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CIO100 2017 #31-100: Don Robertson, Healthcare of New Zealand Holdings

  • Name Don Robertson
  • Title Chief technology officer
  • Company Healthcare of New Zealand Holdings
  • Commenced Role September 2016
  • Reporting Line Head of Decision and System Support Jan Hilder
  • Technology Function 33 IT staff
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    Healthcare of New Zealand has implemented the first phase of a Client Management System (ERP), deployed at Revera on IaaS.

    The second phase will deliver functionality to staff in 140 locations this year, says Healthcare CTO Don Robertson.

    “This has been a major change for a business that was previously paper based and will now move to online systems,” says Robertson, who took on the CTO role in mid-2016.

    Before this, he was the Healthcare CIO for five years. As CTO, he is responsible for delivering the technology transformation and roadmap programme at Healthcare of New Zealand.

    He says as part of the transformation programme, the organisation will be providing clients under their care in these facilities, with access to their records in a user friendly Facebook like experience as it rolls out in following phases."

    The second transformational project is replacing two legacy CMS systems, also hosted by Revera. It is in full swing with implementation of the pilot expected in the next couple of months, says Robertson.

    This includes major process change for staff in multiple locations across the country and merging data from various systems. Subsequent phases will include mobilising a large number of staff, with multiple ways to access the system, including smartphone access.

    The third transformation project in progress is migrating the company’s data centres to Revera IaaS hosting, over the next few months.

    “We are planning a multi-year Transformation road map for provisioning improved wide area networks," he says. "This is to enable unified communications, improved information management, collaboration and access controls and the intranet being accessible through a range of devices, including mobile devices, smartphones and tablets. They are expected to be via cloud and/or managed services where possible.”

    The operational, structural and cultural impacts of the transformation initiative provided a different set of challenges each, he says.

    “Each project has a change management stream that works with all stakeholders to manage the communications and change management. Regular staff briefings are implemented as necessary.”

    The transformation programme has automated core business processes and improved business performance he says.

    “As can be seen from above, we are implementing systems for a company moving from paper to the digital,” he states.

    “In terms of innovation, we have implemented full life cycle mobile device management. This was provisioned as a fully managed service, which is the platform for rapid expansion of smart devices within the transformation projects.

    “We have implemented agile development for urgent changes in developed systems to meet Government changes for workforce employment conditions, resulting in the ability to make additional payments to circa 4000 employees. Additional projects are underway to meet the Employment Standards Legislation coming into force.”

    These above projects have very short timescales with some unknown requirements, he says. They were primarily driven by Government legislative changes. This required an agile approach to meeting evolving requirement changes, as the business rules were agreed.

    “We work with our business people to identify new requirements or opportunities for improvement, and then work to develop ways to deliver these,” says Robertson.

    One example is the need to be able to see future rostered appointments and changes, along with the best allocation of workload for employees. The scheduling takes into account travel distance between locations.

    This resulted in the development and deployment of a system that allows this coordination in their sites across the country.

    Keeping core operational systems running and being innovative with change projects is an ongoing endeavour, he says.

    “We have implemented the Sentient Portfolio/project management system, which is a SaaS system. This assists us with not only monitoring and reporting across the portfolio, but enables resource forecasting and management needed for projects,” says Robertson.

    “This provides our management team with the view to understand resource needs, versus the operational excellence to maintain the systems.

    “Along with this, we are refocusing our teams that will enable us to focus SLA for production systems and separately focus resources for change projects. One of the reasons to migrate our data centres to IaaS services, is to free up our resources to focus on change projects.”

    His department has been working with the senior executives and the Board to develop a multi-year transformation roadmap.

    “The first part of this being our datacentre migrations that are in progress,” he says. “We will be implementing other projects as the business cases are approved.

    “We work with the appropriate executives to develop and sponsor the business cases.

    “As well, we are meeting with some vendors and partners exploring potential opportunities to bring innovative solutions to our business.

    “To engage my team, we hold a quarterly meeting with our staff in an interactive manner to explore where we are heading and enlist their engagement. We workshop potential ways to improve our systems and solutions for the business. There are other meetings and messaging that provide ongoing updates and progress reports.”

    Robertson has a very diverse multicultural team. The company brings in interns for work experience and some of those become permanent employees.

    “We have a good performance management process with regular staff development plans and each manager coaches their staff. We provide identified training not only in technology, but also in the soft skills as necessary.”


    Rodney Fletcher


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