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CIO50 2022 #26-50 Johnny Serrano, GroundProbe

  • Name Johnny Serrano
  • Title Chief digital officer
  • Company GroundProbe
  • Commenced role 2021
  • Reporting Line TBC
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 13 staff
  • Related

    Over the past two years, GroundProbe has been on a digital transformation journey to ensure its IT services are flexible and scalable and deal with the constraints of its legacy infrastructure.

    The provider of technology for measuring and monitoring geohazards grappled with a manual pricing and quote template that was prone to errors, slow and bulky Excel spreadsheets that were difficult to maintain, and a lack of pricing governance.

    GroundProbe also did have a complete view of then customer, which made it difficult to up-sell and cross-sell to its customer base.

    Chief digital officer, Johnny Serrano, says the organisation needed to allow for a more mobile workforce to help serve customers in more than 30 countries, supported by offices in Australia, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe.

    Serrano made decisions on digital projects and expedited them to ensure staff at the provider of technology for measuring and monitoring geohazards could continue to do their work during a challenging time while serving external customers.

    A key initiative, sponsored by Serrano, was the implementation of the cloud-based Salesforce CRM product which provides staff and customers with a centralised view of their data while transforming how the company operated globally.

    The implementation, developed and implemented with partners, helps staff connect and visualise meaningful data.

    “This gives GroundProbe the tools that are needed to deliver fast, agile and integrated services through an integrated browser and mobile app platform designed to offer a seamless customer experience,” says Serrano.

    The platform allows for a global sales process and has embedded key account management with data and support in a ‘one pane of glass’ view. The unification of systems allows GroundProbe to store information about a customer in a profile-like record.

    Sales and support managers can make updates, review historical information, and assign tasks to supporting teams from one central location. Support teams can click into a case record and follow up on next steps, including reviewing the details of support tickets, and tagging subject matter experts on tough questions. It notifies the customer or status updates, technical documents, software downloads and access to online training.

    Serrano also negotiated with Microsoft for the implementation of a new SaaS offering. The application was architected and developed in the Azure cloud and will be released as a disruptive service to the mining industry shortly, he says.

    Improving customer intimacy, a diversity champion

    Serrano is part of GroundProbe’s leadership team and his main focus is providing strategic direction in improving customer intimacy through technology for the organisation’s customers.

    His influence has extended to GroundProbe’s owner, Orica, to which he has been presenting innovations and ideas to multiple departments for adoption.

    An advocate for diversity, inclusion and indigenous talent in his workplace and the community, Serrano was recently recognised for his contribution to the IT industry receiving 2021 Australian Computer Society President’s Award.

    Serrano established an internship program where migrants are mentored and provided with real world experiences while creating the right safe environment for women to develop and thrive.

    He also contributed to the publication of the National Diversity & Inclusion Committee (NDIC) reference guide and Deloitte Digital Pulse on diversity statistics in IT. And as an ACS board member, he helped establish the first QLD Emerging Professionals Committee (emceed by Serrano), as well as the first student-led QLD Emerging Professionals Committee, and is also active on the board of the UN Women’s Committee.

    Changing mindsets

    Serrano says the biggest challenge he has faced during his career is transforming the IT department from a traditional provider of IT services to a key business partner. He has had to overcome the perception of IT as an overhead, innovation blocker and ‘shadow IT’ being used across GroundProbe when he was appointed to the role.

    “This situation felt overwhelming and the IT team felt undervalued with quite a defensive mindset,” he says.

    “I realised that a good leader is only as strong as the team they build around them, and I needed to convince my own team and change their mindsets if I was going to succeed.”

    When he first joined GroundProbe, Serrano looked for opportunities where technology could reduce costs, and get his team motivated so they could learn and develop new skills. He went on to develop innovations with his team that have engaged the wider business and delivered real results.

    Byron Connolly

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