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Tuesday, 27 June 2023

Avsharn Bachoo Group Technology Director at JSE-listed healthcare company, AfroCentric Group, unpacks the power of Run-Grow-Transform in the ever-shifting quest to digitally transform

Technology plays a critical role in the evolution of every industry in South Africa and across the world. This is why we constantly say that every company is now a technology company given the integral nature tech plays in providing greater efficiencies and competitive advantage. Digital transformation may be a cliché buzzword at this point, but that’s only because these strategies need to constantly adapt to keep pace with technological change.

At AfroCentric, while we may be in healthcare, we are a technology company at heart. From medical aid administration to pharmaceuticals to corporate solutions – our entire organisation demands a sophisticated digital strategy that cannot be allowed to fail. The more efficient we become, the more quality healthcare our customers can deliver, the more lives we can potentially save. The "Run-Grow-Transform" strategy has been a linchpin to our success in this regard. And if it works for us, it can work for a multitude of sectors.

The "Run-Grow-Transform" framework provides a structured approach for organisations to navigate the digital transformation process. The strategy focuses on modernising the operational environment, future-proofing the organisation with emerging and new technologies and building a common chassis or rail that can plug in different technologies.

This three-pronged approach is similar to building a house with a blueprint, where each component is designed to work together seamlessly. The framework encompasses three key components: optimising existing processes (Run), investing in incremental improvements (Grow), and fostering disruptive innovation (Transform).

The three steps of run, grow, transform

Modernising the run environment is the first step in the "Run-Grow-Transform" strategy. This involves spending 70% of our effort to stabilising the operational environment and getting back to basics. This sits at the heart of the strategy to ensure that we can deliver quality patient care. This step further entails building a common chassis plugging in different technologies. It involves creating a flexible infrastructure that can integrate different technologies seamlessly. This approach is similar to building a chassis for a car that can accommodate different vehicle manufacturers.

The second step is to modernise and digitise the organisation to future-proof it with emerging and new technologies. This step is essential to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, such as robotics, AI, VR, IoT, distributed techs like Edge, Biotechnologies and personalised medications, trust technologies like blockchain and web 3.0, programming trends like low code and no code, and quantum computing. The list of emergent technologies is ever shifting, which is essential to this strategy.

The third step is the radical and exponential use of technology to experiment with disruptive innovations to transform both AfroCentric and the industry - moonshot thinking.

The lessons healthcare has learned in running, growing, and transforming

Implementing the "Run-Grow-Transform" strategy requires collaboration, knowledge sharing, and a culture of innovation. The healthcare industry has witnessed the power of collaboration through partnerships between technology companies, healthcare organisations, and regulatory bodies. Such collaborations have driven breakthrough innovations and accelerated digital transformation across the sector.

By embracing the "Run-Grow-Transform", healthcare has showcased the immense potential and benefits of a structured approach to digital transformation. From operational efficiency to incremental innovations and transformative breakthroughs, this strategy can guide other industries on their journey towards a digital future.

Similarly, other industries can benefit from collaborative ecosystems. By fostering partnerships, sharing best practices, and encouraging cross-industry collaborations, businesses can collectively drive digital transformation at an accelerated pace, propelling innovation, and creating a better future for all.

At the end of the day, we had to become a technology-first organisation. To deliver access to quality and affordable healthcare, we have to ensure all the moving parts of our business run cohesively for greater efficiency. We have to run smoothly, grow our impact, and transform to meet the challenges of the future.

Embracing digital technologies, cultivating a culture of innovation, and fostering collaboration are key drivers of our success. By viewing this under a Run-Grow-Transform lens, any business can chart their own path to digital transformation and unlock new opportunities.

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