Rodolfo Szoke, VP, IT Transformation, Versant Health
How does the task management landscape impact the industry for good customer experience? Please tell us about the emerging trends and navigate the challenges during the delivery of the project.
Having a solid mechanism (tools and processes) to deliver projects as well as complex operational activities has always been paramount to meeting and exceeding expectations here at Versant Health. Following the global trends regarding task management, I can identify three that are fundamental for us.
First, whether your enterprise task management systems are on premise or cloud-based, the use and dependency on APIs in order to coexist with other enterprise systems is unavoidable.
Second, enhancing the skills and competencies of your task managers to go beyond pure PM abilities has grown in relevance. Every company that invests and depends on task management system needs leaders that not only could master project management life cycles(PMLC), but also has sound knowledge in other frameworks such as software development life cycle (SDLC) as well as change and configuration management.
The third significant trend is to focus on reporting and data coming out of these systems. Task management platforms should provide us with user-friendly mechanisms to view information, as well as allow us to run what-if scenarios. Having clear, concise dashboards that could help us understand not only the progress of our initiative, but also the financial and resource health is a must.
What are the techniques you use to effectively manage and strategize the task management system into the workspace?
From my experience, there are two primary areas of focus when strategizing the adoption of a task management system. First is to determine whether a company is mature and ready to embrace a task management platform. The best candidate is an organization that already has some level of project governance and methodologies that are carrying initiatives from one stage to the next with reasonable discipline and consistency. Trying to embrace a task management system without this is certainly a bigger lift.
Second, companies adopting a task management solution must realize the investment is not trivial. Accountability and commitment at all levels is paramount to the success of such an endeavor.
At Versant Health, we have a passion for exemplary quality and unparalleled service. Working together, vision care will reach far beyond where it is today. Our vision is to become the most trusted managed eye health and vision plan in the industry
I suggest promoting its adoption as a “new way of managing initiatives across the company” more than “a system to help us manage projects”.
As a key role of VP, IT Transformation, describe the important projects you have worked on and your approach?
As the third largest provider of managed vision care in the U.S.—and aiming to reach higher levels—Versant Health is embracing transformation in various core areas. Currently, our organization has nine major transformational activities that focus on providing a richer, more effective experience for our members, providers, and business partners.
Specifically, we have made substantial investments in technology for our members, providers, and business partners that allows them to access and process the information they want when they want it. In addition, we have made refinements to our inbound customer service systems and protocols to provide quick and direct access to members and providers based on the plan and geographic location.
In my role, I closely monitor the pulse of the entire portfolio of initiatives, provide direction and support, and bring donuts and coffee to the teams as required.
How are the challenges addressed in the business world?
We have more than 33 million members and provide vision insurance services to large and small organizations: government institutions, private enterprises, school systems, etc. Our talented associates support our membership base not only during open enrollment, but also throughout the year. And we are able to do it by thinking ahead and effectively exercising our task management governance, protocols, and platforms.
How did you develop the strategic points and use your personal experience in the field of task management?
Having managed initiatives of all sizes throughout my career, I can say that a task management platform without a well-defined, agreed-upon, widely communicated PMLC would certainly become an ineffective use of time and resources. In simple terms, do not focus on reports and dashboards if you are having challenges with your team updating tasks, or if there are discrepancies between what your team is reporting and what your sponsors believe is taking place. Fix the basics first. A platform will always help, but it will not replace any gaps in your governance.
What is the advice you would like to give to the people who want to stretch and improve themselves in different aspects of their journey?
Embarking on an effective journey requires systematic moves for the attainment of the goal. If your company has decided it is time to adopt a task management solution, make sure it is also ready to embrace the use of APIs as profoundly as it can. Preparing the landscape requires proper indoctrination of the internal community on governance and training, as well as to adapting task management protocols into their daily activities. Be ready to see your task management platform as a key source of information for business decisions, short and long-term.
Teams work better when there is collaboration and seamless links between the task management platform and your enterprise communication tools. You will know you have reached a higher level of maturity regarding task management when its integration with your enterprise collaboration platforms is such that you can research and resolve a resource contention issue affecting your project from your email client, without even logging into your task management system, all this from your phone or watch. Just make sure you don’t do it while driving!