Advisory Council Member: Gil Mounsey
Gil Mounsey leads the Usability and Information Engineering (U&IE) functional group in the NCR Payment Solutions Business Unit, located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. NCR’s Payment Solutions specializes in large, complex, image-based check processing solutions for the financial industry and does business on a global scale. Its mandate now includes electronic payments. Gil’s group is also connected to development constituencies in San Antonio, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Since assuming his leadership role seven years ago, Gil has successfully seen his group progress from Technical Publications, to Information Products, and now Usability and Information Engineering. The conversion of his organization from one that was providing good information products to one that is creating state-of-art embedded performance support software to enhance operations has recently been heralded as a remarkable achievement, resulting in his team being awarded the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for Usability Engineering across the entire Corporation.
As NCR rapidly moves toward a solutions-based company, Gil’s strong views that we can only bring value to the solution by uniting the two disciplines of design integrity and information has been vindicated, because U&IE is now responsible for all hardware and software interfaces at the product level. Gil has achieved this through a thorough understanding of change management, customer and business needs analysis, competencies, and portfolio and pipeline management. The use of a cascaded Strategic Plan was one of the devices that permitted everyone in his organization to contribute to the outcome and participate as a full owner in the results. Gil also introduced benchmarking studies and a “process week,” in which the entire team focused on developing best practices and job aids. His continuing support of cross-functional engagement in needs analysis, and senior management buy-in for allocating 15 to 20 percent functional excellence activities are other examples of devices that engender high-performing self-empowered teams. As part of this change, Gil is increasing the diversity of his group to include human factors, cognitive engineering, and visual communication competencies.
When Gil was recently asked by his senior management team what key factor attributed to the successful transformation of U&IE to a value-add organization, he quickly answered:
A thorough understanding of user needs-the most important aspect of U&IE’s process begins with this analysis. Once we’ve clearly identified and articulated the usability goals, including the business case, the information is shared among all cross-functional team members. After agreements are in place with all constituencies (hardware, software, professional services, and support services) we begin the design phase. Of course, we need to work very closely with all of these groups in order to achieve the usability goals, for we can only meet some of them ourselves.
After working as an electrical engineer and leaving England, Gil worked briefly as a civil engineer. He joined Westinghouse in Canada as a Technical Writer in 1974, then went to Raytheon in 1979 as a senior writer. He returned to NCR as a Technical Writer in 1980 and eventually rose to his current position in 1993. Gil is a senior member of the STC and a member of the Human Factors society. He fully encourages his team members to extend their knowledge and professional development by participating in professional societies. Gil is also strengthening university relationships through increased internship, partnership, and communication programs.
Gil has a diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Reading College of Advanced Technology in Berkshire, UK. He immigrated to Canada in 1970, and now lives with his wife and two sons in the banana-belt of snowy Canada. (It really isn’t that bad; Minnesota is farther north and a lot snowier!)