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Stars Air Ambulance

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Thomas Odenbach

on 23 September 2013

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Transcript of Stars Air Ambulance

Strategy Recommendation

Problems at STARS
Role of IT/IS at Stars
Beginning to recognize IS problem
Communicate importance of IT/IS
Can help save lives
5 Main Problems/Challenges
Role of IT/IS at Stars
Earn trust/credibility and respect of organization
Excessive use of consultants and amount of IT projects
Distributed nature of IS
Low quality of IS staff
What causes the gap between IS and business?
Pepperd, J. (2001), "Bridging the gap between the IS organization and the rest of the business: plotting a route"
STARS Air Ambulance
Basic Issue
What are the necessary actions the new CIO needs to take in order to control the IS department and thus, support the overall mission of STARS?
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
"Providing a safe, rapid, highly specialized emergency medical transport system for the critically ill and injured."
General facts
Other Problems
Distributed nature of IS
Low quality of IS staff
Excessive use of consultants and amount of IT projects
Earn trust/credibility and respect of organization
Low recruiting standards
Infrastructure (distributed nature)
Favorite IS staff member contacted when help needed
Lack of control over operations by CIO
IS group lacks skills to deliver technical solutions

Board executives and departmental managers as key positions
Overall opinion that IS is not critical because STARS could still operate even during system outage

Too much outsourcing of projects (consulting)
Former CIO a consultant not member of IS staff
Missing authority
Own staff not seen as capable
Not enough training?
• Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society
• Founded in 1985 as “Lions Air”, a rotary air ambulance services by the Lions Club
• Total of 6 air bases in Canada
• Annual operating costs of ~ $50 million in 2012
• Funded mostly by donations
• ~ 25% of annual expenses founded by contract with the community of Alberta
• ~ $27 million raised in 2012 (mostly from lottery)
• Operating a total of 9 helicopters (7 BK117 and 2 AW139)
• In 2012 former CEO Dr. Gregory Powell was replaced by Dr. Andrea Robertson

Lack of control over operations by CIO
Inadequate project planning and management
Too many current projects (24) mostly marked as critical
No communication and relationship between IS and business

No clear and defined process to involve IS department
Not done yet
CIO external, no relationship, lack of understanding importance of IT
Budget reduction of 10%
General low budget
Transfer knowledge from consultants to IS staff
Resistance by managers?
Importance of IS
Accomplish projects successfully
Show presence
Establish relationships with department managers
Centralized database
Availability of information
Process improvement
Supervision of technical equipment
Organization and maintenance

Do you have any personal experience with the gap in information systems?
Centralize approach
Project initiation by IS department
Centralized administration of budget
Introduce help desk to coordinate requests
What do you think are the most important aspects of information systems?
Clearly defined roles
Hiring policies
Show presence
Team building exercise
Reduce the number of consultants
Supervision of consultants
Hiring not only based on past relationships
Reduce number of projects to manageable size
Show that this processes are inefficient, costly, harmful
Show strength of IS staff
Full control and authority of CIO
Deliver remaining projects on time, within budget, and achieving the intended goals

Do you think the communication between IS and the management is disturbed?
Is there reluctance to communicate with each other?
Which other problems can you identify specifically for STARS that interfere with the integration of IS?
H. A., Smith and J. D., McKeen (2010)-How to talk so business will listen...
Important communication skills for IT staff:
Thinking, talking, and listening
Do you think it is necessary for STARS to implement all six steps to be successful?
Communication obstacles according to Smith and McKeen (2010):

Changing nature of IT work (complexity)
More communication is required
Personality issues (team work capability)
Attitude towards each other (lack of integration)
Backfiring relationship managers (inhibiting)

Example RWE IT Structure
Actions to take:
1. Earn trust/credibility/respect
2. Show and proof the importance of IS/IT for Stars' vision
3. Gain control over operations and staffing
4. Centralize IS activities, processes and budget
5. Build long lasting relationships with manager and executive board
6. Manage changes within the constrained IS budget
Thank you for your attention!
Which different gaps between IS and business exist?
*IS decision rights-accountability gap framework according to Grover, Henry and Thatcher (2007)
Full transcript