As the vice president of technology at Texas electricity company TXU Energy, Ravi Malick is focused on the user experience—which includes not only his customers, but also his own employees.
“We have a million and a half customers on the residential side and another few hundred thousand business customers,” Malick says. “You group that with our employees and partners, you get a significant population interacting with technology at TXU Energy.”
With so many people of so many backgrounds using that technology, it’s no wonder ensuring their satisfaction is a high priority for Malick. And for TXU Energy, this mostly means making sure people don’t encounter any problems when using its website or mobile application. In short, he says, “We want it to be very easy for our customers to do business with us.”
Secondary, but related to that, is improving productivity across all departments. By keeping the technology functioning correctly, Malick and his team ensure everyone, whether they work in call centers or revenue operations, is working more efficiently. Productivity is connected to a third goal of Malick’s, which is making sure its technology is in line with TXU Energy’s strategy. In other words, when properly maintained and used, technology should help drive revenue growth, acquire new customers, keep customers, innovate, and examine new products.
“I’m very fortunate to have a great team. We have an overall operating model where our employees really focus on the growth opportunities for the business.”
Still, Malick says he spends most of his time focusing on strategy and staying on the right track. On the financial side, this means making sure the technology department is appropriately funded and that they’re on the lookout for opportunities to improve their operating costs. But it also involves risk assessment, which Malick conducts in every area of the department.
Malick is able to keep his sights set on the users—and usually away from “dealing with system issues on a tactical basis”—largely thanks to his team. It consists of five direct reports, each covering an area of TXU Energy’s technology landscape: a director of digital and CRM, a director of business platform and integration, a director of data and analytics, a director of architecture and innovation, and a delivery-office director covering finance and vendor management.
“I’m very fortunate to have a great team,” Malick says. “We have an overall operating model where our employees really focus on the growth opportunities for the business. A large percentage of our employees are working on programs we consider to be things that are more material in investment, as well as capability.”
In order to facilitate this work environment, TXU Energy has almost entirely switched over to using Agile—which allows them to communicate more easily with each other and those in other areas of the business—as their delivery tool. TXU Energy began the transition about three years ago, and at this point is almost completely an Agile shop. “We have a very collaborative and interactive team, not only within the technology organization, but with the business,” Malick says. “Our Agile teams are composed of people from technology, as well as people from various areas of the business.”
At the end of the day, Malick has to be mindful of what the company and its customers might expect from him in the future, and he anticipates the need for mobile platforms will only continue to grow.
“I think the capabilities in mobile, the ability to really help manage people’s lives and make their lives easier, will continue,” he says. “And that it will continue to have a positive impact and a simplifying impact on people’s lives.”