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The digital-transformation train has left the station -- is your company on board?

Katherine Noyes | Dec. 22, 2015
'Think of it as a reboot of your company's operating model,' one analyst suggests.

'The last few months have been a tipping point'

CVS Health is surely a shining example.

Over the past few years, the pharmacy provider has tripled its investments in digital technologies with an eye toward transforming not just CVS itself but how healthcare is delivered, said Brian Tilzer, the company's senior vice president and chief digital officer.

"We are driven by one purpose: to improve customer health," Tilzer said. "Our vision is to create a connected health experience that makes it radically easier for people to save time and money and stay healthy."

Earlier this year, CVS Health opened a lab in Boston focused on developing new digital health tools. It's also partnered with digital health venture fund Rock Health and startup accelerator MassChallenge.

Last month, the company introduced the first suite of tools to emerge from its new lab. One allows customers to jump-start the prescription-filling process by capturing a photo of a written prescription through the CVS Health mobile app, for instance.

Other examples focus on helping customers keep their insurance data up to date across store systems and stay on track with their medicines. The CVS Health mobile app is now compatible with the Apple Watch as well.

"Although digital has been a strategic focus for several years, the last few months have really been a tipping point," Tilzer said.

There's already tangible evidence of the benefits, too: According to a recent CVS Health study, customers who enroll online are more likely to fill their prescriptions and adhere to their medications. They can also save more than $20 each per year in unnecessary medical expenses, the report suggested.

Looking ahead, "digital will continue to be an imperative piece of how we move forward as a company, and how we better serve our customers," Tilzer said.

The ability to build software to connect directly to customers is transformative because it removes any barriers that might otherwise exist, CA's Berkes said.

"It provides not just a friction-free way to communicate with customers, but also gives a business an incredible amount of intelligence about what's going on with customers," he explained.

'More about managing change'

A lot of business executives in traditional industries "get nervous thinking about digital transformation," noted Scavo. "They think they need to discover or invent something that no one has thought of before."

In most cases, though, the systems and technologies needed for digital transformation are already available, Scavo said. The bigger problem is a lack of time to think strategically and to overcome organizational inertia.

In many ways, building a digital business from scratch is no problem given today's technology, he suggested. Much more difficult is transforming an organization that has been successful in the past and finding new ways to deliver value to its customers.


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