Digital healthcare and the shift to transformation

Nathan Baranowski

For the last four years, ojo solutions has been working with Disabilities Trust to help design, develop, integrate and implement solutions. During this time, our Managing Director Nathan Baranowski became an integral part of the charity – taking the role of Director of Technology on their senior management team and helping lead a £4.5m digital transformation project from within the charity

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This was the focus of our recent talk at the Digital Healthcare show in London in collaboration with Cath Murray-Howard, the Director of Strategy & Development at Disabilities Trust.

As seen in many areas of the Third Sector, The Disabilities Trust didn’t necessarily have the expertise to plan for the future and develop an organisational strategy to meet future need. What The Disabilities Trust did have was brand recognition, an efficient operational model, a significant headcount of 1,800 staff, and the funding to transform effectively at scale.

It came down to one question – bikini or jumper? Should businesses dress for warm weather ahead and act accordingly, or develop a more conservative plan (the jumper) and work to that? Ultimately, The Disabilities Trust recognised they needed help with their planning and found that both approaches were necessary.

According to Murray-Howard: “We needed to be much cleverer about how we managed our resource. To begin on this journey, we recruited senior people externally – ones with a strong track record of transformation. People who could help us to take people on the journey of change, articulate it, and then integrate it.”

In the initial stages, one of the most pressing challenges with this particular digital transformation project was the pace of change. Even the smallest of things, Cath advised, was difficult.

Speaking on the project, she confirmed: “Getting it right, specifically around the ground up / top down approach, needed to be looked at. So often we see either one or the other, but realistically we need a combination of both to be successful. The second thing, ultimately, comes down to effective communications, segmented into five categories: sell it, listen, change it, sell it and mean it.”

Developing a plan, in essence, required both senior buy-in and adoption from people within the remainder of the organisation for success. With that as an aim, communication about the changes, the benefits, and what they meant for the day-to-day, were vital to success.

Technology, according to Nathan, is not optional. Despite this, he advised that: “We know those who we need to take on that journey don’t believe so.” “Technology”, Nathan continued, “isn’t about systems. It’s about people first, then processes. Technology comes last. Without embracing the change and everyone believing in the future, it simply will not happen.

Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. Digital transformation paints a similar picture – it’s an unknown unknown. People aren’t aware of the benefit because they are wholly unaware of the system behind it. Without guidance, businesses would be looking to replicate and improve on the current world, without adapting and changing for the future.

For The Trust, according to Nathan, the process of pushing IT understanding beyond the IT department was slow and frustrating. The first priority was to replace the existing technology and building an infrastructure for the implementations that were to come.

One of the first steps was implementing a more effective communications strategy. Through technology, we allowed the right people access to the right systems and information wherever they were based. The second step was to demonstrate a return on investment both in tangible and intangible benefits.

According to Nathan, “We had to show and demonstrating better ways of working - building foundation capabilities that enabled the trust to work more effectively. Ultimately, we sought to use technology to show the way to the future - driving forward change and building excitement around what is possible.  

If you’re looking to find out more about the digital transformation process and how ojo solutions can help, get in touch with us today.

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