CIO50 2020 #2 Angela Coble, Johnson & Johnson Medical
In early February, foreseeing the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare sector across Australia, Angela Coble led an immediate industry response to use of-the-shelf technology so field staff at Johnson & Johnson Medical could connect virtually with surgeons in operating theatres. This ensured patients and healthcare practitioners received the care and support they were accustomed to despite lockdowns across Australia and New Zealand.
Coble reached out to CIOs in the healthcare system, consolidated their views and took a risk-based approach that enabled the sector to execute virtual care services quickly. She was able to ramp up education and training on virtual solutions for J&J’s sales force of 400 staff over two weeks.
During the same month, Coble led a data and analytics capability to report on employee movements and tracing – even before the COVID Safe app was developed. This meant the organisation could trace where staff had been, which hospitals and customers they have been in contact with. This enabled the company to immediately trace their movements should an exposure be recorded. Using CRM data, a report was made available within a day of Coble actioning the idea and was shaped continuously to ensure more detail could be added as required.
Coble also capitalised on her relationships with colleagues in China to learn from their response and prepare to bring various applications to Australia and New Zealand. This includes one app that lets staff request access to a J&J office providing immediate approval or decline, depending on the level of capacity already exhausted.
A critical response
During COVID-19’s peak, Coble delivered, with the help of her team, a new and revamped Salesforce platform as a ‘minimum viable product.’
“This was a crucial journey for the commercial organisation as it exposed the scaled agile framework in an unobtrusive manner and the agile journey that started nine months prior with a design thinking workshop,” says Coble.
“This program and launch in April 2020 has changed the net promoter score of the CRM instance from -57 to +26 with more than 90 per cent of respondents giving it a very positive or positive reaction. This commercial enablement was timely but also critical during our COVID-19 response.”
During COVID-19, Coble fronted countless town halls, responded to open Q&As and took hundreds of requests relating to technology usage and enablement.
While representing the tech group as part of J&J’s crisis management team for its COVID-19 response, Coble recommended the company instigate the business continuity plan (BCP) for every J&J company in Australia and New Zealand.
J&J Medical’s A/NZ managing director, Sue Martin, requested that Coble take ownership and lead J&J’s Medical Devices business through the BCP.
“In April, while completing her confirmation of candidature at the University of Southern Queensland and simultaneously leading the innovative tech enablement, Angela started the governance process for our BCP,” Martin says.
“This required identifying and managing commercial risks, coordinating teams, and bringing us successfully through the BCP and into recovery in less than 12 weeks.”
Diversified talent plan
Martin says that Coble constantly provides development opportunities by coaching and mentoring staff in her team and other non-tech associates to help them realise their career potential.
In June, Coble delivered a diversified talent plan for 34 technology staff, meeting with each one to understand their goals and aspirations and then provide guidance and actions. The majority of these people don’t report to her or reside in the company’s Medical Devices division.
“She took this detail and shared it with various managers to ensure each employee was supported and provided the best opportunity within the role to develop. Angela invests much of herself to ensuring her team members and those around her have access to development opportunities or are provided with insight that helps shape their path. Due to this engagement, two are fast-tracked for promotions,” Martin says.
Meanwhile, Martin says Coble’s own part-time doctoral research will contribute to better pathways for future technology leaders in Australia and is focused on closing the gender gap in technology and increasing participation of women in leadership.
Coble is co-creating a joint venture between J&J and the University of Southern Queensland to provide a platform for female STEM entrepreneurs in Australia to bring their ideas to market and increase tech leadership participation. This venture is a current agenda item for the federal minister for industry, science and technology, Karen Andrews.
Coble says the chief information officer role is no different to any other executive role in an organisation.
“I have been fortunate enough to hold various multi-disciplinary roles and strongly advocate that the ‘x’ in the title is interoperable - C ‘x’ O. It’s the overall executives’ leadership of people, organisation and community that transcends their practitioner level education and defined role,” she says.
A true leader, says Coble, is one that leaves others feeling inspired and energised just by a simple conversation, creating moments that matter for each person they interact with in a natural, not forced, style.
“And I can unequivocally say, the virtual world is no different. Leaders need to adopt considered effort to create those serendipitous moments for others and it is our leaders - past and most certainly present - in my career and life so I am passionate about my responsibility to pay forward to others the experience I have had to grow and evolve in my career.
“No matter the path that unfolds before us – the beautiful uncertainty and awakening randomness that is the future – is how we, as leaders, shape the experience for those around us will define our leadership legacy for the future leaders who are watching us even when we don’t think anyone is watching.”