Publications Transforming CZ into a digital enterprise

Transforming CZ into a digital enterprise

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In the journey to a digital enterprise, CZ took three crucial steps in two years: transformation of IT, reassessment of business strategy and the decision to go through major standardization. CIO Peter Slager explains how technology and data are closely intertwined with CZ’s strategic direction. 

As a member of the executive board, the CZ CIO is eminently motivated to help improve healthcare through digital means. “My wife is a general practitioner, and we regularly talk at the kitchen table about using technology to keep healthcare affordable and accessible in the face of a tight labor market and rising prices. Business and IT will increasingly become one, with tech and data as enablers of innovation.” 

CZ has more than four million customers and the health insurer is in great financial health. According to Peter Slager, as one of the larger players, the organization can help guide digital developments in the sector. In this regard, the former top handball player brings vision, team focus and leadership experience – gained at LogicaCMG and Ahold Delhaize, among others. “I really believe in doing things together, multidisciplinary. It makes you much more effective as an organization,” he emphasizes. 

Value chains
When Peter Slager took office as CZ’s CIO two years ago, he had been on board with the company for some time. “That made my first hundred days a lot easier, because I was able to do an analysis on the entire division in the without having to manage the department. I wanted to transform the IT organization from an internal supplier to an enabler of business objectives.” 

The initial IT transformation program was based on four values: customer focus, simplicity, well-oiled processes and professionalism. Next to a more value-chain and customer journeys-orientedIT organization, CZ is working to modernize its technology and data landscape. 

“Soon we also decided to review our business strategy. Our services so far have had various digital elements, such as using technology and data to improve and enrich the CZ app. But rising healthcare costs and scarce talent required a much broader focus. After all, if we as a sector do nothing now, we are heading for a shortage of 80,000 healthcare professionals by 2030.” 

“In the summer of 2023, we saw that there was suddenly a lot going on,” Peter Slager continued. “The BizzTech program bringing IT closer to the business had led to improvement in the delivery process, but it was still not moving fast enough. Moreover, IT costs continued to rise. Partly because of our pivotal role in the CZ 2030 strategy, I decided to contact Anderson MacGyver.” 

The CIO had three questions: how can CZ IT accelerate, to what extent does the current architecture fit the ambitions and are IT costs keeping pace with other health insurers, and should we continue to want to do everything ourselves in terms of IT? “Using the Operating Model Canvas (OMC), it became clear which IT best fits our processes, principles and business activities.” 

OMC color palette
The colors assigned to the OMC showed that the many green-labeled generic activities within CZ demand stable and efficient IT support. In addition, on the customer side the color blue (adaptivity) deserves particular attention, while on the product side, among others, purple predominates: the need for distinctive (specialized) solutions. Orange is for the specific but relatively stable business processes. 

It did take a while before the OMC found its place in the organization. By now, both management and employees recognize and acknowledge the value of such an overview. “The visualization helps enormously to get people on board with the changes. The most important conclusion was that with the existing IT landscape we would not be able to realize the CZ 2030 strategy.” 

Compared to similar organizations, CZ’s change capacity turned out to be rather limited. “The conclusion was that we had too many in-house developed customizations. Together with Anderson MacGyver, we are now defining a new target architecture. Parallel to the initiated standardization is the transition to a scalable, modular and secure IT landscape. This includes sound data management. We are also reassessing the sourcing strategy.” 

Organizational principles
But CZ is looking ahead even further. The principles embraced within the IT division, such as well invested responsibilities and the pursuit of efficiency and simplicity, inspire a future vision for the overall organization, business processes and culture. 

“All in all, in two years we as an IT function have made the move from internal supplier to more strategic enabler based on technology and data,” concludes Peter Slager. “Business and IT can no longer be separated in this regard.” 

Curious about the general review of our Masterclass with Peter Slager, CIO of CZ? Read it here.

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