Head of Technology & Engineering at Australia Post
Alberto Simongini is an accomplished ICT business leader with nearly 20 years’ experience in driving successful revenue growth through digital innovation. As a leader, Simongini prides himself on his ability to serve organisations decisively, placing great emphasis on the importance of developing, mentoring and coordinating high-performing teams. For him, people are as important as the latest technology trends.
For nearly three years, Simongini has honed his skills in both areas as Head of Technology & Engineering at Australia Post, a government business enterprise that provides postal services in Australia. He joined Australia Post in the midst of its digital transformation, a process that is allowing the organisation’s business and government clients to directly interact with their customers in a far more effective way.
And while, during his tenure, he has overseen innovations such as Digital iD™, the first form of digital identity in the country to be accredited by the federal government’s Digital Transformation Agency, he is an advocate for the hiring and retaining of an effective team. “Our workforce is very diverse, from customer experience design to development, security and operation,” he explains.
“Our business transformation triggered a large investment into the latest technologies from cloud infrastructure to automation (e.g. Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery), from Big Data to machine learning and from cyber security to compliance (ISM and PCI). Now that we’ve established new ways of working and integrated this with a new technology ecosystem, our team’s engagement is more about our passion towards continuous improvement and growing our products in the market.
Essential to delivering this is the collaborative spirit fostered by Simongini and his colleagues: “Most importantly, it's a collaboration to allow people to understand why things are needed, so you can all rally behind the challenges ahead to deliver a customer-focused solution,” he says.
“The team becomes owners of the product and we see a shift from engineering being about execution to actually becoming the subject matter expert of the product in itself, and pushing its area of influence towards sales and customer engagement rather than being inward facing; that’s when engineering becomes product engineering.”
Creating the right culture to develop new ways of working and an ability to constantly adapt across the organisation has been integral to the success of the transformation, too. “Ideally, you want to build your team from the very beginning and scale it so the culture grows with it,” reasons Simongini.
“This is not always possible, so we have to find ways to support other parts of the organisation by inheriting the resources of different teams. Often, each team brings their own technology and culture, so we’ve had to break down the old ways and encourage a new esprit de corps a few times.”
“It's very different recruiting people for something you're building from scratch, compared to recruiting for something that is already running.”