ICT saves lives!

By Pim Schouten

In 2013, Sanquin faced a major change in its entire ICT landscape. The ICT department was tasked with improving the company's ICT by realizing higher quality, higher customer satisfaction, lower costs and also more innovation. This required replacing all of the company's ICT - equipment, networks, printers, workstations. Because all in all this would be a complex change, Sanquin was the first to look for an independent strategic consultant who could support it in this change. In 2013, Sanquin chose Highberg as its strategic partner to help realize this complex change.

ICT redt levens!

As a strategic partner, Highberg supports Sanquin in all aspects of setting up and managing ICT services. "That happens within Sanquin's ICT department, but also relates to the cooperation with the rest of the organization and the management of suppliers," says Pim Schouten, who is responsible for providing services to Sanquin from Highberg.

Complex organization

The biggest challenge in changing the ICT landscape is the fact that Sanquin is a complex organization. Many people know Sanquin from the Blood Bank, but this is only one of the companies within the group. Much scientific research also takes place within Sanquin and, among other things, drugs are developed that are sold nationally and internationally.

Koenraad Bruins, CIO of Sanquin: "Each part of the company places different demands on ICT. The production of medicines, for example, is subject to minute supervision by controlling government organizations. That supervision makes it complex to just change anything about the ICT landscape, because there are heavy requirements that you have to keep meeting."

On the other hand, there is the Blood Bank, where quality and reliability are hugely important. ICT saves lives here! Schouten: "Everything concerning the donor blood is registered and recorded: who the blood comes from, what blood group it is, how much blood is involved, where the blood goes. This is a process in which nothing can go wrong. Scientists, on the other hand, place completely different demands on ICT; for example, they want to be able to install applications themselves or store and process large amounts of data. Those interests are almost at odds with the Blood Bank's ICT, but it all happens in the same ICT environment and the same building. That makes changing the ICT a considerable challenge."

From replacement to innovation

Meanwhile, the ICT within Sanquin has been replaced and renewed. Sanquin is now able to take the next step: using technology as an enabler for innovation. This must manifest itself in digitalization of business operations, modern ICT services and online communication with target groups. These include donors, hospitals, business partners and own employees. Digital communication with donors means, for example, making appointments digitally and accessing information through a portal. In Sanquin's vision, digitization is important for recruiting and retaining donors.

Koenraad Bruins, Sanquin's CIO: "ICT plays a major role in Sanquin's processes. Quality of information provision and availability of information are crucial for Sanquin's important work. With Highberg's help, our ICT is now ready to support renewal of the organization and we can focus on innovation, for example in digital communication with our donors."

Schouten: "I like the fact that Sanquin's ICT has made great improvements in recent years. Both in terms of technology and the processes involved. Sanquin saves many lives every year by ensuring that the right blood is available safely and on time in Dutch hospitals for patients who need donor blood. We help set up and provide reliable, secure and innovative ICT so that the organization can function optimally. I am very proud that Highberg advises a socially relevant organization like Sanquin on strategic ICT issues."

Want to know more? Please contact Pim Schouten.