Case Study: Digital Transformation in Healthcare

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Two years ago, a global, established healthcare manufacturer started an ambitious journey of significant digital transformation. Their transformation was aimed at providing complementary services to their customers and entire value chain.

The client wanted to provide services that let their customers restock critical medical supplies supporting improved patient care. 

To support that effort, the client needed a digital platform that:

  • Contained customer-facing applications.
  • Integrated with all core back end systems.
  • Replaced legacy applications with critical drivers, such as Adobe Flash.
  • Incentivized customers to place repeat orders easily.

Last year, they called on us to revive their transformation strategy at a critical time. They were facing significant challenges in alignment, strategic direction, and programme management.

The Challenge

As with most digital transformation initiatives, most of the challenges of shifting to digital technologies comes from people. Business leaders, IT, and third-party suppliers were all misaligned and needed more effective liaisons.

Several cloud-based platforms had to be configured and then integrated to make the business process feasible. Without this, the client’s new business model wouldn’t scale to healthcare systems in the 30+ countries they operate in.

This fact, combined with management and developers coming from two different countries, caused the programme to become more difficult to steer.

A worker loading a truck with medical supplies.
Photo by Alex Mecl on Unsplash.

Seven Questions to Ask for Successful Digital Transformations

To get the client back on track, we asked ourselves these questions to introduce new value:

  1. Is the program well-defined and understood by most parties?
  2. Does the program have effective business ownership?
  3. Do all parties fully understand the transformation’s complexity and risk?
  4. Are decisions being made transparently with everyone’s trust?
  5. Is there true, open collaboration between all relevant parties?
  6. Is everyone aware of what is expected of them?
  7. Are there any doubts that the organization is prepared for digital transformation?

The Solution

To move this programme in the right direction, we used the tried and true PMO approach that is providing visibility. We knew that the primary driver here would be people, not technology, so a form of change management was also needed.

First, we led workshops to feel the pulse of both business managers and developers. This way, they could truly understand what they set out to do. All parties needed to be reminded of the journey that had been lost over time.

We worked to aid the business and technology sides understand what each other needed to make the project successful.

To set these feelings in stone, we co-authored a statement expressing the programme’s sentiment. This kicked off business engagements by building alliances and commitment to the culture change over time.

Next, we developed a weekly report and dashboard so that everyone involved would know the status of the project. This effort realigned the purpose of the project and stabilised their ability to deliver.

Sales dashboard on a laptop
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash.

Once visibility had been established, we all collaborated on a comprehensive programme roadmap. It covered both the rollout to users in Australia and replacing the legacy application. The roadmap helped us all move forward together, and it shaped:

  • Platform migration planning.
  • Risk management.
  • Legal and privacy compliance.
  • Training.
  • Communication.
  • Support.
  • Customer onboarding.

The Outcome

One year later, the first application in our rollout plan has launched successfully in Australia. At first, some workers were hesitant because they thought the application would replace their jobs. However, as they familiarized themselves with the system, they learned how it would complement and enhance their work. Thousands of healthcare providers have been using it daily ever since.

With our support, the client was able to steady the ship and bring the programme’s priorities into focus. It was understood that the transformation does not end with setting up technical capability alone. Importantly, we created a consensus and instilled confidence among senior leaders at the client organisation on:

  • Strategy and tactical priorities.
  • Resourcing.
  • General implementation.
A doctor carrying a mask and stethoscope
Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash.

This project was a prime example of digital transformation – bringing a brick and mortar process into the digital age. Our client went into a market where digital transformation normally doesn’t go and generated new value.

„I am proud that we were able to successfully complete a project that looked so daunting at times. Your contribution was an important factor in those crucial, early months,” said the Head of Digital, Australia. “By applying your experience, tact, diplomacy, and clarity of thinking, you have helped to set us on course for a successful project implementation in 2020.”

Stefan Bertschi

Stefan Bertschi

Principal Consultant 
@ MI-GSO | PCUBED UK