Matt Varley, Xplor Childcare & Education’s new GM, shares insights and vision after six months in the role
The Sector > Provider > Enterprise Solutions > Matt Varley, Xplor Childcare & Education’s new GM, shares insights and vision after six months in the role

Matt Varley, Xplor Childcare & Education’s new GM, shares insights and vision after six months in the role

by Jason Roberts

August 29, 2022

In December 2021 Xplor Childcare & Education (Xplor), the well-known childcare management software provider, appointed Matt Varley as its new General Manager (GM).   


Earlier this month Matt sat down with Jason Roberts, Founder and CEO of The Sector for a wide-ranging chat covering key highlights of his first six months in the role, what makes him tick as a leader and what the future for Xplor’s childcare and education vertical looks like.   


The first six months – Placing the customer first, an absolute priority  


As with any transition of leadership, it takes some time for the incoming GM to “get their feet under the desk,” and Mr Varley’s experience with Xplor has been no different.  


Xplor’s Childcare & Education vertical is the largest in Australia, and includes three brands, (Xplor, QikKids and Discover) spread across two jurisdictions (Australia and New Zealand) that currently serve 10,000+ centres across multiple settings.   


“Looking back on the last six months I have to admit that it has been one of the busiest periods of my entire career,” Matt said with a smile.   


“I have spent a great deal of time on the road, and on Zoom, listening to precisely what our user community’s experience with our platforms is, understanding their pain points and identifying how we as an organisation can continue to support them to succeed.”   


Even though Matt has extensive experience at Xplor, having been both Chief Operating Officer and Chief Commercial Officer prior to his appointment, the learning curve has still been a steep one.  


“When you assume responsibility for a business as large and complex as Xplor, even with some experience, there is still so much to learn and so much to do.”   


“That being said, I would not change it for the world and I am laser-focused on our customers and supporting them into the future.”  


Matt Varley the leader – What makes him tick?  


Assuming the top role in any modern-day business is a significant responsibility that requires a unique mix of experience, skill and energy to ensure that not just the day-to-day running is as smooth as clockwork, but longer-term strategies are fulfilled as well.   


Prior to joining Xplor, Matt held several senior positions in digital, communications and marketplace companies that created a strong technical foundation that is complemented by an innate passion for working with customers to help them succeed.   


“From the moment I stepped through the doors at Xplor I knew the early childhood education and care sector was where I belonged,” Matt said.   


“It is incredibly rare to find a community that is so passionate about what it does. The education, wellbeing and safety of children is a sacred responsibility and to be part of that movement is really heartening, and deeply rewarding.”  


He went on to describe being in a leadership position as a privilege.  


“Supporting those that love what they do is the ideal career to have,” he added, “the passion and commitment are contagious and that helps drive me forward to be a better, more engaged, leader.”  


“By listening carefully and consistently delivering to our customers, we are able to make a difference and as a leader, that is what really makes me tick.”   


Looking ahead – User advisory groups provide direction for development  


Having spent much of the last six months on the road, Matt has heard and come to deeply understand, some of the intense challenges facing the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector right now, whether it be securing and retaining team members, rising costs or heightened documentation requirements that have become part of working with children every day.   


“Operating an ECEC service is not easy at the best of times but right now, as scores of leaders have shared with me, it is particularly tough,” Matt said.  


“The educator shortage is well understood but rising costs and documentation demands are also real issues for the sector at large.”  


Xplor has coordinated and facilitated a number of advisory groups, from which they have created a set of collaborative roadmaps that align with the current needs of the sector and act as important guides to support its users to determine which development and support initiatives should be prioritised over the near term.  


“The collaborative approach to identifying problems and solving them will be central to the way we work going forward,” Mr Varley said.   


“A great example of this is our recently announced partnership with Amazon Web Services that has seen load times on our Office (BMS) platform improve by 50 to 60 per cent.”   


“That’s a very significant performance improvement that was catalysed by feedback from our user community which we then internalised and as a team set out to solve.”   


“The results have been impressive and demonstrate exactly what we can do if we set our minds to it.”  


“I know just how much talent and expertise can be found across Xplor and I am committed to continuing to unlock it for the benefit of our amazing customers.”  


For more information about Xplor and its services please see here.

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