I recently read this piece on ZDNet – an interview with David Walliker, CIO at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust and CIO at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust – and it got me thinking about the challenges of transformation and how to deliver successful outcomes.
For me, it’s about people. Whilst digital projects present immense opportunities, like those seen by Walliker, they are complex, wide-impacting and inherently risky. I believe transformation projects should be led by people who are deeply experienced and skilled in successful project and programme delivery – although that shouldn’t be to the exclusion of other people who could, and should, be involved.
Second, in our view, it’s also important to not get too hung up on IT, technology or business-specific labels when looking for digital project leadership. It’s about securing opportunities whilst mitigating and managing risk. The people needed to deliver transformation projects should have a proven track record of delivering successful projects above the purely technological aspects.
Ultimately, no single person can transform a business on their own. Executive leadership, commitment, and involvement is critical. The organisation’s leadership needs to fully support the project and any necessary changes to make the desired outcome a reality. It both is and isn’t about IT – technology will be leveraged but it’s the organisation that’s changing, not just the IT department.
Add into this a well-oiled set of feedback loops from all parties involved in making the transformation a reality, and you set off a cycle of good communication. A common mistake that businesses – commercial and public sector – make is to forget to bring everyone in the organisation along on the journey. As I said before, focusing solely on technology during the transformation process will ignore the human aspect of the project. Transformation is about leveraging technology to enable better business, so everyone needs to buy into the project for it to work.
In most digital projects, the organisation as a whole will be involved in one way or another. Not only that, but customers, service users and possibly the wider supply chain will also be involved. What will be key is having project leadership that can identify and secure this involvement, ‘paint the picture’ of the future and motivate all those involved to positively bring about the change.
Written by: Ryan Tabberner, Group CEO