“If Brooke Digital was a wine… It would be a very young but exciting Tempranillo.”

Meet Bruce McGregor, Managing Partner of Brooke’s disruptive new service offering Brooke Digital. We managed to catch him for a quick Skype between meetings this week to find out what makes him tick and what this new venture is all about.

Congratulations on the launch of Brooke Digital. Before we learn more about this initiative, we’re keen to learn a bit more about you.

Fire away.

What drives you Bruce?

I’ve been lucky enough to work in roles that have placed me at the leading edge of technology for a long time now, starting with the introduction of SMS at Telstra in the early 2000s. I have always found myself fascinated with how technology impacts people and consumers, how they transform the way we live and work.

I am particularly attracted to projects that other people would put in the impossible basket, large scale service changes to large organisations or government departments. In my previous role [as chief executive of Adhocracy] I helped clients unearth customer insights that became “ah-ha!” moments in understanding why their customers were so frustrated day in and day out. We worked on solutions that improved the customer experience, but also brought about significant savings through the removal of excess work.

My passion is helping organisations and governments transform how they deliver services and how they market to consumers like you and I. I relish the opportunity to tackle different problems and find new customer-led solutions and opportunities with the help of technology.

Turning to your new role, why Brooke?

What attracted me to Brooke initially was the culture of Brooke, meeting the co-founders Lester, Jeroen and Brett. It’s a firm that really wants to grow and make a difference, and to get there by thinking differently. That culture was very compelling to me. In many ways it mirrored the culture of the firm that I was leading previously, but in addition Brooke brings with it size, scale and governance that we were yet to reach. Our subject matter expertise of service and digital transformation, plus the culture, governance and mastery in strategic design thinking offered by Brooke made it the perfect partnership.

What is Brooke Digital all about?

Brooke Digital’s focus is on tackling one of the key problems facing organisations today, and that is how to successfully design and rapidly implement an enduring customer-led service transformation demanded by a fast-changing digital landscape.

The online customer experience is the new battleground for customers. Never before have customers had so much choice, nor the opportunity to easily compare products and services and make a switch.

Who will Brooke Digital be of most benefit to?

People inside corporates or governments currently tasked with figuring out a way to transform their business to deliver a better customer service experience supported by a better digital experience. If you need to deliver that project and you need to do it successfully, then you need to talk to Brooke Digital.

The person charged with that accountability could be a C-level executive, or more likely they work for a C-level. They own a business unit, they’re sponsors, they’re heads of marketing or heads of innovation.

How is Brooke Digital different from other digitally-based consulting firms?

Other digitally-based consulting firms are primarily focused on technology. Essentially they are looking to swap out one shiny box for another shiny box. But when you are thinking from a customer perspective and you are charged with creating a better service experience you have to think about people first and foremost, both your customers and your internal staff and stakeholders. When clients truly approach business problems from a customer point of view, they discover insights that they can’t believe they didn’t see before. It’s amazing to watch the dialogue change inside an organisation when these light-bulb moments happen.

So, people come first, but you also need to think about your business processes. Then, and only then, can you optimise the technology to achieve your objectives.

Our biggest point of difference is that we focus intensely on people and outcomes and then we source the technology to enable that. In many cases organisations already have most of the technology, it is just being underutilised.

What kinds of challenges have you been able to overcome for your clients in the past?

When government or corporate clients have had initial conversations with me in the past the most common concern has been that they are too big to transform, or that there are too many risks involved. They are usually under intense pressure to do so, with high expectations from upper management of reductions in costs and inefficiencies. They often struggle to know where to start.

By putting people ahead of technology through frameworks like Emotion Based Design, employing early implementation and agile delivery strategy, my team have consistently minimised risk and delivered successful customer experience and digital transformations for these clients. Our clients get a lot of reassurance from the fact that our milestones are proven via customer outcomes, not just achieving deadline dates.

I can confidently say that we can deliver customer-led service transformations faster and smoother than anyone else in the market.

What do you see as the biggest challenge in transformation?

Transformation is always difficult, especially when an organisation is tackling it from a customer perspective. The people involved need to have constant reassurance that change is OK and that they are heading in the right direction. A lack of leadership in enrolling staff in change has been shown to be the number one reason for transformations to fail. So it is vital to get this right.

You need to think about how will you involve your people in the change and ensure that they don’t view transformation as a big scary thing. They need to know that their accountabilities, the work that they are tasked with, will be made simpler through the process of transformation.

And lastly, if Brooke Digital was a wine, what would it be?

If Brooke Digital was a wine it would be a very young but exciting Tempranillo. A Tempranillo has got some really classic qualities about it, but it’s not that well known compared with standards like Shiraz, Cabernet and Malbec. Once people taste a high impact Tempranillo, they’ll give the old grapes away.