Name: Maria PazTitle: Chief information officerCompany: VMCHCommenced role: July 2020Reporting line: CEOMember of the executive team: YesTechnology Function: 25 staff, 6 direct reports
For the care sector, the last two years have been characterised by government reform, increased demand for services, a post-COVID wearied and depleted workforce, financial constraints and market consolidation.
Nevertheless, during this period, VMCH CIO Maria Paz has remained focussed on helping the find ways to improve services and experiences, deliver efficiencies, and respond to reforms by harnessing technology.
Working in collaboration with the wider business, Paz established a broad transformation program supported by technology team which constantly seeks to innovate.”
“My team has driven the adoption of cloud services and capabilities that supports the enablement of our CEO’s vision and strategy from a technology perspective,” Paz tells CIO Australia.
The cloud-enabled strategy Paz and her team implemented has transformed the way the aged care provider engages with customers, uses insights from integrated datasets to improve services and adapt to changes, and secures itself against from cyber threats.
“Customer experience is a key pillar of VMCH’s strategy, and we are delivering on that promise through our new cloud-based CRM platform, Halo,” says Paz, adding the platform provides personalised and highly relevant communications to our customers.
Used for marketing and lead management, the platform provides personalised and highly relevant communications to the organisation’s customers.
Primary source of truth
“Our CRM supports our customer service centre to manage their journey from enquiry through to becoming a VMCH customer, across all service areas,” says Paz.
The use of human centred design allowed VMCH business stakeholders to better understand the experience from the customers’ perspective across its service areas.
“This program successfully delivered incremental value through our project team’s collaboration, expertise and efforts in embracing these new principles.”
The CRM has delivered several benefits such as better customer service with service requests and enquiries managed in one location, and improved customer experience as the insights and data gained enables the organisation to be more efficient and helpful.
It has also boosted efficiency by reducing administration time and easing the burden of reporting on staff.
Having a centralised database with all customer interactions has given VMCH a single view of its customers.
“It has become our primary source of truth for all our customer information, [and] has brought in more customer insights, which has improved planning, execution and effectiveness of campaigns,” says Paz.
“Ultimately, having all enquiries, marketing and sales campaigns managed in one system means we will have a better standard of customer service and engagement with existing and prospective customers.”
Real-time data insights
In addition to the CRM system, Paz also led the organisation’s drive towards cloud technology for data and integration to enable VMCH to harness its broad datasets.
“Integrating the organisation’s key application systems and bringing applications’ data into a central data warehouse capitalises on our cloud investments to provide real-time data insights into day-to-day operations at an organisation-wide level,” says Paz.
“This strategic approach will allow the organisation to operate more efficiently and effectively, enabling our people to make informed decisions based on accurate and timely data insights.”
This integration and reporting platforms are playing a vital role in helping VMCH respond to reforms in the aged care sector.
“The successful integration of the organisation’s residential care and finance systems, for example, has significantly reduced the amount of manual work required, eliminating the need for paper-based processes, and increasing efficiency and accuracy in managing our occupancy,” says Paz.
Through iterative development with business partners, Paz and her team have also delivered data analytics and reporting capability to the organisation.
“We delivered reporting for our home care services which has brought the operations team closer to the facts and figures, that allows them to manage our client’s needs as well as our delivery partners,” says Paz.
The team also introduced dashboards which has enabled the organisation to better understand the clinical care needs of residents and demonstrate compliance with the sector’s clinical, compliance and quality indicators and supported AN-ACC (Australian National Aged Care Classification) financial reporting.
“We achieved this by working with business sponsors who have a genuine passion for data,” says Paz.
“In fact, we know that the more they’re involved in the design and validation, the better the outcome and ongoing usage.”
Meanwhile, Paz also worked to improve VMCH’s security posture in a cost-effective way to help protect the organisation and its customers from cyber threats.
“The need to secure our perimeter in a hybrid ecosystem is not without its challenges. I have developed and enhanced my teams’ capabilities in security and data protection by continuing to develop and embed our own information security framework aligned with ISO27001,” says Paz.
The organisation has embraced zero trust principles and implemented segmented architectures while rolling out multifactor authentication across its services and applications. It has also introduced third-party threat intelligence and open source monitoring, and invested in managed detect and respond services.
“Technology aside, VMCH relies on its people to deliver great care experiences and this is no different when it comes to security. We have built a ‘human firewall’ through a sustained education and awareness campaign across the organisation,” says Paz.
“Simply positioned as an extension of our people’s ‘care responsibilities’ for our customers, security is now everybody’s business at VMCH. Consequently, we continue to sit well below the industry average phishing prone exercises.”
Investment in capability
“Bringing this all together has been my investment in establishing capability,” says Paz.
“No innovation can be successful in an organisation without developing the capability and commitment of the people who take the change from an idea to a reality.”
Louis van Wyk