate approach, methodology and culture.


Secondly consider the choices. Usually there is more than one way to solve a problem however each will come with a different set of considerations and hence what is the business getting itself into not just post implementation but into the future. 


This is another edition in the series of Q&A sessions with business leaders and experts. Optus Business would like to thank Peter Wataman for his time. Hear more from Peter Wataman at Optus Vision 2015 along with our other world class speakers on May 27th 2015 at Sydney Town Hall. Click here to register


By Chris Kennett, Optus Business Industry Manager. Here more from Chris on Twitter @ChrisRKennett.



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