CIO50 2019: #20 Ted Suen, MTR Corporation
During the past two years, the most impactful innovation at MTR Corporation has been the establishment of a Digital Enterprise Architecture (DEA), billed as pivotal in driving business application innovation and modernisation.
According to Chief Information Officer Ted Suen, heightened focus on APIs, microservices, DevOps, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and data analytics are “fundamental architecture components” in supporting agile and scrum developments within the business, in the pursuit of faster innovation experiments and prototyping.
Through DEA, IT departments can quickly experiment new ideas such as the provision of personalised travel experience and shopping services. Since rolling out the platform, Suen said the move has delivered “several flagship digital innovations” to the business.
Firstly, the MTR Mobile App provides an intelligent and unified digital information platform to customers, delivered through iBeacon technologies, AI, video analytics and chat bots.
Key examples of innovation include smart ‘Trip Planner’ functions offering route suggestions and interchange information, as well as assessing “real-time crowd status” for passengers and station operations staff.
DEA has also allowed MTR to leverage AI solutions to optimise depot daily train deployment plans and mileage control on overhaul, with the business achieving increased productivity and cost saving through better asset utilisation and scheduling.
Alongside DEA, the organisation also deployed a Digital Workplace Program, used to empower employees with clear digital channels to enhance work effectiveness, such as a self-service portal with an AI chat bot feature.
For Suen however, digital transformation requires more consideration than just technology, and should be incorporated as an enterprise-wide culture change program focusing on people and talent.