14th December 2022

How our IT Channels team is supercharging Vodafone’s growth

Our IT channels team’s mission is to help all our Vodafone markets define, share and quickly deliver the best digital solutions for our customers and agents, and standardise them across all markets and channels.

We’re always aiming to innovate and transform how we interact with our customers and how we sell our products and services. Every day is different as the team explores new technologies, gets stuck into implementation, helps shape our digital strategy and product roadmaps, and finds solutions to user problems. Never a dull moment!

It’s an always-changing environment, with a fast-paced cycle of planning, building, and deploying software continuously. Here’s more about what’s currently underway, what’s in the pipeline and why it’s such an exciting time to be a part of it all.

Marwan Al-Droubi
Principal Product Manager for Retail & Web

Tell us about the impact you’re making at Vodafone.
At heart, we’re a product and delivery team, so making an impact on our markets and customers is part of our DNA. There are a few key ingredients to this. Firstly, defining a purpose and vision – digital first, customer focused, omnichannel and reuse across our markets and channels. Secondly, understanding what differentiates our products and building on that to innovate in an iterative way. Finally, delivering products that emotionally resonate with users because they are simple, intuitive and solve real problems – all based on actual user experience, not perceived assumptions of what users want.

Applying these principles, we are helping to transform the retail experience for our customers and colleagues, delivering self-service kiosks to cut customer waiting times and keeping our agents focused on sales. We are now empowering agents through a retail portal on tablets to serve our customers anywhere, side by side, so our agents can deliver a better customer experience.

What are you excited about right now?
We’re a fun, collaborative and diverse team with different nationalities and time zones, and women in key positions. This helps us to best reflect our customers and markets. We’re faced with constant challenges but that’s what makes work exciting!

One product I am particularly excited about this year is guided selling – a smart digital tool that we built from scratch with a small new team (like a start-up). It mimics what a good agent does in store, i.e. having a natural conversation with customers to understand their needs and preferences, then recommending products and services.

Guided selling was our first implementation of One Platform Web, so we used it as a launch board to experiment with how to build a unified platform that can be used by all our markets, and how to configure products to be omnichannel across Web and Retail. I learnt a lot on this project!

Dean Jennings
Delivery Manager, Contact Automation Team (CATs)

What’s your favourite project you’re working on right now?
I’m really excited about the rollout of our global TOBi platform. My team is responsible for technical management of a number of contact automation services, in particular this one. I work with a small squad of Technical Delivery Managers to support both new markets that want to onboard to the Global Tobi Platform, and existing markets that want to introduce new features and/or improve customer experience.

TOBi is one of the biggest AI customer care bots in the world. It currently handles 15 million conversations per month and is deployed in 15 markets. It uses Natural Language Understanding to recognise a customer's intent, e.g. "I want to pay my bill" , from whatever they type into TOBi.

The Composer is developed in-house and will replace our current conversational design tool used by many, but not all Global Tobi Platform markets, with a single design tool that can be used by all. Composer will allow us not only to reduce costs, but provide an even richer TOBi experience to our customers. In addition, having a single design platform across all markets is another key step in promoting reusability and allowing markets to share innovation and the best performing user journeys. It is a challenging project, but working with our colleagues in Group Commercial and the excellent TOBi teams in each market, it is a challenge I will relish!

What impact will it have on the business?
It provides the foundation to enable our markets to offer industry leading, content rich customer journeys. Customers can get advice, manage their account, purchase new products and services, etc. via a number of channels e.g. My Vodafone App, Web, Whats App, Facebook, etc.

For those customers that still prefer to talk rather than type, the Global Tobi Platform also provides intelligent voice interaction, which is far more effective and less annoying than using traditional IVR solutions. For customers, this means they can get their question/issue resolved effectively and efficiently, without a long wait for connection to a live agent.

For Vodafone, so much customer traffic handled by TOBi rather than live customer care agents has a significant impact on cost. In addition, having a single, reusable platform that each market can quickly and simply integrate into their own infrastructure, allows reuse across markets. This not only minimises effort and costs, but also provides a consistent technology stack across Vodafone that enables reuse of features and the best performing user journeys. The result is faster growth and higher customer satisfaction scores.

Pamela Sarkisyan
Digital Services Designer

What is your team’s role and goals at Vodafone?
I joined Vodafone as a Technology Discover Graduate and now work in the MyVodafone App team (part of the Digital Channels organisation) Within the team my role has evolved a lot – I started as a developer working on various integrations and proof of concepts, and for the past three years my focus has been on devops and automation.

I have been working to set up a DevOps environment, which uses the latest tooling and which we support and improve on a daily basis. This environment currently supports over 100 developers in over 5 countries (Egypt, Czech, Albania, Italy and Turkey) and it continues to grow.

What are you excited to work on in the coming year?
This year we have kicked off new initiatives to standardise how we deliver MyVodafone across all of the market teams. Did you know we currently have over 15 MyVodafone apps? And each of them is created from scratch! This new initiative aims to make use of shared capacity and build journeys globally between us as a single team.

My team is driving standardisation at scale, sharing knowledge across the organisation and breaking down silos. Everyone is working to the same standards and contributing to a single goal while working together as one team.

I’m excited to be part of such global initiatives and the challenges they bring, working with others and making use of all of my skills in enabling development teams. Whether it’s by reusing our DevOps environment or jumping into the code to help where I can, I like to keep myself busy. I love that the teams I work with and opportunities I get here drive me to do more every day!

There’s a world of opportunity to make your mark at Vodafone. Head to our careers page for open roles!