Meet the Agents of Transformation - La Poste Group

Ugo Marnet, Head of Support, La Poste Group

Ugo Marnet joined La Poste Group in 2011 and leads third party application performance monitoring and maintenance.

What's your current role and which part of your work focuses on transformation or innovation projects?

As an Agent of Transformation, I am focused on driving the performance of our third party applications maintenance (TPAM), transforming the way we work and optimizing our resolution time, specifically around incidents and anomalies in our digital services. It’s been a huge project – introducing new processes to automate repetitive and labour-intensive tasks so that the team of developers, business analysts and IT operations specialists can spend more time driving new innovation and helping the business on its digital transformation journey. It’s been hugely successful, significantly improving the performance of both our digital services and the customer experience, and in turn, the team is now widely respected and valued by the business.

Has being an Agent of Transformation accelerated your career, and those of your team?

Today, other departments come to the TPAM team because they recognize us as experts, both technically and functionally, but also in how we can help them get the visibility and insight they need into their digital channels to inform how they can improve performance and customer experience. We have gone from being a team of ‘fixers’ to a team of experts that the business relies on.

We’re proud of the work we do, and were honoured to attend AppDynamics Global Tour in Paris as a speaker to share our experiences with other technologists. It’s a great showcase for La Poste Group, but also for us as individuals looking to grow our careers.

What has been the most exciting transformation project you've worked on, and why?

In 2018, the e-commerce director at La Poste needed quick access to real-time data about our online business performance, and she wanted it on a screen in her office. At the time, her team – which included web analytics, marketing, revenue management, etc – had a range of individual measurement and monitoring solutions but they could neither provide the information in real-time, nor integrate with each other to provide a single view of the business.

We set ourselves a challenge to make it happen, because we knew it was possible, and that’s where AppDynamics came in. We worked in secret to develop a single view of everything she needed using AppDynamics’ dashboard tools. Once we presented it to the Board, we got great feedback, made a few tweaks and then the dashboard was rolled out internally. Very quickly we moved to a model where there were screens around the office, showing the data and insight each team required to drive their part of the business.

By showcasing the power of AppDynamics via these dashboards, we have created adoption across the business and the opportunity to invest more in the critical area of application and business performance monitoring.

Can you think of any major challenges or obstacles that you had to overcome to become an Agent of Transformation?

When I first joined the team, the biggest challenge to address was morale. Developers were bored of fixing the same old problems – they wanted to work on cool projects that would get them noticed in the wider business. But because they were always focused on production issues or stuck in war rooms trying to understand what had gone wrong, no-one in the business really knew what the team did, or placed any huge value on their contribution.

We had to change our mentality if we wanted to be more visible and have the chance to work on more innovative projects. The commitment of the team was fantastic – we set to work, introducing new tools and processes, were able to leverage data to showcase the performance improvements and reached out to other departments to see how we could better work together and support their goals and ambitions. The turnaround has been remarkable and I am so proud of the team and how far we’ve come.

Did you have a mentor or someone who was a big influence in your journey to becoming an Agent of Transformation?

In my early career I worked in Web Content Accessibility for a manager who was a renowned guru in the industry. He was a real character – bold, tough, demanding, but also fair. I was so young, and he really inspired me and pushed me to really excel. Very quickly I was considered a true expert in my field, despite my age, and as a result worked on major customer accounts and built a huge wealth of experience which has served me well as I have developed in my career.

Today, I am lucky to work for Benoît Ducarne – he’s a fantastic leader, giving me expert advice but also lots of freedom, particularly in the way I manage my team and the workflow in my department. We have a mutual trust and respect which I really value. He places the importance of relationships within the team very highly and has instilled balance and wellbeing into the workplace.

What are the skills or character attributes that technologists should be focusing on in order to become Agents of Transformation and drive successful innovation projects?

The most important attribute for any technologist looking to become an Agent of Transformation is to be curious. It’s so tempting to limit yourself to your field or area of expertise – after all, it’s what you know and what made you successful in your career to-date. I encourage my team to be curious about what other departments are doing, but also to look beyond La Poste and learn how other companies and industries are approaching some of the same challenges and how we can introduce some of those ideas to our business.

How can an organization create an environment where Agents of Transformation can flourish?

Creating a culture of trust at all levels is vitally important as it gives you the freedom to experiment, push boundaries and work in a way that suits you. Without it, you are hampered before you even begin the challenge of driving transformation in your business.

To what extent do you think being an Agent of Transformation is about looking to challenge the norm?

It’s really important to look beyond how things have always been done and to consider if it could be approached differently to drive a better outcome. So many businesses are facing similar challenges today, so it’s important to always be looking beyond your own four walls and learning from other companies and industries.

Changing the way things have always been done is not easy – you have to challenge long-held perceptions and habits, often about things that are not fundamentally broken but that could simply be improved to drive greater value. A lot of people don’t want to hear those opinions – so you have to communicate your ideas in a credible way that positions them as good for the individual and the business.

What skills should organizations look for when recruiting technologists who have the potential to become Agents of Transformation?

Test the candidate’s curiosity, and go beyond the professional side of things to see how that curiosity manifests in their personal life too. It could be in any area, from music to culture, travel to art. Look for areas where they have stepped outside of their comfort zone to experience or learn something new, I’m always excited to recruit people who challenge themselves, because that natural curiosity is key to success when it comes to driving innovation.

"Creating a culture of trust at all levels is vitally important as it gives you the freedom to experiment"

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