Medibank nicks ANZ exec to lead IT operations


news Health insurer Medibank Private this week revealed it had nicked a senior IT executive from ANZ Bank who had also led IT for the UK’s National Health Service to lead Medibank’s IT operations.

In a statement issued yesterday, the insurer said it had appointed a new executive general manager of technology and operations. Filling the role from January 2016 will be Sarah Harland.

According to Harland’s LinkedIn profile, the executive has been the general manager of Technology Group Functions at ANZ Bank since March 2011. Previous to that, the executive was chief information officer at the UK’s giant National Health Service agency from January 2007 through March 2011. Harland has also been the chief information officer of Qwest Communications, meaning she has held senior CIO roles on three continents.


Medibank said: “The new position reflects the ongoing focus on strengthening the core technology systems to deliver improved customer service and efficiency improvements. This role will sit on the Executive Committee and be responsible for leading the Technology & Operations functions of Medibank (which include property and procurement) and the IT transformation program of work.”

According to its 2014 prospectus (PDF) for its initial public offering, Medibank is currently undertaking a broad IT renewal program (IT Renewal Program), which includes replacing the core policy and customer relationship management systems for the Medibank brand (Project DelPHI) and other associated projects. iTnews first reported the news of Harland’s appointment, and Medibank’s renewal project.

The prospectus states that Medibank’s IT services currently operate through a centralised organisational structure, with approximately 375 employees and contractors supporting the business. Medibank Private’s core IT teams are located in Melbourne and manage more than 300 applications and 1,500 servers.

“Medibank Private began a progressive core IT systems upgrade process four years ago and has now replaced all three of its claims processing systems,” the document states. “Medibank Private is undertaking the IT Renewal Program which comprises decommissioning Medibank Private’s legacy mainframe, upgrading its digital sale and services systems, improving data warehouse and business intelligence systems, and undertaking Project DelPHI (set out below). The IT Renewal Program is expected to be completed during calendar year 2016.”

“Project DelPHI is the main component of the IT Renewal Program and is designed to replace the customer, policy, premium and product management systems for the Medibank brand with a single, integrated commercial insurance software suite. Medibank Private has entered into separate agreements with IBM Australia Limited for services, and SAP Australia Pty Limited for the licence of software, in respect of this project.”

“The IT Renewal Program is designed to provide an integrated IT services environment to support growth in Policyholder numbers, cost savings and the timely and efficient deployment of initiatives across Medibank Private. Once the IT Renewal Program has been completed, Medibank Private will have replaced all of its key legacy IT platforms. In addition, Medibank Private is investing in its data analytics capability to enable the enhanced development of tailored products as well as improved management of claims expenses.”

It certainly sounds like there will be quite a lot for Harland to do — and also that Medibank has the right executive for this role. Harland looks to have a huge amount of experience and is probably actually just a little overqualified to lead Medibank’s IT operations.

Image credit: LinkedIn profile of Sarah Harland