Meet the Best Consumer Project Award finalists in the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards

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High volume eReceipts, broadband fault detection and an ecommerce transformation.

Reducing customer friction, improving customer experience, and ecommerce excellence are at the core of the three projects announced today as finalists in the Best Consumer Project Award category of the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards. The finalists are:

  • Aussie Broadband’s Fault Detector Project
  • Woolworths Group’s “eReceipts - Realtime Electronic Receipts for all Banners” project
  • Koala Sleep’s Digital Transformation Project

The projects are featured in the latest in our series of mini-documentaries about the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards finalists.

Aussie Broadband’s Fault Detector Project

This initiative focused on the business impact of customer experience, rather than just cost reduction.

“The idea behind it is how can we identify faults before the customer even calls us, and can we resolve them without bothering them?” explained Aussie Broadband’s general manager of customer service, Kevin Salerno.

To achieve this, Aussie Broadband extracts data from the NBN and analyses it to identify such problems as no connections, slow speeds or drop outs on fibre-to-the-node, fibre-to-the-basement, fibre-to-the-curb and OptiComm services.

If troubleshooting requires an NBN truck roll, then the system can automatically initiate that process.

An early iteration encountered challenges. “We actually built a system that went out and interrogated 10,000 services a night. Now that's a lot of network traffic on our part. It worked okay, but had nowhere near the automation or the efficiency that the new system has. So we scrapped it, learnt a lot from it and came up with the fault detector project which you see today,” Salerno said.

“We're learning from the data that we're putting through with customers every day on how to get better. What results and what outcome [did we get]? Did something come back for re-testing? Did we do enough testing? So it's constantly changing and evolving and this is only phase one,” Salerno explained.

Koala Sleep’s Digital Transformation Project

In the past seven years, Koala Sleep has gone from selling one type of mattress to selling many types of furniture and operating internationally.

With this growth came the need to re-equip its technology stack, explained Geoff Kwan, the company’s vice president of digital product and technology.

The company had hundreds of product SKUs, global ambitions, and needed to be fast to market and agile.

“More sales means that you've just got more customer feedback, more people calling because of delivery issues, or more sales activity so you’ve got more changes to the site. There was an increasing volume of things to address,” Kwan told iTnews.

Its previous tech stack wasn’t suited to these demands. “Any changes to the site essentially a required engineering effort and lengthy deployments,” Kwan said.

Rather than build a global multi-language ecommerce site, Koala Sleep approached the project as a software product build – and created a scalable website-building-and-authoring platform with greater flexibility and reduced deployment times.

It spent about seven months overhauling or replacing everything from its websites to its ecommerce platform, payment gateway and integrations with other systems. It chose a MACH (microservices, API-driven, cloud-native and headless) architecture deployed through AWS.

This has significantly improvement efficiency and scalability. For example, the company was able to launch a targeted sale of an overstocked product within seven hours and without developer involvement. It estimates this would have previously taken at least three weeks.

Woolworths Group’s “eReceipts - Realtime Electronic Receipts for all Banners” project

This project demonstrates how removing friction from a process can improve the customer experience and also provide data to help meet other goals.

Woolworths Group created an electronic receipt that customers can store in the retailer’s Everyday Rewards App, while enabling them to opt out of receiving paper receipts.

But Woolworths Group saw wider potential benefits, group chief digital technology officer Nick Eshkenazi told iTnews.

“We decided to turn it into something that it's much more scalable, with a higher throughput,” he explained.

The result was a serverless platform-as-a-service solution running on Azure Cloud and capable of processing more than seven million transactions a day at an incoming volume of over 250 transactions/second, and producing a digital receipt within two seconds of a customer's shopping.

The system has been used to automate cash management at POS terminals and enable loyalty-related fraud detection and receipt push notifications, while other initiatives such as allergen warnings are coming.

“All of those new cases and many, many more to come that have been explored, necessitated and demanded that we create a stack that’s adaptive and continuously scalable and evolving,” Eshkenazi said.

The retailer also attributes a large part of the success of its Everyday Rewards App - which had more than one million active users within one year of its launch - to eReceipts.

Watch the mini-documentary series

Thank you to every organisation that entered the Best Consumer Project Award category. 

Watch the rest of the mini-documentaries about the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards finalists’ projects here throughout April.

On June 15, the award winners will be announced at a ceremony and dinner hosted by KPMG in Barangaroo, Sydney.

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