Chris Trigg says his biggest career lesson in recent years has been to keep coming back to user experience.\n\u201cIt doesn\u2019t matter if you\u2019re developing a new mobile app, a web interface for your customers or a new system for your internal users \u2013 you have to think about the user experience,\u201d says Trigg.\n\u201cI\u2019ve seen so many cases where a business exposes its internal processes or system limitations to its customers through apps and services and it makes for a poor experience. I think this also applies to information security in the workplace. \n\u201cYou have to take a pragmatic approach to giving your teams the right tools,\u201d says Trigg.\nHe and his team are now applying this insight at Southern Cross.\n\u201cWe have been working hard to create a better experience for internal communications and collaboration. We\u2019ve retired a number of cumbersome, legacy applications that led to people finding alternatives.\n\u201cHaving a user-centric view helps you create a better experience and helps people work in a way that\u2019s far more aligned with your information security strategy.\u201d\nMeeting challenges head on\nTrigg is the first chief digital officer at Southern Cross Health Society, and says there are three key focus areas in the role - to drive digital transformation for the Society, ensure the digital platforms team have the right capabilities to lead the business through the transformation; and accelerate delivery for the organisation.\n\u201cMy first significant challenge came early in my tenure,\u201d says Trigg.\n\u201cSouthern Cross had to consider whether to retain its legacy platform, Diamond, or go to market for a replacement health insurance system. The ultimate decision was to keep Diamond at the core and build new APIs and new platform capabilities on top of it.\n\u201cOver the past 12 months, the Southern Cross digital platforms team has continued to improve the resilience and simplification of data structures within Diamond and the team have executed a proof-of-solution on a new platform to accelerate digital transformation across member processes and services. A programme to build out this platform capability is now fully mobilised.\u201d\nMeanwhile, the organisation has continued to deliver on its digital-first strategy to improve members\u2019 experience.\nMore than 80 per cent of claims are now submitted electronically, making the claims process faster and more efficient, he says.\nThe organisation is transitioning from being a provider of health insurance to health and wellbeing assurance: empowering Kiwis to live their healthiest lives, he says.\nAs part of that strategy, Southern Cross has begun marketing its new workplace wellbeing product mdash; BeingWell mdash; to business clients. \nBeingWell aims to help businesses look after the wellbeing of their employees by better understanding the state of their health and wellbeing, and providing initiatives to improve it.\nBeingWell was born out of the organisation\u2019s internal wellbeing programme, Switch2Well, which was created 10 years ago.\nSouthern Cross decided to take the benefits and lessons from Swtich2Well and bring that experience to the business community.\nA project team was formed to focus on mobile app development for BeingWell whilst developing a new corporate reporting portal and BeingWell content hub. The key challenges for the digital platforms team were working with a new external partner and the integration developments required to create the platform, he says.\nIn order to raise awareness of the importance of wellbeing programmes and BeingWell, Southern Cross hosted its second Wellbeing Now conference in November 2017.\nApproximately 500 attendees from businesses of various sizes attended, with speakers from the likes of Air New Zealand, Simpson Grierson and a host of other organisations discussing their wellbeing initiatives.\nTrigg is one of the eight members on the Society\u2019s executive leadership team and he reports directly to CEO Nick Astwick. \nThis ensures the digital strategy and team\u2019s focus is aligned with the overall strategy of the business, in particular the shifting towards insurance to a contemporary, digital health and wellbeing assurance business. \nHe says a key decision that has changed the way several of the teams work was to embed agile working approaches across the organisation. \nAbout 150 employees, mainly in the digital platforms department, were trained through a two-day course and the organisation recently hired its first enterprise agile coach.\n\u201cAt first, this was seen as an IT issue but the leadership team quickly realised the organisation needed different roles, capabilities and processes to enable agile to be successful,\u201d says Trigg.\n\u201cWe\u2019ve had great support from the board and leadership team as we\u2019ve embedded agile and they\u2019re seeing the benefits of more rapid delivery and reduced time to value.\n\u201cWe\u2019re also operating with a pace and agility that hasn\u2019t been seen here before \u2013 and it\u2019s great seeing people in the organisation embracing that change in pace whilst retaining our unique customer culture.\u201d\nSouthern Cross uses Yammer and its intranet to update staff on news as well as encourage social engagement. Trigg and other members of the leadership team regularly interact with staff on Yammer, allowing for approachability and accessibility.\nAfter each financial quarter, members of the leadership team give short video updates on the progress made in their respective areas and then take part in a question and answer session on Yammer.\nSumming up his experiences, Trigg says Southern Cross feels like a very different organisation to the one he joined nearly two years ago.\n\u201cWe have a very clear strategy and have the whole senior leadership team focused on the execution of the strategy. We\u2019ve also invested in our people to ensure we have the right skills and capabilities to be a contemporary data-driven digital business.\u201d\nNick Astwick, Southern Cross Health Society chief executive, says Trigg has been instrumental in driving Southern Cross Health Society towards achieving one of its three strategic pillars: \u2018Digital first\u2019. \n\u201cThe steady growth of digital platforms that Chris\u2019 team manages has significantly contributed to cost savings.\u201d\nHe and his team are at the forefront of making sure that members get a rich digital experience and I am extremely proud of the progress that has been made, says Astwick.