Domain Group has elevated technology to report directly into the CEO with the creation of a new chief technology officer role, filled by former Fairfax general manager of product solutions Mark Cohen.
Domain’s IT operations function was split out from its broader parent group Fairfax last year, and placed under the leadership of technology director Paul McManus.
McManus headed up a team of around 70 to 80 IT workers, and reported into Domain Group chief operating officer Tony Blamey.
But after a period of recent acquisitions - including online property portal AllHomes, data business PriceFinder, Australian Property Monitors and the Commerce Australia CRM for real estate agents - the group decided it needed a functional technology leader to unite and direct all these disparate elements.
It decided to elevate the technology function to report directly to Domain CEO Antony Catalano through the creation of a new chief technology officer position.
Two days into the job, Cohen now runs point for all technology within Domain’s various business groups, covering around 120 people. McManus retains his position as head of technology for Domain, reporting into Cohen.
“Paul has been doing a brilliant job getting the Domain team to do agile properly, so it’s really about taking that goodness out to the whole business and creating a more unified portfolio of products,” Cohen told iTnews.
“And the second, and most exciting change, is that we now have a unified representation of technology at the CEO level.”
Cohen will work hand in hand - and quite literally side by side - with Domain’s new chief product officer Damon Pezaro, who was recently promoted to do a similar job to Cohen across the group’s product business.
“The primary function in Domain is one of delivering products. [Therefore] my role is very tightly coupled with the chief product officer. We’re going to be like twins for the forseeable future,” Cohen said.
One of the first items on Cohen’s list is to expand the work done by McManus in getting the agile DevOps model of development embedded into the IT team out across the wider portfolio.
“My brief is to bring things together without slowing down the business. [How to do that] is the hundred million dollar question,” Cohen said.
“We won’t do anything sudden - we won’t put everyone in a core team tomorrow. My intention is to leave the teams embedded and follow the agile manner. We’ll probably be supplementing the teams more than anything, adding agile training, UI experience, etc.
“My experience at Fairfax has taught me a good thing about centralised versus embedded: centralised is optimised for cost, whereas embedded is optimised for speed to market.”
Also currently in development is a future roadmap for the IT function. But given he’s “only in day two” of the job, there’s still a lot more work to be done.
“We’re going to focus on user experience,” he said. “Not just on our sites but also in terms of interacting with customers and how we handle things like billing.”