Case Study: Leading the Digital Transformation at Ramsay Générale de Santé

By: | 07 Apr 2016


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Arnaud joined Ramsay Générale de Santé (RGDS) almost 4 years ago, to design and implement the first company marketing strategy.

Being a private healthcare provider, RGDS utilises both B2B and B2C approaches; marketing to GPs as well as patients. Arnaud’s market research included running focus groups and even becoming a ‘dummy’ patient himself. It became clear to him that incorporating digital platforms and services would be integral to his plans.

Before attending the Leading the Digital Transformation Masterclass, Arnaud had already begun developing digital practices at RGDS; launching an online platform to support the company’s MY NEA maternity programme, and redesigning the company’s websites- incorporating a real-time representation of delays in their EU Units and an emphasis on informative, relevant content that people can trust.

“The idea was just to make things easier for patients because healthcare has a tradition of being complex.”

Arnaud inherited his digital responsibilities after French-based Générale de Santé was bought by the Australian-based Ramsay. Ramsay Générale de Santé now has hospitals across Europe and Asia Pacific. The merger made it more important than ever to have a cohesive digital strategy. “When you buy hospitals, you inherit the history and the systems so we had to deal with a lot of complexity.”

“I was looking for a new way to raise the bar of our operations – in terms of how we accelerate things, how we scale things up in the organisation – and this course was interesting because you have practical examples from someone who did that at a high level in a large organisation.”

“I wanted to find food for thought for my CEO so we could incorporate digital transformation into the new strategic plan.”

We asked Arnaud about the mixture of attendees at the Masterclass:

“Some were more advanced than we were, some larger, some smaller, but we had the same question: how do we help a traditional structure to become more agile, to become more digital? Because the main challenge is not technical, it’s about change management and structural transformation.”

Arnaud designed a digital roadmap based on his experience at RGDS and everything he learned at the Masterclass. “I wrote down the vision, where we should be in five years’ time, and the concrete material that I got from the course… I wanted to explain the main challenges, why our digital processes were failing, what good practice looks like, and what we could do to make things a success.”

Digital transformation became a pivotal part of the strategic plan, with a series of initiatives set to be delivered within the organisation by 2020. “Part of the strategic plan was drawn directly from the information I received at the course”, Arnaud explains.

“By the end of the process, the new strategic plan was called ‘Let’s DO IT’ – D for digital, O for optimisation, I for innovation and T for talent.”

Arnaud knew that it was essential to bring everyone together to reach their collective goals- “We have changed the way we look at things, how we organise ourselves, and how we work together… It sounds pretty obvious but digital throws big challenges at organisations, and you have to change if you want to deliver things the way they should be delivered.”

“You need to find ways to engage and you need to have the support of senior management. It’s a constant battle, so it’s important to be sure that you have the right strategic approach and that the issue is tackled at the right level of the organisation.”

The biggest challenge at RDGS is transforming the way siloed departments work together. “We need to create a new, project-managed, way of working. That is the biggest challenge. It involves a lot of organisation and political questions. If you don’t do that, it makes it tricky to make things happen in your organisation.”

Customer experience is as important a driver for digital transformation as cost reduction at RGDS- “We have a multifunctional approach. You need to focus on both the optimisation/cost reduction and the customer experience. It’s about how we can remove cost from the administration of the business and reinvest that with a customer-centric approach.

“The beauty of digital is that, for once, customer experience and optimisation can go hand in hand. It can go very wrong if you focus only on cost reduction.”

It’s still too early to discuss the long-term benefits of the transformation at Ramsay Générale de Santé, but the short-term benefits are clear. “We now have a clear strategic plan at the heart of our ambition for 2020.” The marketing team is now working closely with other departments, and Arnaud sees this as the biggest advantage so far. “We are just about to finalise a partnership with a start-up, which will go live in 2 months’ time. It’s the first and is a very quick way, at our scale, of doing something new for the group.

“The course helped to reinforce my understanding and gave me the expert information I needed. It gave me confidence to propose new things and helped me gain confidence and trust from the senior management of the company.”

The case studies on the course don’t just cover success stories, but also failures- “You can learn a lot from other people’s failures. It doesn’t mean that you won’t fail but you will learn about obstacles that may be in your way, and that you should be aware of.”

And what advice would Arnaud offer to someone embarking on a digital transformation process?

“I would say, before the course, think about what your objectives are and make sure you ask all the questions that are related to your own issues. Share as much as you can, because by sharing your own experiences, you get a lot of reactions from others and it’s something they can also learn from. When you go back, make an executive summary of what you have learnt and perhaps an ‘elevator pitch’ in order to talk to senior management about the course and what you have learnt.”

If you would like to connect with Arnaud on LinkedIn, you can do so here

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