Stax on Stax
30 Oct 2020
How Flybuys Transformed Their Member Experience with Stax
Below you’ll find insights from a recent discussion with Flybuys CTO Brad Blyth, Stax Managing Director Mike Middaugh and Stax Chief Product Officer James Coxon.
During the discussion, Blyth explains how Flybuys managed to not only migrate to the cloud, but also to deliver a digital business transformation. This ultimately delivers a lot more value to members and partners.
You can watch the full panel on demand and delve into exactly how Flybuys achieved these outcomes with Stax, and the advice Brad has for businesses considering a cloud migration or transformation.
Discussion topics include:
- Articulating the business case for cloud by reframing technology as a strategic investment, not just a cost center
- Making the right pitch when recruiting engineers — selling them on their place in the outcome, rather than the migration
- How Flybuys’ engineers are focused on high-impact activities, rather than maintenance
- The full story of Flybuys journey to the cloud
Flybuys journey: Challenge, and Opportunity
Flybuys is one of Australia’s leading customer loyalty schemes, with 8.6 million active members across two-thirds of Australian households, and a 26-year history in the country. Originally a division of Coles, the company just completed a demerger, which necessitated a rapid migration of its applications and data to a new environment.
But given their userbase and demand, they couldn’t take the platform offline for a year, Blyth says. “You can’t stand still for 12 months and do a migration and not do anything else.”
The team took this as an opportunity to modernize the tech platform. In addition to the migration, a member identity platform, a data and insights platform, and they improved their digital channels.
“What that means to members is we’ve taken away some of the constraints in the digital experience.”
Flybuys can now be smarter and faster with member data. This enables the platform to advise members about shopping conditions, target deals to members, and even identify disadvantaged members and tailor a shopping experience that works for them.
This means a 1600% performance improvement when delivering campaigns – from a campaign taking nine hours to 45 minutes, Blyth says.
Part of this efficiency gain is due to Stax’s evergreen cloud foundations and automated maintenance. Flybuys engineers can focus on value-add or bespoke tasks, instead of cloud maintenance.
“These guys are getting closer to the business problems, and doing something valuable for Flybuysmembers. Rather than participating in a migration program or doing something really low-level that no-one can translate back.”
Brad says Stax came up as they searched for levers to accelerate the migration journey. Migration is a lower level of work, he says, and not something you want to spend a lot of time on. "You know the outcome and you just want to get there as quickly as possible.”
Stax’s secure cloud foundations allowed the company to establish their cloud ecosystem in three weeks, rather than the usual 8-10 weeks, meaning the team could work on solving customers’ problems as quickly as possible.
Coxon says this was one of the goals with Stax, to remove a lot of the undifferentiated heavy lifting from customers and deliver it as part of the Stax platform.
“To ultimately let the people who are working on solving their customers’ problems get to solving those problems as quickly as possible.
Once the initial migration was complete and the applications and data were in the cloud, Stax’s cost feature helped the company optimize and refactor their applications, rather than the company incurring additional costs. This refactoring stage can often drag on, but Stax accelerated this process as well.
Articulating the Business Case for Cloud
Brad says he often sees technology looked at as a cost center, not a strategic investment area.
Turning the conversation on its head and getting people to view it as an investment area, means you actually need to be good at running a cost centre. And in order to be really good at running a cost centre you need to know what’s driving your costs and be able to confirm those costs actually bring a tangible benefit to the business.
“If you can’t articulate that, you can’t flip that conversation into actually the dollar you’re investing has this business benefit.”
Stax’s Cost feature also helps here, he says. Dashboards, allocation and reports make it easier to “make sure you’re investing in the right way”.
Finding the Best People, and Getting Buy-in
Blyth has advice for those finding recruitment to be a problem.
"You need to just acknowledge that if you’re all on-site infra at the moment, the team you have aren’t going to be able to do the job. The first basic principles are very different, and they need to be upskilled or augment the team.”
Along with this issue, those in the market with the skills you need won’t be interested in working on another migration, he says.
“Partnering with someone and helping them get to the next level is critical, and then you can sell them on: forget about the migration, that’s just something we’re going to get through and get through as quick as we can.
“Actually, it’s going to unlock all this potential, and all this great business-impacting stuff that we’re going to do.”
To hear more about Flybuys’ journey with Stax, watch the full webinar.