CIO50 2022 #26-50 Alexander Young, Christadelphian Aged Care
Over the past two years, Alexander Young, head of technology at Christadelphian Aged Care has driven digital innovations that have transformed an underperforming IT environment with legacy infrastructure.
“The organisation was facing several challenges including poor performing technology solutions, coupled with excessive and increasing costs that highlighted the age of our infrastructure. The business had gone through several large merger activities, which also resulted in poor user adoption, high total cost of ownership, and a limited internal skillset,” Young tells CIO Australia.
Young introduced a cloud-first SaaS operating model that was the basis for a ground-up rebuild of the organisation’s entire technology stack. This involved around 12 months of tendering and planning and a further 12 months of implementation, including staff training and adoption initiatives.
The transformation began with a technology roadmap, created prior to COVID, that was implemented over three years.
The roadmap was structured into four categories, which include:
IT governance. Technology and business redundancy would be strengthened, technology policies redesigned, scalability and availability boosted, and bridge tactics devised to meet existing business requirements.
IT reorganisation. Introduction of a cloud-first operating strategy, restructuring the tech department, and realignment of operations to realise a multi-million-dollar expenditure cost reduction.
Infrastructure redesign. Orchestration of enterprise-wide digital cloud transformation program, revamped telecommunications/data network infrastructure to increase redundancy and overhead, retired legacy LAN, WAN and building technologies, clinical and care systems and applications, and elimination of compliance issues.
System upgrades and conversions. Upgrade of core CRM, HCM, VoIP, print management, and clinical and financial systems. This produced more than $4 million in business operational savings by renegotiating contracts, reusing components, and sourcing new vendor solutions. The company is also reporting improved data metrics and visibility.
According to Young, the complex timeframe and the resources allocated to this project is a significant feat for any organisation to undertake and achieve success that results in positive user adoption and productive business outcomes.
“The complexity of transformation isn’t a regular occurrence in this sector and after achieving success, this large-scale innovation is nothing short of impressive when delivering it during a global pandemic," he says.
“Immense value is gained if done correctly and for us, this is a game changer from a record $4 million operating saving to a more than 90% technology productivity score for the business. This translates into improved quality care outcomes for our residents".
Young says the organisation has also reduced its reliance on third-party vendors for core business functions while increasing the service level and quality of data produced by the business.
“We now release products to market rapidly with BI insights having changed the way stakeholders visualise business problems and what actions need to be taken to improve results,” he adds.
Keep in simple
Young says his approach to influencing the business is to keep things simple. He believes there has been a creeping trend in the technology space to complicate IT solutions and what they offer to organisations.
“This goes against getting people on board with your vision. C-levels, the board and executive team are busy focusing on the business’ requirements and need problems solved diligently, I have always used what I call the ‘do it in 3’ method.
- What is the issue?
- What are the available solutions?
“I should preface this by saying as the business scales, obviously there are different requirements for how this would be approached depending on culture, requirements and relationships across the organisation," Young explains.
“But when it comes to my current role, I keep business cases, implementation and management [conversations] simple, but with high level detail to keep moving towards achieving the goal.”
Finally, Young says he sees a lot of ‘talking and a lack of action’ in the large not-for-profit space.
“I’ve made a point to be a trusted advisor for all stakeholders and not talk about doing ‘this and that’, but to actually deliver real change and outcomes – I think that has been a key to my success.”