Belron Chief Information and Digital Officer Nick Burton has shown the vehicle glass repair and replacement group that IT can be effective, flexible and cost-efficient while employing a modern approach, rather than taking service centralisation as the default.

During the past year Burton has deployed a broad range of customer-focused initiatives across the various jurisdictions of the multinational business. A universal data hub now joins customer data across devices and sessions and throughout the customer journey. AI-powered conversational IVR telephony allows customers to self-serve appointment changes. An "Uber-like" process shows the customer where their mobile technician is and gives them an accurate estimate of when they will arrive. A digital self-service portal gives customers the power to make changes to appointments themselves. And the introduction of AI-based visual recognition means customers can even self-diagnose damage to a vehicle's glass or body based on photos.

Along with the powerful customer focus, Burton has equipped Belron staff with modern digital tools to increase efficiency and performance. A mobile app and QR codes supports the management of additional products such as windscreen wipers in engineers' vans, reducing stock loss and allowing the business to offer online sales for extra products. In 2017 he also took the first steps in a modernised approach to building custom apps for the business, by using microservices, an API gateway and a presentation-independent BPO tool to manage business logic.

Among his other notable achievements in the past year is a push to cultivate a digital mindset among Belron executives. One of the most effective initiatives has been another edition of its startup accelerator programme, with each startup paired with a Belron country team to solve a variety of business problems.