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Francoise Russo, Chief Information Officer, Tabcorp
In a modern and contemporary Technology organisation and the tightest labour market in living memory, it is virtually impossible to deliver business and technology outcomes without partners. However, getting the best out of partner and supplier organisations does not happen by accident, and generally requires a substantial relationship investmenton both sides.
Tabcorp is a world-class diversified gambling entertainment group which operates three market-leading businesses across the lotteries and keno, wagering and media, and gaming services sectors in nearly every state and territory in Australia, making it complex and fastmoving. At Tabcorp two years ago, we set out on a transformation journey. In addition to modernisation and digitisation, we also needed to uplift rigour, to increase quality of service lines, build data capability, and implement foundational and resilience improvements. We then layered on a full demerger program that required mobilisation and delivery in exceptionally compressed timeframes. The challenge, as is everywhere, is to meet demand while having the flexibility to avoid holding a large bench. The solution that works for us is a hybrid model – our own team, contingent workers and partners.
Prior to our transformation, Tabcorp was reliant on a combination of our internal permanent team and contingent workers. When we assessed what was needed to deliver on the transformation agenda, we landed on a model that ensured the strategic use of delivery partners to access specialist skills and flexibility to increase capabilities while reducing risk.
Strategic capability was assessed function by function to find the best approach of sourcing. Strategic capabilities were retained in-house to define, control and manage the technology roadmap, business requirements, architecture and core IP. A small number of core strategic partners were identified to support the delivery of our most critical programs of work. These partners were not just to provide bench flexibility, but also to provide expertise, drive quality outcomes and uplift internal capabilities.
Niche providers enabled on-demand access to highly specialised skills and services that were lacking – for example, for threat intelligence services supporting the newly introduced function. We have also outsourced commodity activities to optimise costs and reduce risk.
A current example of our successful partnering has been the rebuilding of our wagering app, website and retail terminals to run off a single codebase using Google Flutter. This strategic program, core to the future of the Tabcorp wagering business, established a 220-strong project team of developers from both Tabcorp and Accenture, with Google also contributing to the effort. This enabled high-velocity delivery which would simply not have been possible without partner capability and capacity. Our internal teams in turn have developed new skills in Flutter and the program overall has delivered consistent quality with a rigorous SAFe agile methodology.Like many CIOs, I see the value in investing in strategic partners. Both sides invest in the account for the long term, take time to understand each other’s context, and find collaborative solutions that will work. This means less time negotiating service contracts and more time actually solving the problems. Partnerships become extensions of the internal teams—brings out the best in people, creates a community of trust, and allows the teams to enjoy their work. In turn, this draws great people onto the account and into these programs. Together, success with our technology partners means that we’re all having fun, working well, achieving foundational transformation and deploying amazing products with integrity to our customers.