by Rodney Fletcher

CIO100 2017: Others to watch: Aaron Overington, Te Roopu Taurima

Mar 29, 2017
Big Data

Under the broad umbrella of a technology refresh project, Te Roopu Taurima has deployed enhanced services to support the frontline staff, says ICT manager Aaron Overington.

“We have made the move to Office365 after the Ministry of Health approved the platform for use by health providers in July last year,” he states.

“This transition has enabled the organisation to not only save on server hosting and support and licensing costs, but also improve communication across the organisation, with the intranet being securely available to the whare, the residential homes we operate..

“Being cloud-based introduces additional benefits such as high-availability and global access.

“Whare also benefit from having access to the latest version of Office, enabling them to edit Word and Excel documents as needed by the business, and access to the approved policies, procedures and forms. This reduces the reliance on manual paper systems and double or triple handling of information.”

He says a review of all telecommunications was undertaken, and the organisation now has HD video conferencing between the offices nationwide and a cloud-based PBX system that improves visibility and connectivity for reduced cost.

“All of the homes we operate have been upgraded to unlimited Internet plans and secure wifi, boosting productivity for staff and giving access to the Internet for the tangata we support.”

For Te Roopu Taurima, the past year has been a transitional one, says Overington, with long overdue reviews of systems and contracts conducted.

The past few years has seen ICT development largely ignored, as there has been no internal leader for it. This has led to investment being made in an ad-hoc manner and with little synergy to the wider business strategy.

“The last half of 2016 has seen a more strategic approach taken with the appointment of myself as full-time ICT manager.

“Projects have resulted that are innovative to Te Roopu Taurima. Leveraging cloud technologies for immediate cost savings and improved services, engaging with a new nationwide IT support partner and re-starting internal developments have all challenged the business in a good way.

“Reframing the approach to IT at various levels has encouraged other parts of the business to do the same.

“Having a new voice in IT that brings external knowledge of both the sector and IT in general is disrupting the status quo and forcing a new way of looking at the opportunities that the smart use of technology can bring.

“This applies equally to the traditional back office services as well as the frontline support roles. With most reviews now complete, 2017 is shaping up to be a forward-looking year with strategic planning and policy development high on the list.”

In terms of balancing the need to keep daily operational systems running and creating new, innovative products, he says some systems have been approaching end of life and this has smoothed the transition away from the older technology to newer, smarter solutions.

“Having a third-party support partner has allowed time to look at alternative solutions to the aging business systems, whilst still maintaining the status quo,” says Overington.

“We have taken the approach of keeping the servers and systems operational without any enhancements made, unless there is a security risk or a strong business case for implementing changes, until reviews have been completed and a lifecycle roadmap developed.”

Regular conversations and meetings are held with staff across the organisation to identify new opportunities for technology to enhance services and remove roadblocks. The past six months has seen a variety of communications deployed, both face to face as well as on email.

“These communications highlight why systems are changing and what the impact and improvements will be to the end user. To facilitate uptake, these are generally written in plain English where possible.

“With internal systems now coming up to a common, acceptable baseline, we are now looking at the long-term strategy and how technology can best support the goals of Te Roopu Taurima.”

We regularly celebrate success and the role technology plays in that in the CFO’s team, as well as the wider business, he says.

This is through face-to-face meetings as well as email. “By publicising the changes and the positive impacts, we are changing the perception of IT as being the people that block change and can only fix email, to a part of the company that can facilitate improvements and drive change.”

As ICT manager, Overington initiated a review of the external ICT support partner last year and appointed a new partner at the end of 2016.

“This has increased the scope of outsourced IT support from Auckland only to all sites we operate across the country. This change has introduced new external people to the business and a more positive approach to supporting end users.”

Rodney Fletcher