CIO50 2021 #26-50: Simon Casey, Barfoot & Thompson
Barfoot & Thompson quickly introduced an online auctions platform on barfoot.co.nz in mid-April 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 lockdown. CIO Simon Casey says the online auctions were up-and-running in just four weeks, “which highlights the talent and drive of those involved from AuctionsLive, to the Barfoot & Thompson delivery team and system integration through to the Auctions team's willingness to adopt new technology.”
Not only can every auction be viewed from anywhere in the world, no login is required to view them. The volume of those watching each auction indicates that there is interest, not just from those wanting to participate, but also from those wanting to watch and get a feel for the market. In the year ending 31 March 2021 Barfoot & Thompson sold $6.25 billion of property by conducting 8,055 auctions using the online auction platform. The auction listed properties attracted over 809,000 views through the AuctionsLive platform.
“We make it easy for our customers to view, register and bid on any property going to auction. Importantly we offer security to our vendors with auctions being able to proceed even if there is another lockdown. Also, we offer buyers a choice of bidding, in room by telephone bidding or by online bidding. Coupled with the use of Docusign, means we can offer remote contract completion so that transactions are easier than ever for buyers and sellers,” Casey says.
“The other ‘plus’ for customers is that salespeople and the auction team are here to help to ensure all runs smoothly. Our online auctions are live, secure, legally binding and with a video feed for total transparency. Bidders have been vetted and must be approved so you know that their offer is real and can be fulfilled should the hammer fall.”
In a time of unexpected and unprecedented events during the pandemic, many solutions were needed quickly for many unanticipated problems. AuctionsLive was quickly sourced and implemented and has been a superior platform to most of our competitors, and a welcome on-going tool in our arsenal. The implementation of AuctionsLive was rapid with ongoing improvements being delivered throughout the year. Within four weeks we went from in-room auctions to bidding online and buyers feeling comfortable with it.
"The Project team, the IT team and the AuctionsLive team are directly responsible for this implementation of this technology. We feel it highlights the talent and drive of those involved from AuctionsLive, to the project delivery team and system integration through to the Auctions team's willingness to adopt new technology,” he says.
The technology platform has provided confidence and another layer of customer service and accessibility in ever-changing times. The result of this innovation will be industry-changing forcing competitors to implement similar technology.
Agile and lean
Casey says his team has 40 members, a flat structure, agile teams with a low level of bureaucracy with himself as CIO and an IT manager. The teams include API, identity management, analytics, infrastructure, and IT service desk. In addition, there are three senior business analysts and one UX designer.
Each team is self-managing, and chief among their responsibilities is to choose their own tools. This has the advantage of ensuring that the technology remains current, and it helps attract curious and smart people to join the team, because the teams choose their tools, technologies and architectures, Casey says.