The most frequent answer I get when I pose this question is an emphatic no. But the answer is a resounding yes.

In fact, I have pulled it off twice in the space of 10 years. I will say that on both occasions, it was a positive transition and well worth it. The benefits included realised reduction in man-hours that were redirected from admin to direct care services. In one case that meant the creation of a second lifestyle coordinator position.


The secret: you must believe it can happen to make it happen.

These implementations were in smaller organisations in the not-for-profit sector. I recently heard of an amazing example of success in New Zealand. This digital transformation project was undertaken by Ryman Healthcare, who own 30 Villages providing retirement living and aged care services to 10,000 residents.

Ryman’s journey was led by Managing Director, Simon Challies. He clearly ‘believed’. Simon’s success and experience has lead him to identify these 3 keys to digital transformation success:

  • Change from the top: “Once we got them to envision an outcome they believed in, one where they could see the benefits to be reaped, they were in a rush to get there”.
  • Democratization of data and services: Empowering users will lead to faster adoption and more meaningful uses of data and digital services.
  • IT is an enabler, but not necessarily a driver: “IT consultants can help, but ultimately, the people in the departments and functions have to drive these digital transformation projects”.’

(Please click here to read more about what Ryman Healthcare achieved and about what Simon learned) 

I would add two more to Simon’s list:

  • Commitment: the person at the top must be fully committed and unwavering against the inevitable nay-sayers who will seek to build barriers to the transformation.
  • Trust: The leader of a healthcare organisation will seldom be an IT expert. It is imperative to success that you identify an IT consultant in whom you trust, who fully understands where you want to be, and has the skills and experience to guide you through your transformation journey.

Of course, there are no guarantees of success of any IT project. Even with the best planning and preparation the unexpected will occur and the journey will detour. But commitment and trust will get the journey back on track.

The key messages are:

  • Size is no barrier; it is just about scale. It is like packing for a holiday. It is similar whether you are travelling for a week or a month.
  • Identify ‘what’s in it for them’ to sell your journey to your staff. ‘No more archiving’ generally gets their attention!
  • The journey is like rally car driving: your organisation’s digital transformation ‘champion’ is the driver and your IT consultant the navigator. Sound planning and preparation, coupled with cooperation and team work, will see you successfully and safely to your destination.

The question remains, are you ready for the ride?