by Jennifer O'Brien

Sharing the stories of the CIO50: #13 George Lymbers, Thomas Holt Group

Feb 22, 2018
Healthcare Industry

Thomas Holt Group CIO George Lymbers has over 25 years’ experience as a ICT and operations professional with a bent for what others call impossible.

“I learnt early in my CIO career that my role was not a technical one. During my time at the Anglican Church as CIO with a $24 million annual budget across 15,000 employees covering aged care, schools, churches, and charity, I pushed a technologist’s view that caused friction with my peers as I reported into the CEO also,” he says.

“What changed for me was coming to the realisation that my peers and the business don’t care about the ‘plumbing’ – they only cared if it was working and that it was cost effective. What they wanted was to be heard and that ICT looked their business from their point of view. That’s when I truly started to add value to the business.”

Actively listening to customers–and making business decisions and implementing ‘real change’ based on customer expectations–are some of his biggest lessons learned, Lymbers reveals.

“Listen and not just listen but ask questions to understand what customers want and need. Embrace change and lead it before it comes to you–even if it means disrupting your own position and team. And speak out and help the business look at tomorrow’s tech in light of where the business strategy is leading; the days of being a follower are over.”

Key milestones

Certainly, Lymbers is no follower. As a senior leader with experience in a diverse range of industries and organisations with significant exposure to business change and disruption, Lymbers is passionate about leading and driving organisational change to create significant business impact.

As the head of transformation and CIO for Thomas Holt Australia, Lymbers is driving a change program that is disruptive and allows the organisation to take decisive action to embrace the future of aged care for both staff and customers.

Over the last 12 months, Lymbers has undertaken a ‘total digital transformation’ of the business to enable a ‘new care model’ that is customer centric.

A key pillar of the change program involved the redevelopment of key customer experiences to deliver a live 360 degree view of the customer and the development of innovative initiatives to drive a new type of care and the implementation of unique services models for customers.

He says the program has achieved positive results by not employing traditional tools and software, nor using traditional business consulting and analysis, but “being courageous and utilising new thinking” brought in by the new fields of data science and customer dynamics.

“We were driven by the desire to truly give the customer choice and provide an unrivalled and satisfying life experience – without costing the earth and is easily supported and scalable.”

He says the new platform for customer care and service, dubbed LiveCare360, is changing the way care is provided in aged care. He revealed some of the key projects included: creation of a single view of the customer; creation of CRM that focuses on all aspects of the ‘client Journey’; the development of the largest Circadian Rhythm Lighting (Human Context) platform for aged care in the world, covering 120 beds, room and living spaces; and the creation of sensor based alerting platform that crosses the boundaries of normal nurse call and allows calls to be answered in seconds.

Additional achievements included the development of machine learning and automated health monitoring to proactively manage customer well being; the creation of a ‘Orchestration Engine’ and a single point of entry ‘portal’ for clients, families, and allied health; and the creation of an entertainment and client interaction platform that is accessible from any device anywhere.

Asked for some of his top achievements in the role, Lymbers says he is particularly proud of the development of the industry disruptive unified collaboration platform.

“It meshes legacy systems through an Orchestration Service that integrates into a CRM that provides a single view of customer that automates the process of care through an all-purpose portal for staff, admin, customers, allied health partners and other interest parties called LiveCare360.”

He says LiveCare360 is a unique concept that allows any device, mobile or static, to communicate with staff and clients in facility beds or in their homes and have all the data they need to manage that client.

“The platform is set to revolutionise the management of operations and the provision of care in aged care,” he says.

Operational and cultural impacts

Lymbers says the implementation of the digital transformation projects means staff can now instantly respond to client calls via a mobile device and action requests without needing to travel to the room.

“This increases the time staff spend with clients, they can spend more time providing compassionate care and less time on mundane task based care such as biometric monitoring.”

LiveCare360 will also provide pre-emptive services where the building has been built as a ‘Smart Building’ that uses LiveCare360 to take the burden off carers to reduce their workload.

“Staff will have automated workflow rounding via mobile devices that assist the nurse in task management, it will also capture performance and client satisfaction data at the point action in real time, thus increasing staff utility and providing clear measurement of performance against KPIs.

“This will be the major impact as Thomas Holt has a culture of excellence and putting the customer first; the major change will be having the right people on board who are tech savvy as well as customer centric.”

Meanwhile, for today’s modern-day CIOs, Lymbers says being tech savvy is just one part of the equation. Speaking about the top attributes of a modern CIO, Lymbers says they need to be networkers that get connected, speak out and learns and drives disruptive change.

“Technology and CIO are fast becoming the next office to the sales and marketing team. They are no longer the out of sight back office. They are a leader to their team and not just a manager. It is not enough to just manage the ‘plumbing’ – the CIO drives what’s next.

“They are a thought leader and influencer, both internally and externally. They need to help mould the industry they are in from a ICT strategic point of view. The day of vendor-driven ICT is over – the dawn of the customer driven ICT is here.”