The cost of looking busy. ‘Wasted work’ means real challenges for IT

According to Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers CIO, Alex Larson, being busy does not equal being productive at work but it’s a surprisingly easy trap to fall into.

Speaking today at the WA IT Leaders Summit in Perth, Mr Larson said that with a technology boom occurring across the Wesfarmers division, the challenge was to focus his team on priorities and to recognise the real work from the ‘wasted work’.

“Confusing activity with outcomes is one of the main drivers for focusing on the wrong priorities,” said Mr Larson.

“If you’re working hard on the wrong priorities it’s wasted effort, so for me it’s all about team health and focus, not how to whip harder for faster delivery.”

Mr Larson said the solution was to define priorities by developing concise strategies and identifying clear operational plans, tasks and outcomes. This removed the cost of additional staff doing ‘fake work’, reduced the cost of customer delays and effectively meant doing more with less in a measurable way.

“If the value of the activity doesn’t stack up, don’t do it. Have meaningful metrics, strengthen communication channels, keep customers at the core and work to people’s strengths,” he said.

Mr Larson said there were eight businesses across the Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers division so it was up to IT to help drive technological change and encourage take-up in order to have a valuable effect.

“Enhancing customer experiences while reducing costs can only occur with a focused IT strategy that is ‘lived’ by both the IT team and the business divisions. It could be something as simple as a report through to robotic process automation, predictive analytics or advanced connected operations.”

Mr Larson said the global technology landscape was continuing to speed up and technology obsolescence was a real concern within the industry. 

“Large implementations are a thing of the past; it’s about driving short sprint-style deliveries, building your platforms like Lego, each providing returned value to the company with the ability to pivot solutions or platforms without committing to multiple years and millions in sunk costs.
“The trick is not to be overwhelmed by the sea of possible solutions. At some point you need to make the informed decision to change, adapt and trust you’ve made the right decision in line with the objective outcomes for the business. Our motto in IT is simple: invest in technology, save in business.”

Fact file

  • Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers is a division of Wesfamers Ltd.

Media contact: Natasha Mutch 0437 301 796 or email


Latest award cements CSBP on the innovation map

CSBP and NGIS have continued to boost their innovation credentials following this year’s WA Information Technology Telecommunications Alliance’s (WAITTA) INCITE awards in Perth on Friday, 16 June 2017.

Each year, WAITTA recognises the outstanding performance and contribution by members of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) highlighting innovative ICT products, technical solutions or projects.

Leading edge web tool, FERTview, won the Most Effective Platform category following on from the success of winning the APSEA Spatial Enablement Award earlier this year. The satellite-imagery website, GreenPrecision, was also recognised as a National Awards finalist in the Most Disruptive Technology category.

FERTview and GreenPrecision were developed by CSBP Fertilisers with Australian technology partner NGIS Australia, and with the use of cutting-edge technology have provided opportunities to improve the practices for CSBP customers.

FERTview provides farmers with paddock maps, sample data and biomass imagery to create customised fertiliser plans and get more out of their Soil and Plant analysis. GreenPrecision uses the processing power of Google Earth Engine to analyse satellite imagery which instantly helps farmers view and compare crops to previous years, driving efficiencies in their farming operations.

General Manager CSBP Fertilisers, Charlie Perkins, said these awards recognise CSBP’s continued efforts to challenge the traditional approaches to farming.

“The innovative FERTview and GreenPrecision products focus on the end-user experience. Previously, farmers had to rely on intuition or complicated systems requiring expert end users, but a simple Google Maps interface gives power back to CSBP customers, enabling them to make better informed decisions and maximising productivity,” said Mr Perkins.

Mr Perkins added, “Global interest in GreenPrecision’s effective applications led CSBP to incorporate the technology into the FERTview initiative under In-Season Imagery, allowing CSBP customers to experience the benefits of both products in one simple to use application.”

"These two products represent significant innovations in agriculture and it is exciting that CSBP has been recognised as a disruptor in our industry,” said Mr Perkins.

Fact file

FERTview has been available to CSBP’s WA fertiliser customers since late 2015
FERTview supports the viewing of over 100,000 paddocks digitally mapped covering almost6 million hectares of farmland in WA
For more information on FERTview and In-Season Imagery go to
For more information on the awards go to WAITTA Incite Awards


Media: Justin Manning | Corporate Communications Advisor | M: 0429 543 148 | E:

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