The Power of Digital Acceleration in a Changing World

During our global digital event, Conversations for a Changing World, finance and technology leaders from Deloitte, John Muir Health, and Cushman & Wakefield discussed digital acceleration, adapting to change brought on by COVID-19, and how partnership between the CFO and CIO is essential for success.

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Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology was moving toward a cloud-first, mobile-optimized environment. The adoption of digital transformation was increasing the agility of the finance and IT functions and impacting technology investments for organizations. That's according to panelists at our recent global digital event, Conversations for a Changing World.

The discussion featured Jason Dess, global leader for finance and performance at Deloitte; Chris Pass, chief financial officer at John Muir Health; and Adam Stanley, chief information officer and chief digital officer at Cushman & Wakefield; who discussed digital acceleration in their organizations, how they're adapting to the changes brought on by COVID-19, and how partnership between the CFO and CIO is essential for success.

COVID-19's Impact on Digitization and the Changing World of Work

The onset of COVID-19 accelerated trends we were already seeing before the pandemic, including the idea that people want flexibility, and workers can be productive whether they're at home or in the office. At the beginning of the pandemic, Stanley shared, “people said, we'll wait until we're back in the office to innovate, but we realized we couldn't wait. Even folks who’d been resistant to changing and to using digital are now adopting it.” 

At first, John Muir Health also resisted the change to remote work, since the organization strongly values an in-office and in-person culture. Pass shared that since the organization had the cloud tools in place, leaders shifted their mindset and have taken advantage of the mobility that let them be together remotely. He stated, “we can do more today than pre-COVID-19 because we've taken down barriers to change.”

For healthcare, telehealth has been one of the game changers related to COVID-19. “We’ve doubled down on those investments by moving to a more accessible telehealth platform that’s mobile, so it meets the customer where they want to be met,” shared Pass. John Muir Health has further leveraged the technology and expanded its capabilities, so now patients can visit family and friends in the hospital, support a new mom who's recently given birth, and do physical therapy—all virtually.

“Doubling down on analytics is important for moving forward and focusing on the value technology can bring.” 

Chris Pass Chief Financial Officer John Muir Health

Investing in Times of Uncertainty to Emerge Stronger

It's critical to invest in digital technologies, even during challenging times. For example, companies that embraced innovation during the Great Recession were better positioned when the recovery came. In 2008, innovation and technology would’ve been the first line items cut from budgets. In 2020, they're the last. From the 2008 recession, “the biggest lesson is to think strategically about how finance, technology, and talent management can allow us to emerge on the other side of the recession stronger than before,” shared Stanley. 

Pass explained how his team embraced innovative technology by following the signals from China, Italy, and New York when tracing how COVID-19 could impact John Muir Health’s patients. To ensure the team could quickly drive change and have enough equipment, space, and staff, they became more analytically driven. “Doubling down on analytics is important for moving forward and focusing on the value technology can bring,” said Pass. 

“The easiest way for a CFO and a CIO to get along is to think from the perspective of the board; that's a language both can work on.” 

Adam Stanley Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer Cushman & Wakefield

Building Collaboration with the CFO and CIO

“It's important the CIO and the CFO work as a team to help folks on the front lines providing care,” shared Pass. In healthcare, the technology investment of installing electronic medical records was valuable because it let teams know more about their patients, and now the next wave of innovation will need to focus on driving organizational efficiency. 

“The easiest way for a CFO and a CIO to get along is to think from the perspective of the board; that's a language both can work on,” said Stanley. Demonstrating the value a new technology investment will have in reducing cost, improving revenue, reducing risk, or improving client satisfaction is key and builds trust in the CIO-CFO relationship. 

Interested in hearing more from these business leaders? Watch their full session at Conversations for a Changing World.

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