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What Digital Transformation really means – 5 huge takeaways

Yesterday I attended an event organized by the British Chamber’s ICT committee here in Singapore. (For full transparency, I am a member of the ICT committee although had nothing to do with organizing this specific event).


The event was called: Digital Transformation in Healthcare


Whilst ostensibly about healthcare of course, my takeaways were more generic and, I think, apply to almost anyone who’s in business now and looking to keep themselves and their business relevant. It was Dr. Simon Kos (Chief Medical Officer, Microsoft) who quickly let us know that Digital Transformation is so much more than simply ‘not having everything on paper’.


1.     The Nature of Relationships will have to change: It’s a reasonable and useful idea to think about the Doctor / patient relationship as the relationship between a company or service provider and a customer or consumer. Digital transformation means that relationship will change. The patient, for example, will increasingly play a participative role in the engagement around their own health and that of their families. This will happen too in brand / consumer relationships – the consumer will play an increasing role in building, defining and nurturing that relationship


2.     The economics of healthcare will need to change and adapt with the underlying existing reimbursement models (different in different countries of course) needing to evolve and recognize and facilitate the emerging technologies that are driving change. As emphasis moves from sick care to preventative health care, who pays for what and when, and where the roles and responsibilities of government agencies and healthcare providers sit will change.


3.     Personalization: As healthcare services become more personalized and you and I will exist within that arena as individuals rather than as members of an actuary’s table. Predictable and preventable risk assessment coupled with real-time monitoring of change will impact medical insurance hugely. We’re already seeing this in other industries but we’re only just starting. You and I both looking at the same supermarket shelf but seeing different prices based on our relationships and history with the retailer could be just around the corner.


4.     Rapid Prototyping: Dr. Adam Hill (Chief Medical Officer, McLaren Applied Technologies) let us know that only 10% of a Formula One car is the same at the end of the season as it was at the beginning. A new component is created every 15 minutes during the season. We could perhaps take the Design Thinking principle of ‘rapid prototyping’ and tweak that with a ‘digital transformation’ bent and rename it ‘continual prototyping’.


5.     Design: And perhaps it was no surprise that Dr. Hill went on to cite the importance of design. And by that I don’t think he was talking about the (sometimes) trivial notion of aesthetics, but rather putting the user at the center of development – understanding their needs and driving design from a human-centric approach rather than letting technology on its own lead us down useless dead ends.


These are just a few takeaways from an interesting session. But for me it cements the notion that, at the core of a successful digital transformation, are vital organizational changes that need to be addressed:

·       The very nature of the relationships a business has with its consumers, suppliers, partners and other stakeholders

·       Throw away legacy business models that don’t acknowledge the changes in relationships

·       Understand that transformation is about being ‘Personalized’, ‘Participatory’ and ‘Predictive’. (thank you to Dr. Hill for that)

·       That this process is never finished

·       And that transformation is almost certainly about your customers – so put them in the center of everything you do


If you would like to know more about Digital Transformation please contact Rory Fitzpatrick at CloudGo


Carl Griffith is the GM of systemsGo for SE Asia and Australia