“The best postal service deserves the best IT”

The Information Technology unit plays a key role in implementing the “Swiss Post of tomorrow” strategy. In this interview, Wolfgang Eger, Head of IT/Technology at Swiss Post, talks about the challenges and opportunities of the Swiss Post of tomorrow.

Gabriel Ehrbar

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Wolfgang Eger, Head of IT/Technology at Swiss Post
Wolfgang Eger, Head of IT/Technology at Swiss Post

What impacts will the new “Swiss Post of tomorrow” strategy have on the IT/Technology unit?

In the future, the Swiss Post of tomorrow will need more IT and technology in numerous areas. At the same time, digitization means that we have to deliver items quickly, professionally, inexpensively and of course with at least the same high level of quality as we do now. This is why we need to align ourselves more closely with the business and function units. And that’s precisely what we are doing with our new “embedded IT” operating model. It means we constantly need the same competent points of contact who maintain close, transparent dialogue with the business, can take decisions and have access to IT competencies. But we also want to contribute more to making Swiss Post efficient while, of course, playing a greater role in the future technologies that we at Swiss Post need. IT is shaping, driving forward and supporting Swiss Post’s digital transformation.

That all sounds like a major staffing requirement. How many people does IT/Technology actually employ?

We currently employ around 1,200 staff throughout Switzerland. In addition to them, there are numerous external colleagues who support us in projects or with specific expertise, for example. This makes us one of the country’s largest IT employers, a fact many people might not be aware of.

What opportunities does the “Swiss Post of tomorrow” offer?

A huge opportunity. Through our growth strategy, we’ll not only maintain our economic viability and, in turn, guarantee our future; the new Swiss Post strategy will also create a number of new opportunities for our staff with interesting tasks. In particular, we’ll also do something for Switzerland with our current and future competencies and services – both for the population and for the economy. So we are actually powering Switzerland.

Why does IT/Technology play a key role in Swiss Post’s future business activities and digital transformation.

“Let’s face it – which processes still work today without IT?” One way or another, IT is involved in every aspect of our business. We see that both at and outside work. And that’s why future business activities – and not only in Communication Services – will need increasingly more from IT. Many of the new services are either digital or include key digitized aspects, which is why IT/Technology plays such an important role here. If we don’t provide suitable support, Swiss Post as a whole has a problem.

What are the main challenges you face?

There are some challenges which we must, and want to, take up. But I think that one of the main challenges is to have prepared the future requirements of Swiss Post quickly enough and to be able to implement them – despite all the “history” we have in our systems and, to a certain extent, have to take with us.

What are the next steps in IT/Technology? What changes will soon be made?

First, until the end of the year, we will make all the necessary preparations for our adjustments with regard to partner support for the business units, enhancing efficiency optimization and preparing technology expertise. We plan to implement this on 1 January 2020. That’s when everything really begins, as we will then move ahead with our current transformation to meet the requirements of the future. And alongside this, we’ll continue to handle the thousand different issues that fall under our remit every day. The best postal service deserves the best IT.

Digitization continues its inexorable progress. Against this backdrop, how will we handle our postal transactions in, say, ten years’ time?

When I look at my 10-year-old twins, I think that they’ll want to experience postal transactions in a truly digital sense. But they’ll need help as, even then, not everything will be handled online. I believe that interpersonal contact will still be very important in the future. It‘ll be a hybrid world in which the digital aspect will be far more present.

written by

Gabriel Ehrbar