AC: MUSC is the Medical University of South Carolina. Founded in 1824, it is the oldest medical school in the South as well as South Carolina’s only integrated academic health system. Made up of multiple, distinct, but integrated organizations, the medical university and the health system, which consists of the hospital and practice plan, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality and safe patient care while training generations of compassionate, competent health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Close to 25,000 care team members provide care for patients at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and 5 additional hospital locations in development, more than 300 telehealth sites, and nearly 750 care locations situated in the Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee, and Upstate regions of South Carolina. In 2022, for the eighth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina.
Q: Can you describe the project?
AC: MUSC’s primary goal was innovation and digital transformation that focused on utilizing technology as a tool that allowed care team members and faculty to deliver outstanding care and teaching. We focused on bringing all three entities under one umbrella utilizing Workday®.
They took the opportunity to harmonize where they could, but they also still wanted to maintain and respect the individuality of each entity. As an example, they wanted to synchronize their hiring process where it made sense, but the university, as a state-run institution, had certain hiring requirements that the health system was not subjected to.
We had eight other concurrent projects running together with the implementation of Workday® which made this a transformational opportunity for the organization. They implemented HCM, Financials, and Spend Management (Supply Chain Management). And within each of those areas, there were several other modules. HCM was inclusive of Comp and Benefits and Payroll; Finance was Expenses, Procurement; Supply Chain was Inventory, Purchase Requisitions, and Purchase Orders. Grant Management was a big portion on the university side.
Learn more about the ins and outs of this project.
Again, it was one of the largest medical university deployments Workday® had done to date. It was extremely complex. IJA is very proud to have partnered with MUSC and Deloitte on this delivery.
Q: Why did MUSC choose IJA?
AC: Originally, they hired me to serve as their Executive Program Director. They hired me for a couple of reasons. One, I have extensive and deep experience in managing these types of programs. Two, I have a higher ed background which gives me unique insight that allows me to manage risks that could potentially impede on time delivery. I understand the politics associated with their world. And three, I have a reputation for executing projects with high quality, within budget, and on time, which I did.
“I was able to manage the internal politics necessary to make the project successful, in accordance with the overall agenda item, which was implementing a system that served the enterprise for generations to come.”
In the medical university space, there are often contradictory speeds in which the two environments make decisions. Higher ed is very much a committee decision organization, where everything gets routed through multiple committees before a decision is finalized. Understanding that through a project lens where timelines are critical is important. Making sure that you have solid governance is really crucial to success. Whereas in a health system, they move much faster. They’re used to dealing with the lives of people, and so by their very nature they have the capacity for quick decision-making. When you’re trying to drive a project that benefits both of these types of organizations, it can prove to be challenging, both for the leader and those on each side.
That’s the role that I play—I slow down the health system when it’s appropriate, and I speed up the university when it’s appropriate. Everything is a series of choices and it’s my job to present the choices with data that allow each team to make a decision.
For example, if the university wants to move at a more deliberate pace, we can do that but we’re going to need six months more on the timeline. When you present the impacts of those choices, they tend to become empowered to make those decisions. With the health system, we aim to make sure they understand the decisions that they make now and how they impact their future stabilization of the tool. We slow them down a bit to allow them to consider the big picture and to aid them in making the right decisions long term.
MUSC had never taken on a project of this size that spanned all of their entities. They needed someone who had experience delivering projects of this magnitude, and was an external resource that could have these hard conversations without repercussions.
“I do step on toes when necessary. I just do it in a really gentle way, if that makes sense. They brought me in to be their corporate chess player, with checkmate being a successful on-time delivery.”
Q: How did you and IJA meet the challenges of this project?
AC: I ran the program as an individual business unit within MUSC. I had my own budget, I had my own program culture, I had my own team. There were about 280 people that I managed on the project. One of the things this allowed me to do was come in and see the landscape overall, which means I was able to refer additional resources in a proactive way to mitigate any problems related to schedule, resource constraints by MUSC, or lack of expertise or skill set, in order to execute the job they expected. The reason why that was really valuable to MUSC was because we all came from the same firm, so we’re all aligned to the same value propositions and standard of work. We were able to act as a unit, cohesively delivering value that far exceeds that of an individual contractor.
Q: What was the final result?
AC:SUCCESS! MUSC would tell you, they would not have gone live on-time without us and while we appreciate the acknowledgement, it was an amazing team effort across the enterprise and multiple vendors.
15 month project timeline (that should have been closer to 24 months!)
Three entities with 32,000 employees
9 projects in total
Full suite implementation - HCM, Finance, Supply Chain, Prism and Workday® Extend
Needless to say, it was a very, very large implementation. We delivered on time, but we also stayed on budget.
The program was inundated with risk. Our timeline was not realistic to the planned scope and we struggled with the stability of resources – both internal and external to MUSC. With a risk heavy program, partnering with stakeholders across the enterprise was imperative to our success.
“I was able to move the pieces on the chessboard in a way that allowed us to deliver on time, which was the most critical deliverable.”
We looked at doing a three month extension, but that would have cost MUSC $6-$10 million. By completing the project on time, we saved them a LOT of money.
Q: How do you personally feel about the project?
AC:It was one of the highlights of my career! We’ve built lasting relationships with them. We have multiple people from the IJA side still there as part of their Workday® production support team, helping them continue to lean into the product and deliver against their new set of goals. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and it was the largest delivery for me, personally, as well. I am honored to have partnered with the amazing talent at MUSC and to be a part of their success story.
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