by CIO New Zealand

CIO100 2018 #31-100: Vidhya Makam, Whanau Tahi

Mar 28, 2018
CareersCOODigital Transformation

We are a software and consulting service organisation, specialising in the integrated care space. Over the past 24 months through strategic acquisitions and a roadmap focused on digital transformation, Whanau Tahi has expanded its product offerings with a view of enabling a more holistic view from home to hospital for an individual and their family,” says Vidhya Makam, chief operating officer at Whanau Tahi.

Their platform offerings, includes multiple national health solutions that are provided as managed applications, she says.

“For a software vendor, the biggest risk is reputational risk or loss of stakeholder/customer confidence, especially when it involves healthcare data” says Makam.

“Therefore, the biggest value for us an organisation was to review and implement best practice architecture and standards across all our platform offerings.”

She says the company has created a high profile for itself in the New Zealand health sector. With recent acquisitions such as that of Simpl Health, it is now a significant player in “this large, high visibility, politically charged and competitive market space”.

She says that following an independent review of their platform, they embarked on a programme of work with two focus streams. The first is digital innovation focussed research and development based on their strategic vision and roadmap and the second is consolidation of internal process and technology to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness to ensure that they are getting maximum value for their customers and shareholders.

We have introduced agile methodologies and using daily stand-ups, sprint planning and demos, paved the path for the teams to understand each other’s strength, the different systems that we support and how they fit in with the overall vision and objectives of the organisation and ultimately how they come together to enable whanau outcomes.”

She says the key principle that the company works under is to ensure that its innovations strengthen integrated care approach thus providing better outcomes in the community – as close to home as possible.

Key focus is on using innovative technology, data insights and analytics to support the comprehensive health and wellbeing of individuals and their whanau, thus enhancing the quality, model and sustainability of health care provision and the whanau experience.

“Our unique experience in the whanau ora space, our partnerships with whanau ora providers and our understanding of the ‘collective impact’ holistic way of working and the social outcomes framework puts us in a unique position to achieve this,” says Makam.

Makam is part of the executive team at Whanau Tahi and is also part of the executive team of the parent organisation Te Whanau O Waipareira.

She reports directly through to the strategic advisor and one of the directors of the Whanau Tahi Board.

“We run regular roadmap sharing sessions with the wider executive team to ensure that they are aligned with how technology will be supporting them to achieve their business outcomes and more importantly the whanau outcomes and aspiration.”

Makam says over the past decade or so, the CIO role has changed from a technology focus to a business process and information focus to currently a focus on digital transformation.

“For me whilst the focus might appear to be constantly changing the underlying principle or the core value of the role is the same – using our technology expertise and knowledge of the ever-changing tech scene to influence, guide and enable our business partners and ultimately our consumers, to understand what their problems are, what their desired outcomes are and how technology can support them.

“Technology may not necessarily be the answer all the time and by taking a partnership approach with the business partners and customers, we can enable them to clearly understand their business problem and how this can be resolved with or without technology solution.

“Through this approach, we gain the confidence of our customers and business partners as they understand and come to realise that we are truly focussed on helping them achieving their goals rather than forcing a technology solution on them,” she says.