When Craig Horton started with The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) as Head of IT at the start of 2014, no IT department existed at the 80-year-old College.
“I have had the opportunity to create and enable a sustainable technology future and gallantly label this transformation as an ‘80-year-old startup’,” he says.
“Establishment of the Information Technology Unit has been a catalyst allowing business transformation realisation through technology. More importantly, this transformation has been achieved on a $500,000 budget encompassing project and ongoing operational costs. Impressively, ROI has been realised within a financial year using a ‘Turn off legacy, start again’ approach.
“A large part of this transformation has been changing a workforce predominantly working in a back office, manual centric operational manner, to a mobile data-driven, service-outcome workforce,” Horton says.
Other key objectives included building common technology platforms across Australia and New Zealand, rebuilding faculty websites, collaboration tools for members and the introduction of specialist learning platforms from the College’s peers around the globe.
“Addressing initial fears of cloud technology with factual evidence, created confidence about cloud business platforms that opened opportunities the College had never envisioned possible. An enterprise roadmap created a sustainable, yet affordable, technological future”, Horton says
“Gaining the CEO’s trust early was essential. Clear objectives were agreed and reached in set timeframes and on budget. Governance was managed by the CEO and senior management team”.
The structure of outsourced services changed significantly. There was a consolidation of providers, cancellation of contracts no longer in use and the introduction of global corporations that supported not-for-profit/education licensing.
Two key companies to provide such support were Microsoft and Citrix. Microsoft for cloud technology and Citrix for integrated video and teleconferencing systems. There are several other technology providers that also have been contracted that support NFP licensing.
“Business and technology have become so well aligned the impact has caused IT to be thought of as an enabler. I am involved in strategic business initiatives from inception to operational state,” he says.
Technology and business applications that have been implemented include, Microsoft 365 productivity suite; SharePoint document management; Integrated video and teleconferencing; Security management and monitoring services; Event management systems and American College of Radiology (ACR) Learning Centre Courses.
As well, www.targetingcancer.co.nz a faculty campaign website was created along with a new www.insideradiology.co.nz website. Both have now won prestigious international awards.
“Uniqueness has prevailed where best of breed technology has been implemented into this not for profit organisation and achieved with a low budget. The move into cloud technology has challenged all business process. In turn, applying this combination of technologies in a medical College setting, has resulted in an intelligent and dynamic organisation that is returning more value to our members.
“Structurally, the College has evolved. The initiatives and innovation change has created better business practice, governance and process. Collaboration using Office 365 and SharePoint services across Australia and New Zealand are now creating a higher quality result for members. Video conferencing has completely changed how we can interact,” says Horton.
To keep core operational systems running, he has decreased operational support for IT FTE members of staff.
“I have increased first and second level support for hardware, network and telecommunications management to our outsourced partner,” he states.
“It is important to understand this has not translated into spending more money. It has been achieved by stopping or realigning old services to new ones.”
All College websites now reside and are managed by one provider. Previously, this was with five separate companies.
“First and second level support has been contracted to the provider to assist with content creation and design. They have become responsible for all components across infrastructure within their cloud environment.
“With the implementation of Office 365 and building new document management system in SharePoint, I purposely enabled or turned on all features and applications within. I have encouraged all members of staff to become an explorer and to create a culture for innovative ways to use technology in improving their business processes.”
The realignment and re-contracting of services at the College created funding to start the move to cloud technology. By moving to Office 365, ROI was realised within 12 months of implementation.
“Budgets are a limiting factor. Therefore, we have used contractors in each technology to assist with implementation, but then transfer knowledge internally.
“This has emphatically driven business process to modify to use COTS (commercial off the shelf products) business process, rather than building bespoke software. Software implemented must have the ability to be configured. Where uplift is required, we budget and time box activities,” he states.
He says the ability to trial new product fast, approve or fail quickly, has been the cornerstone to enablement of innovation projects. With new products that are introduced, demarcation between support services and implementation is imperative.
“Stabilise new product, increase knowledge base, align managed services; they are key steps in the change management process,” says Horton.
“I spend a significant portion of my time in discussions with leadership team members and this leads to better business to IT integration, and a cohesive strategy overall.
“I have further discovered that IT has made a science of project management and prioritisation that may not be practiced to the same standard in other strands of the business (such as policy development), where qualitative measures appear to predominate. This gives me an opportunity to share my management skills beyond IT and throughout the business.
Leadership first, technology second
“It is my firm opinion that IT leadership is about leadership first and technology second,” says Horton.
He is on the senior management team that meets regularly in an operational capacity, but also about business strategy and risks and how technology can transform existing lines of business.
“I present at the Board of Directors meetings providing strategic recommendations, operational progress risks. Also, I meet and have discussions with Board Chair of the Finance Committee and with Board Chair of Risk Committee on a quarterly basis.”
To engage with all staff, town hall meetings are held monthly. IT has a permanent agenda item in these meetings, and they cover project progress, security and operational activities.
He encourages IT staff to talk to their colleagues throughout the organisation, “to keep the dialogue flowing”.
“I dedicate time to mentoring of staff across key IT functions, in project management, business analysis, vendor management and empowerment and enablement of the team, thus allowing individuals to figure out a way to do something and report back, rather than step by step instruction,” says Horton.
“This has created strategic outcome-focused versus task-focused technologists.”