Deloittes Digital Finance Experiential Lab, 19th November 2018

Author: John WilliamsDate: 6 months 2 days Ago

I had the pleasure to attend the above session with colleagues from across most sectors of NHS Finance (commissioners, providers, CSU’s, all represented). On the journey down I was thinking about what to expect; analytics, science, robots……the future. I was not left disappointed.

After a few glugs of my glass of coffee in the fabulous Greenhouse Laboratory, for helpful context setting we initially considered the role of the CFO (and wider finance teams) and there was an agreed generalisation of the need to move our energies from Stewardship and Operators (albeit of course, not neglecting the importance of these roles) but with greater emphasis on strategizing and catalysing change. In simple terms, adding value, both at organisational and system level. We noted that Digital was a key enabler to help us on this journey!

The team from Deloittes took us through a number of interactive sessions showcasing examples from the private sector of where Digital has been able to have a real tangible beneficial impact, most notably on; reducing manual interventions, supporting standardisation, eliminating waste and providing intelligence. Whilst the examples came from industries outside of health, it was mostly straight forward to envisage how they could be applied to many of the roles within NHS finance.

The sorts of examples we looked through, included;

  • Descriptive Analytics (the sort of thing many providers now do to showcase PLICS information).
  • Cognitive data quality
  • Predictive analytics
  • Power BI
  • Chatbot
  • ARRIA report generation
  • Einstein cognitive insights
  • Robotic Automation
  • Blackline

Personally I was particularly excited by the opportunities of predictive analytics - enabling us to better predict the demand on healthcare resource using much more progressive statistical analysis that I have personally seen in the NHS before, Chatbot – for a better customer experience in dealing with, for example, standard Procurement questions, and ARRIA – for automating reports from a given dataset. It’s fair to say the latter generated a fair few “Wow!” with the group. All had the means to really change the work we do and the experience for our customers. If like me, you are not all that ‘up’ on the Digital revolution, it would be worth us creating a wider discussion platform, perhaps through @nhsFFF.

Through each session we considered the impact on staff and had lively discussions on the roles of the future (most of which don’t even exist yet, by the way), the skills and knowledge transfer and the need for greater emphasis on commercial, engaging, influencing, presenting skills, as opposed to the technical knowhow.

Interestingly this day also acted as a pre-cursor for a session on the ‘Future of the Finance Function’, supported by PWC. There was huge consensus that the experiences from the day and the acceptance of the Digital agenda would need a significant presence in that conversation. So I will be finding out how that session went, with colleagues in due course.

Digital is here to stay, and as an NHS Finance Community it is important we see this as an opportunity to embrace change, test the unexpected, create a culture where it is acceptable to fail, learn and innovate, and support our staff by providing the space and the opportunities to get involved, share their ideas, show leadership and help the workforce develop alongside the Digital Journey.

I would be happy to discuss my reflections with others, thanks to the team at Deloittes for a very interesting day and NHS colleagues for the honest and stimulating debate.

Jonathan Lumb's picture
5 months 4 weeks Ago

Hi John
a graet blog capturing the essence of the day which delivered far more than I had expected......and yes the PWC Future of Finace day was equally illuminating & inspiring.
Would be good to catch up once we have reflected on the day(s).



John Williams's picture
5 months 3 weeks Ago

Thanks Jonathan.