By Adrian M. Reodique
Nov. 17, 2016
Alfie Deato, Senior Vice President for IT of LBC Express
Alfie Deato, Senior Vice President for IT of LBC Express, believes data is something that businesses will soon be willing to invest in.
With this in mind, the Philippine-based logistics and remittance company embarked on its data visibility project last February, with the aim of ensuring that they are providing timely and accurate data to their internal and external customers.
Prior to that, Deato said LBC Express used to be a "transactional" model of business, which focuses more on making transactions rather than building a relationship with customers to earn their loyalty.
"That changed [when we embarked on] the data visibility [project]. That's when we started data mining [to better understand our customers]," he said. To achieve that, LBC Express' IT department worked with its marketing team (which includes the historical and predictive analytics group) to analyse the trends and patterns from their data.
However, data mining has not been an easy task for the company as it requires accurate and timely data. Since LBC Express used to only focus on transactions, employees did not pay attention to customers' information in the past, Deato said.
"[Previously,] I can key in your phone number as 111 as employees didn't [see the importance of having accurate data]. To them, getting the package delivered is the most important thing," he recalled. Deato added that the company also had an old culture in which employees think that customers would not mind if the delivery status is updated tomorrow or the next day, instead of immediately.
Deato noted that the biggest challenge of the data visibility project was changing the mindset of the employees when dealing with customers' data. "Now, we tell [them that] when we do data mining, every data that comes in [matters.] The more accurate data we have, we [will be able to better] know our customers."
Getting buy-in from top management and business units is critical to overcome this challenge. "[Even though] IT should be pushing the project, business units, [and senior leaders] need to believe in the project. Because if they don't [support] it, the project will not succeed no matter how good it is," Deato asserted.
It is thus necessary to demonstrate and explain the benefits of the project. For instance, LBC Express' management previously did not have a single platform for financial and operational data, which resulted in confusion on which data is the most updated and accurate. To resolve that, the company created a platform for its financial and operational data. "[Thanks to] the data visibility [project], we now only have a single source of data for finance. We can go to the boardroom only with iPads to access all the information we need [from the same source]. Even when we break the information down per branch, per region, per associate, per team head, area manager etc., [everyone will see the same data]," said Deato.