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WNS’ Healthcare Business & Approach to Transformation

 

Dozens of influencers recently attended the WNS U.S. Influencer Day in New Orleans, where the theme was 'Co-create to Outperform’. Through general overviews of its approaches and through client presentations, the company provided insight into its recent success and its future plans. The backdrop for the conference was cheery, buoyed by 7% annualized growth over the prior fiscal year.

Here I look at a couple of highlights from the event,  focusing on WNS’ healthcare business and at its approach to business transformation generally.

Healthcare domain expertise

HealthHelp, a company WNS acquired in September 2017, has become the central pillar of WNS’ healthcare business. HealthHelp was likely much larger (NelsonHall estimates >$40m in revenue) than the extant WNS healthcare segment business at the time, hence it is likely HealthHelp became the core around which WNS organized the rest of its healthcare business. Potential integration problems seem to have been avoided by granting HealthHelp a long leash; HealthHelp remains branded as “HealthHelp, a WNS Company”. Both the acquired and the acquiring companies appear to be learning from each other. The broader WNS business may be adopting some of HealthHelp’s approaches to supporting services with proprietary software. HealthHelp’s proprietary software platform reportedly supports the stickiness of its services, and WNS is contemplating ways in which it can further support client services in other verticals using similar proprietary software platforms.

Houston, TX-based HealthHelp provides the foundation for healthcare revenue that is now approaching or exceeding 15% of total WNS revenue. The healthcare vertical anticipates double-digit growth in 2019. WNS’ “non-denial” clinical services enable payers to support providers within its network to provide optimal, cost-effective care. WNS facilitates educational, supportive interactions that enhance provider satisfaction rather than a confrontational or abrasive interaction that degrades provider satisfaction. WNS does this by bringing expert staff from its network of clinical specialists at academic medical centers into conversation with its providers in order to resolve cases that have been determined by the payer or by WNS to be inappropriate for any reason, clinical or economic.

The company’s value proposition and strategy appear directionally unchanged, although more may develop in this regard following the recent promotion of Kariena (Zacharski) Greiten to the role of CEO for HealthHelp. Prior to this promotion, Greiten had been Chief Product Officer at Magellan Healthcare.

Transformation approach

The Co-Creation theme of the conference (and of WNS marketing) was expounded by WNS executives such as Adrian McKnight, EVP of Transformation and Quality, who said “We look to be a transformation partner rather than an outsourcing partner.”

WNS believes that perspectives on outsourcing are maturing. Initially, potential clients may consider outsourcing a piece of the value chain. But if they don’t begin with an end-to-end analysis of what the business could deliver to the end user, they begin to ask “What is beyond the KPIs of the outsourcing contract? What are the broader operating and business models required to facilitate the customer journey?” Then companies realize they are looking to buy transformation, not outsourcing. While outsourcing can be an aspect of a solution, it may not be the core requirement.

Domain expertise such as that which WNS offers through HealthHelp creates opportunities for WNS to take a seat at the table in discussions with clients on how to realize digital transformation. An intimate understanding of a healthcare payer’s organization helps immeasurably as WNS assesses the potential for transformation.

The iterations required to plan, build and implement client solutions rely on good collaborative practices, which, in turn, are founded on IT agile methodology. In WNS’ view, IT “agile” has matured to become a more holistic set of practices that integrate the functional needs of the client organization from all areas, not just IT. WNS claims to focus heavily on this broader view of the strategic position of its clients because culture and the speed of agility depend on this contextualized perspective. These eventually drive IT development projects and outsourcing contract requirements.

As WNS works through business problems with clients towards appropriate solutions, the ultimate success of WNS Co-Creation relies on the relevance and meaningfulness of its capabilities. Speed is also of primary significance. Whether those capabilities are supplied internally by the WNS enterprise or via its network of partners, WNS aspires to remove friction and increase the speed at which it can cycle through iterations, particularly in the implementation phase of a Co-Creation experience.

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