Meet the Agents of Transformation - La Poste Group

Nicolas Matelot, DevOps Manager, La Poste Group

Nicolas Matelot is a DevOps manager at La Poste Group’s digital division.

After starting his professional career in the banking sector, Nicolas joined La Poste Group as an IT Project Manager where he had the opportunity to develop his experience in various fields (web, CRM, repository). He has created his own DevOps team which now allows La Poste Group to have a continuous delivery approach.

How much of your work is focused on transformation or innovation-led projects?

The DevOps team helps bring new applications to market, and are involved at every stage, working with our colleagues from across the business to take an initial idea and see it through to delivery. As part of the continuous delivery approach, we have introduced new processes to test quality, undertake scalability tests and connect applications together. We invest in tools that drive efficiencies in the process – for example we use a small chatbot that enables teams to deploy by themselves, speeding up the deployment even further.

What is the most exciting transformation project you’ve worked?

One of the most exciting challenges has been the development of the DevOps team from scratch. The concept of DevOps was very much in its infancy, but the leadership team at Le Poste gave me the freedom to build a team of experts. Initially, we focused on the e-commerce website, but have quickly expanded our remit to represent all of the company’s digital platforms and applications.

As a team, we have had the opportunity to work on major transformation projects such as the redevelopment of the website in order to offer a better user experience. These innovation projects really motivate me and the team.

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

When you first join a company, you normally find a series of guidelines or processes in place, designed for everyone to follow. Whilst process is important, I always try to look and see if this is the best way to do something, and challenge myself to find more efficient or effective alternatives. I believe this philosophy is important if you want to drive innovation, and creates a culture where teams can test and try new ways of working to deliver even better performance to the business, and greater experiences for our customers.

Of course when you want to make changes, or do new things, you will come up against challenges. I encourage the team to persevere, convince, communicate, and little by little, make it possible.

Have you had a mentor on your journey to becoming an Agent of Transformation?

I first joined La Poste as a consultant, working for Olivier Sarignac, and throughout that early period, he always gave me the freedom and opportunity to develop my own ideas and come up with solutions to business and IT challenges. It was this trust in me – the autonomy – that really helped me to grow in my role, and saw me accept a permanent position. He has been a great mentor, and I continue to live by the lessons he taught me today.

What are the organizational qualities that are essential to enabling and supporting Agents of Transformation?

Companies need to instil a number of things in their teams, but for me, the most important is the freedom to experiment without the fear of failure. It takes strong leadership to let a team play, test, code – but it’s fundamental to identifying new and creative ways to do things and drive better outcomes for the business.

For example we recently discovered a security vulnerability in our platform – we were able to mobilise quickly to address it, and knew that we couldn’t afford for the situation to happen again. It wasn’t perceived as a failure, but as an opportunity to do better, to improve, to raise the bar.

What should technologists that are aspiring to become Agents of Transformation be looking for in their current role or next role?

Being an Agent of Transformation is about being curious, challenging the norm and the status quo. Anyone wanting to accelerate their career should look for companies with a culture that celebrates curiosity. Find an employer who will give you the time to read, research and learn about new technologies, cutting edge solutions, and innovative ways of doing things. You should have the freedom to explore how other people are addressing similar challenges and the ability to take inspiration from others. You can then bring these learnings back to our own organisation and adapt them to your specific challenges.

How has AppDynamics enabled you to become a more strategic player in your organization?

AppDynamics gives us real time application and business performance data that enables us to make strategic decisions about our applications. Each and every change to the back-end can have a huge impact on customer experience and business performance, so having access to quantified data both in pre and post production is critical.

With Business iQ, we can link customer experience and activity directly to business KPIs. This level of insight means that as a team, we can iterate on technical evolutions and see the immediate impact to the business. As a team, we can be more strategic and demonstrate our value to the business very easily.

Has AppDynamics helped you to progress in your career?

When I joined La Poste, I wasn’t hugely familiar with application and business performance monitoring, but I quickly learnt how critical it is to have the ability to connect the performance of the technology to the performance of the business. Having access to that level of insight and data, and being able to evidence my recommendations, has helped me raise my profile within the business. The opportunity to share my experience and advice with other technologists at AppD Global Tour in Paris was fantastic – these initiatives, and the kudos they bring, helps me and my team continue to push forward and drive innovation. I’ve never known a relationship like this with a technology vendor – they really are a true partner to me and the wider business.

Why are Agents of Transformation so critical to helping organizations and wider societies to adapt to rapid advances in technological innovation?

Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, and it often sees technologists being pushed outside of their comfort zone in order to keep pace. Taking risks and being willing to try new things is key to transforming the companies we work for, and the industries we work in. Agents of Transformation require the will, the confidence and the motivation to make bold decisions and change the future of our companies, The success of those decisions will be our legacy.

"Being an Agent of Transformation is about being curious, challenging the norm and the status quo. Anyone wanting to accelerate their career should look for companies with a culture that celebrates curiosity."

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