by CIO New Zealand

CIO100 2018 #31-100: Cameron Brill, St John

Mar 28, 2018
Business ContinuityCareersCollaboration Software

St John is focused on a full digital transformation incorporating four core programmes: Digital Transformation; Business Intelligence strategy; Information Security Strategy; and an IT Modernisation programme, says its CIO Cameron Brill.

As part of this, Brill (in conjunction with the Commercial Services Director) has introduced new ways of working including Agile methodologies, and a new focus on innovation.

“Our focus is saving lives but also how we can improve health and wellbeing for our patients, donors and customers in the community,” says Brill.

“Part of this is working together with the emergency and health sectors and putting the patient, customer, and supporter at the center of everything we do.”

Photo courtesy of St John

One recent innovation is the The GoodSAM app.

This is a free app that alerts “qualified public” that a patient suspected to be in cardiac arrest is nearby, allowing them to possibly save a life by providing CPR and using an AED or Automated External Defibrillators (if available) prior to emergency services arriving.

Brill says people who know how to perform CPR and use an AED (and who are prepared to voluntarily respond to a patient suspected to be in cardiac arrest), are able to download the app on their phone and register as a ‘responder’.

“Our ongoing challenge will be to ensure our products and services are available wherever and whenever our customers need them,” he says.

“While the current St John medical alarm is targeted at elderly people living alone, and works only in the home, our future vision is to engage with customers at various stages in their lives and deliver value that is relevant to them at that time.”

Initial projects aim to broaden St John’s appeal to younger, more independent individuals and includes a fully mobile version of its medical alarm, as well as wearable devices and a service that shares information about the organisation’s alarm customers with their families and carers.

“We’re also looking to do more for our more frail and vulnerable customers. We have projects focused on the passive monitoring of people living in the community with dementia.”

All this is made possible by our dedicated teams in the customer innovation space, Team Innovation (our brains trust), Team Kea (our internal, cross functional, agile experimenters) and Team Tui (our volunteer customer panel and source of the ‘customer’s voice’), says Brill.

He says the organisation is in the process of changing how it communicates and collaborates with the 19,000 staff, volunteers and youth members of St John.

“We have (in partnership with the Director of Communications and Engagement) introduced a ‘social media’ and mobile approach through replacing our intranet, introducing Office 365 and making use of tools such as Yammer and Skype for business.

This programme has a vision: ‘Our intranet is a place we can be inspired, feel empowered and for all of us to connect’.

“These changes are resulting in a new way of working and are genuinely impacting culture by giving our staff a ‘voice’ that wasn’t necessarily there previously.”

“It aims to improve how we work and engage with each other. The success of this programme to date has been about ensuring all teams are cross-functional; leadership of these teams remaining focused on the outcomes and keeping a positive ‘vibe’. Personally, I have been delighted with the level of engagement and attitudes towards change within this programme.”

St John and the executive management team consider culture and staff engagement as vital to its future success.

“In ICT, we are bringing in leaders who understand the meaning of transformation and know how to operate in a digital world,” says Brill.

“At the same time, we are focused on developing internal capability and trying to create some urgency and excitement around new ways of operating, whilst making the outcomes visible and celebrated.”

Recent engagement surveys have helped us focus on what is important to staff and key to success has been about empowering and trusting senior leadership (and cross functional teams) to deliver on the organisations strategies, says Brill.

St John has also introduced “coaching” as an option to empower staff, he says. “We have also had a renewed focus on cultural diversity, and reducing the gender pay gap.”

Brill notes how these programmes have lifted a critical metric for his team.

“ICT engagement scores have gone from 22 per cent engaged in 2015 to 72 percent engaged in 2017.”

Brill says over the years, he has taken up education, training, and conference opportunities to help him understand what it takes to lead technology across a large organisation.

“Ultimately, I think you can be most effective when you can put yourself ‘in the shoes’ of your customer (internal or external), colleagues, vendors, manager, or teams, and generally understand their needs before arriving at your own.

“I have learnt, time and time again, that when I do this as part of the decision-making process, the outcome is predominantly more effective. It allows a CIO to be empathetic and empower people they are working with, so we can come to the ‘win-win’ solutions that we are after.”