Not to drag up the past but we all remember Lorenzo, right?… The 2002 abandoned NHS patient record system has so far cost UK taxpayers nearly £10bn, yes, billion!
It would have been the world’s largest civilian computer system likely to be hundreds of millions of pounds more – had it succeeded. Richard bacon, a Conservative member describes it as “One of the worst and most expensive contracting fiascos in the history of the public sector.” – Ouch.
The NHS system (Lorenzo) was supposed to store data for 220 trusts in the UK but the project was riddled with technical challenges and disputes with suppliers which left it years behind schedule and over budget. 6 years on, all that remains are legal disputes between suppliers who want compensation and angry people.
So, what went wrong?
The people who would be using the system, receptionists, GPs and nurses, rejected the change.
Communication with third party sponsors and suppliers was extremely strained.
It’s not the systems fault, the key takeaway here is that the people aspect wasn’t considered in the master plans.
Which is actually where we start our plans – let’s look at our communication strategy and approach to people. Starting with the hard facts; 70% of digital transformation efforts do not meet their targets and the total cost of operational failures caused by poor quality software is estimated at $1.56 TRILLION.
By putting the people first, it increases the success rate of change projects sticking, you start by telling people why it’s being done, how it’s being done, and when. The feedback on a ‘bad’ change project is often when people feel like it’s just being done to them, rather than being done with them, which just isn’t going to work.
Another aspect in terms of ‘people first’ is when we’re looking at a sort of complex change project e.g. system implementation, our approach immediately is understanding what are the resistances ahead of time so that we can mitigate those and manage them. That may be resistance or fear.