How IT Innovators Turned Digital Disruption into a Business Productivity Multiplier
How IT Innovators Turned Digital Disruption into a
Business Productivity Multiplier
Transcript of a discussion on digital business transformation and how that’s been accomplished
by several prominent enterprises.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Sponsor: Citrix.
Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're
listening to BrieﬁngsDirect.
Our next innovation thought leadership panel discussion examines how
digital business transformation has been accomplished by several prominent
enterprises. We'll explore how the convergence of cloud, mobility, and big-
data analytics has prompted companies to innovate and produce new levels
We're now joined by some ﬁnalists from the Citrix Synergy 2016 Innovation
Awards Program. So, please join me in welcoming our panel. We're here with
Olaf Romer, Head of Corporate IT and group CIO at Bâloise in Basel, Switzerland. Welcome.
Olaf Romer: Hi, Dana. Thank you very much for your invitation.
Gardner: We're also here with Alan Crawford, CIO of Action for Children in London. Hello,
Alan Crawford: Hello, Dana. Great to join you.
Gardner: And we're here with Craig Patterson, CEO of Patterson and
Associates in San Antonio, Texas. Welcome, Craig.
Craig Patterson: Thank you very much for letting me be here.
Gardner: Let’s start with you, Olaf. What are some of the major trends that drove you to
reexamine the workplace conceptually, and how did you arrive at your technology direction for
innovating in that regard?
Becoming more modern
Romer: First of all, we're Swiss traditional insurance. So, our driver was to become a little bit
more modern to get the new generation of people in our company. In Switzerland, this is s a little
bit of problem. We also have big companies in Zurich, for example. So, it’s very important for
We did this in two directions. One direction is on the IT side, and the other direction is on the
real-estate side. We changed from the traditional ofﬁce boxes to a ﬂex ofﬁce with open space,
like Google has. Nobody has their own desk, not even me. We can go anywhere
in our ofﬁce and sit with whom we think it’s necessary. This is also on the IT
side. We go in this direction to go for more mobility, an easier way to work in
Gardner: And because you’re an insurance organization, you have a borderless
type of enterprise, where you need to interact with ﬁeld ofﬁces, other payers,
suppliers, and customers, of course. Was that ability to deal with many different
types of end-point environments also a concern, and how did you solve that?
Romer: We started with this point. The ﬁrst step was inside our company, and now, we want to
go outside to our brokers and to our customers. The security aspect is very, very important. We're
still working on being absolutely secure, because we're handling sensitive customer data. We're
still in the process of opening our ecosystem outwards to the brokers and customers, but also to
other companies we work with.
Gardner: Alan, tell us about Action for Children and what you’ve been doing in terms of
increasing the mobile style of interactions in business?
Crawford: Action for Children is a UK charity. It helps 300,000 children, families, and young
people every year. About 5,000 staff, operate from between 300 and 500 branches. So, 300 are
our own and a couple of hundred locations are with our partner agencies.
When I started there, the big driver was around security and mobility. A lot of the
XP computers were running out of support, and the staff outside the ofﬁce was
working on paper.
There was a great opportunity in giving modern tablets to staff to improve the
productivity. Productivity in our case means that if you spend less time doing
unnecessary visits or do something in one visit instead of three, you can spend
more quality time with the family to improve the outcomes for the children.
Gardner: And, of course, as a non-proﬁt organization, costs are always a concern. We’ve heard
an awful lot here at Citrix Synergy about lower cost client and endpoint devices. Has that been a
good news to your ears?
Crawford: It has. We started with security and productivity as being the main drivers, but
actually, as we’ve rolled out, we’ve seen those productivity improvements arise. Now, we're
looking at the cost, about the savings we can make on travel, print, and stationery. Our starting
budget this year is £1.3 million ($1.7 million) less than it was the year before we introduced
tablets for those things. We're trying to work out exactly how much of that we can attribute to the
mobile technology and how much of that is due to other factors.
Gardner: Craig, you're working with a number of public sector organizations. Tell us about
what they are facing and what mobility as a style of work means to them.
Patterson: Absolutely. I'm working with a lot of public housing authorities. One is Lucas
Metropolitan, and other is Hampton Redevelopment Agency. What they're facing is declining
budgets and a need to do more with less.
When we look at traditional housing-authority and government-service
agencies that are paper-based, paper just continues to multiply. You put one
piece in the copier and 20 pieces come out. So, being able to take the
documents that contain secure private information of our clients and connect
those with the clients out in the ﬁeld is why we need mobility and efﬁciency
And the cloud is what came to mind with that. With content management, we can capture data
out in the ﬁeld. We can move our staff out in the ﬁeld. We don’t have to bring all of the clients
into the ofﬁce, which can sometimes pose a hardship, especially for elderly, disabled, and many
of those in the greatest need. Mobility and efﬁciency with the cloud and the security have
become paramount in how we perform our business.
Gardner: I suppose another aspect of mobility is the ability to bring data in analytics to the very
edge. Have you yet to take advantage of that or do you see that it’s something that you’re going
to be working toward?
Patterson: We know that it’s something we're working towards. We know from the analytics that
we’ve been able to see so far that mobility is the key. For some time, people have thought that
we can’t put online things like applications for affordable housing, because people don’t have
access to the Internet.
Our analytics prove that entirely wrong. Age groups of 75 and 80 were accessing it on mobile
devices faster than the younger group was. What it means is that they ﬁnd a relative, a grandchild
or whoever they need that allows them to access the Internet. It’s been our mindset that has kept
us from making the internet and those mobility avenues into our systems available on a broader
scale. So, we're moving in that direction so that self service to that community can be displayed
more in a broader context.
Crawford: Yes on the analytics and how that’s helped by the mobile working. We had a very
similar result in Action for Children in the same year we brought out tablets. We started to do
outcome measures with the children we were with. To reach a child, we do a baseline measure
when we ﬁrst meet the family, and then maybe three months later, whatever the period of the
intervention, we do a further measure.
Doing that directly on a tablet with the family present has really enhanced the outcome measures.
We now have measures on 50,000 children and we can aggregate that, see what the trends are,
see what the patterns are geographically by types of service and types of intervention.
Gardner: So it’s that two-way street; the more data and analytics you can bring down to the
edge, the more you can actually capture and reapply, and that creates a virtuous cycle of
improvement in productivity.
Crawford: Absolutely. In this case, we're looking at the data and learning lessons about what
works better to improve the outcomes for disadvantaged children, which is really what we're
Gardner: Olaf, user experience is a big topic these days, and insurance, going right to the very
edge of where there might be a settlement event of some sort, back to the broker, back to the
enterprise. User experience improvements at every step of that means ultimately a better
productive outcome for your end customers.
How does user experience factor into this mobility and data in an analytics equation?
Romer: First of all, the insurance business is a little bit different business than the others here.
The problem is that our customers normally don’t want to touch us during the year. They get a
one-time invoice from us and they have to pay the premium. Then, they hope, and we also hope,
that they will not have a claim.
We have only one touch a year, and this is little bit of problem. We try to do everything to be
more attractive for the customer to get them to us, so that for them it’s clear if they have a
problem or need a new insurance, they go to Bâloise Insurance.
We're working on it to bring a little bit of consumerization. In former years the insurance
business was very difﬁcult and it wasn’t transparent. The customers have to answer 67 questions
before they can take out insurance with us, and this is the point. To make it as simple as possible
and to work with a new technology, we have to be attractive for the customers, like taking out
insurance through an iPhone. That’s not so easy.
If you talk with a core insurance guy to calculate the premiums, they won’t already have the 67
answers from the customers. So, it's not only the technology, but working a little bit in a
differently in the insurance business. The technology will also help us there. For me, the
buzzword is big data, and now we have to bring out the value of the data we have in our
business, so that we can go directly with the right user interface to the right customer area.
Gardner: Another concept that we have heard quite a bit here at Synergy is the need to allow IT
to say yes more often. Starting with you Craig, what are you seeing in the trends and in the
technology that is perhaps most impactful for you to be able to say yes to the requests and the
need for agility in these businesses, in these public sector organizations?
Patterson: It’s the device agnosticism, where you bring your own device (BYOD). It’s a device
that the individuals are already familiar with. I'm going to take it from two angles. It could be the
employee that’s delivering a service out to a customer in the ﬁeld that can bring their own device,
or a partner or contractor, so that we can integrate and shrink-wrap certain data. We will still
have data security while they're deploying or doing something out in the ﬁeld for us. It could be
inspections, customer service, medical, etc.
But then, on the client end, they have their own device. By our being able to deliver products
through portals that don’t care what device they have, it’s based on mobile protocols and
security. Those are the types of trends that are going to allow us to collect the big analytics, know
what we think we know, and ﬁnd out whether we really know it or not and ﬁnd it, get the facts
The other piece of it though is to make it easy to access the services that we provide to the
community, because now it’s a digital community; it’s not just the hardcore community. To see
people in a waiting line now for applications hurts my feelings. We want to see them online,
accessing it 24×7, when it makes sense for them. Those are the types of services that I see
becoming the greater trends in our industry.
Gardner: Alan, what allows you to say “yes” more often?
Crawford: When I started with the XP laptops, we were saying no. So doing lot of comparisons
in program within our center now, they're using the tablets and the technology. You have closed
Facebook groups with those families. There's now peer support outside hours, when children are
going to bed, which is often when they have issues in a family.
They use Eventbrite, the booking app. There are some standard off-the-shelf apps, but the real
enterprise in our service in a rural community currently tells everybody in that community what
services they're running through posters and ﬂyers that were printed off. That moved to
developing our own app. The prototypes are already out there, and the full app will be out there
in a few weeks time. We're saying yes to all of those things. We want to support them. It is not
just yes, but yes and how can we help you do that.
Gardner: Olaf, of course, productivity is only as good as the metrics that we need to convince
the higher-ups in the board room that we need more investment or that we're doing good work
with our technology. Do you have any measurements, metrics, even anecdotes about how you
measure productivity and what you've done to modernize your workspaces?
Romer: Yes, for us it’s the feedback from the people. It’s very difﬁcult to measure it on a clear
technology level, but feedback from the people is very good and very important for us. You can
see with the BYOD we introduced one and a half years ago, a stronger cultural change in
collaboration. We work together much more efﬁciently in the company and in the different
In former times, we had closed ﬁle shares, and I couldn't see the ﬁles of the department next to
me. Now, we're working completely in a modern collaboration way. Still, on traditional
insurances, let’s say with the government, it’s very hard for them to work in the new style..
In the beginning, there were very strong concerns about that, and now we're in a cultural shift on
this. We get a lot of good feedback that in project teams, or in the case of some problems or
issues, we can work much better and faster together.
Metrics of success
Gardner: Craig, of course it’s great to say yes to your constituents, but it’s also good to say
that we're doing more with less to your higher-ups and those that control the budget. Any metrics
of success that you can recall in some of the public-sector organizations you're working with?
Craig Paterson: Absolutely. I'll talk about ﬁles in workﬂow. When a document comes into the
organization before, we mapped how much time and money it took to get it in a ﬁle folder,
having been viewed by everyone that it needs to get viewed by. To give quick context, before, a
document took a ﬁle folder, a label maker, copy machine, and every time a person needed to put
a document in that folder, someone had to get it there. Now, the term "ﬁle clerk" is actually
When a document come in, it gets scanned, it’s instantaneously put in the correct order in the
right electronic folder, and an electronic notiﬁcation is sent to the person who needs to know.
That happens in seconds. When you look at each month, it amounts to savings; before, we were
managing ﬁles, rather than assisting people.
The metrics are in the neighborhood of just about 75 percent paper reduction, because people
aren’t making copies. This means they're not going to the copy machine and along the way, the
water-cooler and conversation pits. That also abates some of the efﬁciencies. We can now see
how many ﬁle folders you looked at, how many documents you actually touched, read, and
reviewed in comparison with somebody else.
We had as many as 5 documents, in comparison with 1,700 in a month. That starts to tell you
some things about where your workload is shifting. Not everyone likes that. They might consider
it a little bit "big brother," but we need those analytics to know how best to change our
workﬂows to serve our customer, and that’s the community.
Gardner: I don’t know if this is a metric that’s easy to measure, but less bureaucracy would be
something that I think just about everyone would be in favor of. Can you point to something that
says we're able to reduce bureaucracy through technology?
Craig Paterson: When you look at bureaucracy and unnecessary paper ﬂows, there are certain
yes-and-no questions that are part of bureaucracy. Somebody has it go their desk and their job is
to stamp yes or no on it. What decision do you have to make? Well they really don’t; they just
have to stamp yes. To me, that’s classic bureaucracy.
Well, if the document hits that person’s desk and it meets a certain criteria or threshold, the
computer automatically and instantaneously approves it and it has a documented audit trail. That
saves some of our clients in the housing-authority industry, when the auditors come and review
things. But if you had to make a decision, it forced you to know how long it took you to make it.
So, we can look at why is it taking so long or there are questions that you don’t need to be
Gardner: So let the systems do what they do best and let the people do the exception
management and the value-added activities. Alan, you had some thoughts about metrics of
success of bureaucracy or both?
Crawford: Yes, it’s the metrics. The Citrix CEO [Kirill Tatarinov] talked at Citrix Synergy
about productivity actually going down in the last few years. We’ve put all these tablets out there
and we have individual case studies where we know a particular family-support worker has
driven 1,700 miles in the year with the tablet, and it was 3,400 miles in the year without. That’s a
proxy measure of how much time they're spending on the road, and we have all the associated
cost of fuel and wasted time and effort.
We've just installed an app -- actually I have rolled it out in the last month or so -- that measures
how many tablets have been switched on in the month, how much they're been used in the day,
and what they've been used for. We can break that down by the geographical areas and give that
information back to the line managers, because they're the people to whom it will actually make
I'm right at a stage where it’s great information. It’s really powerful, but it’s actually to
understand how many hours a day they should be using that tablet. We're not quite sure, and it
probably varies from one type of service to another.
We look at those trends over a period of months. We can tell managers that, yes, total staff used
them 90 percent, but it’s 85 percent in yours. All managers, I ﬁnd, are fairly competitive.
Gardner: Well, that may be a hallmark of business agility, when you can try things out, A/B
testing. We’ll try this, we’ll try that, we don’t pay a penalty for doing that. We can simply learn
from it and immediately apply our lesson back to the process.
Crawford: It’s all about how we support those areas where we identify that they're not making
the most of the technology they’ve been given. And it might be human factors. The staff or even
the managers are very fearful. Or it might be technical factors. There are inhibitors around
mobile network coverage and even broadband coverage in some rural areas. We just follow up on
all of those user experience information we get back and try and proactively improve them.
Gardner: Olaf, when we ask enterprises where they are in their digital transformation, many are
saying they're just at the beginning. For you, who are obviously well into a digital transformation
process, what lessons learned could you share; any words of advice for others as they embark on
Romer: The ﬁrst digital transformation in the insurance business was in the middle of 1990s,
when we started to go paperless and work with a digital system. Today, more than 90 percent of
our new insurance contracts are completely paperless. In Germany, for example, you can give a
digital signature. It’s not allowed for the moment in Switzerland, but from a technical
perspective, we can do this.
My advice would be that digitalization gives you a good situation to think about to make it
simple. We built up great complexity over the years, and now we're able to bring this down and
make it as simple as possible. We created the slogan, “Simply Safe,” for us to rethink everything
that we're doing to make it simple and safe. Again, for insurance, it's very important that the
digitalization brings us not more complexity, but reduces it.
Gardner: Craig, same question. Digital transformation, lessons learned, what advice can you
offer others as they embark?
Document and workﬂow
Patterson: In digital transformation, I’ll just use document and workﬂow. Start with the higher-
end items; there's low-hanging fruit there. I don’t know if we'll ever be totally paperless, which
would really allow us to go mobile, but at the same time, know what not to scan. Know what to
archive and just get rid off. And don't hang on to old technologies for too long. That’s something
else that’s starting to happen. The technological revolution in lifecycle of technology is shorter
and we need to plan our strategies along those lines.
Gardner: Alan, words of advice on those also interested in digital transformation?
Crawford: For us, it started about connecting with our cause. We’ve got social care staff and
since we’re going to do digital transformation, it's not going to really enthuse them. However, if
you explain that this is about actually improving the lives of children with technology, then they
start to get interested. So, there is a bit about using your cause and relating the change to your
A lot of our people factors are on how to engage and train. It's no longer IT saying, "Here’s the
solution, and we expect you to do ABC." I was working with those social-care workers, and here
are the options, what will work for you and how should we approach that, but then it’s never
Actually, you’ve got to follow through on all this change to get the real beneﬁts out of it. You’ve
got to be a bit tenacious with it to really see the beneﬁts in the end.
Gardner: Tie your digital transformation and the organization’s mission that there is no daylight
Crawford: We’ve got the project digitally enabling Action for Children and that was to try and
link the two together inextricably
Gardner: Very good. I'm afraid we’ll have to leave it there. You’ve been listening to a
BrieﬁngsDirect discussion, focused on digital business transformation and how that’s been
accomplished by several prominent enterprises.
We’ve heard how the convergence of cloud, mobility and big-data analytics has prompted these
companies to innovate and produce new levels of productivity. And some of them are ﬁnalists
from this year’s Citrix Synergy 2016 Innovation Awards program.
So please join me now in thanking our guests. We’ve been here with Olaf Romer, Head of
Corporate IT and group CIO at Bâloise in Basel, Switzerland. Alan Crawford, CIO of Action for
Children in London, and Craig Patterson, CEO of Patterson & Associate in San Antonio,
And a big think you to our audience as well for joining this Citrix sponsored business,
innovation, thought leadership discussion.
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator. Thanks
again for listening, and do come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Sponsor: Citrix.
Transcript of a discussion on digital business transformation and how that’s been accomplished
by several prominent enterprises. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2016. All rights
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