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Delivering a world-class digital IT strategy IN ASSOCIATION WITH



HOOPP: delivering a world-class digital IT strategy WRITTEN BY


JAKE MEGEARY w w w.ho op p . com

H E A LT H C A R E O F O N TA R I O P E N S I O N P L A N ( H O O P P )

HOOPP’s Reno Bugiardini discusses how an innovative IT digital transformation strategy has seen the business thrive against COVID-19 disruption


hen Reno Bugiardini and his colleagues reached the culmination of a sweeping, innovative three-year IT strategy at the

end of 2019, the disruption and impact to countless industries worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was still a way off. That plan, which 04

aligned with the broader five-year strategic plan at Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), has driven vast change within the organisation. It was, says Bugiardini, based around three fundamental areas of focus: a cloud-first approach, adopting Agile working methods, and ‘flattening’, through the creation of teams aligned to business groups, a previously hierarchical structure. “Our goal has always been to ensure that we are the single point of contact for the business, and that all departments feel they can come to us with any of their priorities. This is helped by the fact that I report directly to the CEO and am part of the senior executive team, which is not always the case for IT heads in organisations. By giving IT a seat at the executive table, HOOPP ensures that our digital strategy is aligned to the organisation’s strategy.”


w w w.ho op p . com

H E A LT H C A R E O F O N TA R I O P E N S I O N P L A N ( H O O P P )

“From an IT perspective, it’s a new adventure” — Reno Bugiardini, Senior Vice President, Information Technology & Facilities Services, HOOPP

Bugiardini is a driven and highly experienced innovator and leader. He holds the position of Senior Vice President, Information Technology & Facilities Services at HOOPP, a role that sees him responsible for providing strategic vision and direction for IT and facilities services at the organisation. HOOPP is a defined benefit pension

That the strategy was a success,


plan that is tailored to the healthcare

and positioned the organisation well

sector and provides financial security

for years to come, is something of

for industry workers in retirement.

which Bugiardini, who has been with

The organisation’s purpose, says

the business since 2002, is rightly

Bugiardini, is to “deliver on the

proud. That it also placed HOOPP in

pension promise”. To facilitate this,

an enviably strong position to seam-

the IT division has to serve the entire

lessly navigate any potential disruption

organisation and, most significantly

from COVID-19 is remarkable.

two core functions: investment management and pension administration. The latter two are directly responsible for the investing and pension admin respectively, with IT empowering them to do so in the most effective

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07 way. “We’re a world-class IT organisa-

innovative IT organisation that’s

tion that exists to provide and enable

impossible,” he continues. “Each of

innovative solutions and strategies

those three areas – cloud-first, Agile

to the entire business,” he explains,

and the restructuring – gives us the

expanding on the core aspects of the

ability to innovate, to be a flexible

three-year strategy he was tasked

strategic partner and to develop quick

with leading. “The way in which we

proof of concepts for the business

deliver those IT services over the last

when it’s exploring new opportuni-

three years has absolutely evolved –

ties. Take being cloud-first as an

it has to, so as to ensure we maintain

example. Moving over 95% of our

the competitive advantage that differ-

compute infrastructure to the cloud

entiates us in the sector.

gives us a scalability and flexibility

“We exist to deliver the very best

that just wouldn’t be feasible with a

solutions to our business partners,

self-managed data centre, and it means

but if we don’t have a progressive,

we can explore and scale at minimal w w w.ho op p . com

Diane Dale, Senior ObjectSharp Consultant @HOOPP

Product Ideation & UX Design

Cloud-Native Architecture

Serverless Software Development

Embedded Agile & Coaching

DevOps & Orchestration

Automated QA Testing

Security, Data Governance & AI

End-to-End, the Sharpest Minds in Cloud-First Digital Transformation. At ObjectSharp, we have one very speciďŹ c mission: to help you deliver innovative business solutions faster, and with higher quality. True Agile experts, we partner with leading organizations like the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) to imagine, design, build and deploy scalable software solutions that improve their competitive edge.




Driving Digital Transformation With True Agile Delivery at HOOPP HOOPP works every day to build the foundation for a financially secure retirement for Ontario’s healthcare workers. The mission of its IT team is to deliver highvalue, right-sized and timely solutions that enable the plan to deliver its pension promise to its more than 350,000 members. Since 2014, ObjectSharp’s team of senior consultants have worked embedded with HOOPP’s IT teams, helping them navigate change and foster innovation with the right combination of people, processes and products. HOOPP chose ObjectSharp for its unique embedded partnership approach. A true partner, ObjectSharp is not just another consultancy that advises and walks away. ObjectSharp is different. Our culture is one of results-driven partnership; we work embedded with you to identify and provide value where you need it most, coaching your teams in the Agile delivery model as we go. Initially embedded with HOOPP’s Investment Services Group, and then later its Corporate Services and Pension Services groups, ObjectSharp’s team of senior consultants have leveraged their deep knowledge of Agile and expertise in DevOps and the Microsoft Azure Cloud to drive digital transformation by: implementing CI/CD and establishing a true DevOps culture that drives rapid development and faster release cycles; increasing software delivery velocity and quality with sophisticated automated regression testing and reporting solutions; building HOOPP’s first reusable React UI component library, used by HOOPP’s in-house team of investment professionals in their daily management of the plan; using infrastructure as code to reduce help desk ticket response times by 80%; improving data governance and risk management by operationalizing security and privacy policies as code and configuration in the Cloud; and coaching executive leadership and management to lead and succeed with Agile.

“ObjectSharp has been a key partner in our digital transformation over the last 6 years, working embedded within HOOPP to identify and unlock value, solve complex problems, and coach our teams in the Agile delivery model.” - Reno Bugiardini Senior Vice President, Information Technology

End-to-End Capabilities, Full Stack Results As HOOPP’s needs and priorities have changed on its digital transformation journey, ObjectSharp has met them at every step of the way. A full service consultancy, ObjectSharp provides expertise across the entire spectrum of the software development lifecycle. Our capabilities include: embedded Agile and CI/CD automation cloud-native development and architecture DevOps & automated testing AI strategy and machine learning data security and governance

Embedded Expertise, Where It Matters Most Whether it’s building a product, improving a user experience, adopting Agile delivery backed by automation, or transforming your business to realize the promise of the Cloud, ObjectSharp works embedded with you to navigate change and foster innovation. Whether you’re just beginning your digital transformation journey, or face new questions along the path, ObjectSharp’s team of embedded experts are ready to help you lead and succeed with digital and the Cloud. objectsharp.com 1-877-767-4277 @ObjectSharp

H E A LT H C A R E O F O N TA R I O P E N S I O N P L A N ( H O O P P )


cost and meet business needs when

sprints whereas, previously, that just

required. Similarly, now that we’re an

wouldn’t have been attainable for us.”

Agile development shop, we’re much

Naturally, achieving such a tech-

closer to our business partners –

nological transformation relies on

aligned in teams so we can deliver

close collaboration with best-in-

solutions significantly faster and

class partners. Bugiardini is keen to

more accurately. The result is that

highlight two in particular: Thinkwise

our business is leveraging solutions

has been instrumental in our migration

sooner to meet their business needs

to the cloud and the decommission-

and demands. We can leverage

ing of our self-managed data centre,”

the advantages and opportunities

he explains. “They provided consul-

of cloud to very quickly procure-

tation, leadership, and programme

compute and explore new ideas

planning, which made for an overall

and complete tasks in two-week

far more seamless transition. Similarly,

ObjectSharp has been a key partner in

concerns and allow HOOPP to

our digital transformation over the last

continue to deliver on its pension

six years, working embedded within

promise. This ability to continue pro-

HOOPP to identify and unlock value,

viding the highest levels of service

solve complex problems, and coach

was greatly helped by the tireless

our teams in the Agile delivery model.�

work of Bugiardini and his team

Of course, global events this year have created a landscape in which

to deliver that digital strategy. From the challenging transition

traditional approaches to business

to a significant remote working

count for little. As an organisation

programme, through to continuing

HOOPP has responded rapidly, rec-

to serve the needs of the organisa-

ognising the unprecedented change

tion, the scalable, flexible and newly

facing its members and launching

restructured HOOPP business has

a series of measures that address

allowed COVID-19 disruption to be


Reno Bugiardini Title: SVP, Information Technology & Facilities Services Industry: Financial Services Location: Toronto, Canada Reno brings with him more than 25 years of IT leadership experience from various industries. He is an innovative leader focusing on providing his business clients with agile technical solutions that are driven by business requirements, challenges and opportunities. Having a great passion for IT and its dyanmic nature drives Reno, accompanied with his strong client service attitude. This ensures that his team delivers technical solutions aligned with HOOPP’s strategy that are enablers and differentiators to our business. w w w.ho op p . com



Thought provoking leadership with sensible governance

Unleash the potential of cloud for your organization!

dealt with in a remarkably seamless

successfully with few challenges in a

fashion, he recounts. “We’d been

72-hour period borders on the heroic.

closely monitoring the crisis through

The team did a great job that weekend

our Business Continuity Management

and really demonstrated the impor-

programme since early January,

tance of the work we have done.”

considering the impact on our organi-

Indeed, the most noticeable chal-

sation, and modifying operations

lenge – a VPN performance issue

accordingly. It was on 12 March that

– was rapidly dealt with. “We were

we took the biggest step yet – to move

able to procure additional hardware,

to work-from-home for the whole

we spun up another VPN, mobilised

organisation. With more than 700 peo-

our IT team to test it and ensure func-

ple, that’s not a small transition. The

tionality with minimal disruption to the

IT team had practiced before and,

business,” Bugiardini says. “In a tradi-

of course, we had contingency plans,

tional data centre or workspace that

but that they managed to do it

capability simply wouldn’t be possible.

“We’re a world-class IT organisation that exists to provide the very best services to the entire business” — Reno Bugiardini, Senior Vice President, Information Technology & Facilities Services, HOOPP

noted that the transition to the cloud in particular was fortuitous, affording Bugiardini and HOOPP a level of security that, instead of disruption, saw the company effectively in a ‘situation normal’ mode. Technology aside, Bugiardini is a keen proponent of the benefit of flattening the structure within an IT team, a process he describes as critical to the way in which the organisation

Similarly, if we didn’t have that Agile

operates. “You don’t have red tape,”

way of working and our teams organ-

he says, “and that makes everything

ised the way we do, I don’t think we’d

more simple. People and teams are

have been able to achieve what we

empowered to make their own deci-

did to accommodate the business

sions and to take ownership of the

in 72 hours.”

results.” He refers back to the per-

That success is testament to the

formance challenges experienced

effectiveness of Bugiardini’s digital

during that hectic first 72-hour period

vision for HOOPP. Indeed, so water-

as a good example of this. “We had

tight were the deliverables of the

speed and the agility to do whatever

strategy that he somewhat casually

we needed to. There were several

describes the process as “really just moving folks from the physical office to their homes. Because of the infrastructure in place many of the concerns being discussed about such a transition – cybersecurity, for example – just haven’t really been a concern for us”. On that point, it should be w w w.ho op p . com


H E A LT H C A R E O F O N TA R I O P E N S I O N P L A N ( H O O P P )



Year founded

$94.1bn Assets in Cdn dollars


Number of employees

“We can leverage the advantage of cloud to very quickly procure compute and explore new ideas and complete tasks in two-week sprints” — Reno Bugiardini, Senior Vice President, Information Technology & Facilities Services, HOOPP 15 automation and process tasks in that initial period that just happened; no one needed approval to carry out a task, or to ensure they were in sync with the broader thinking of the business. If we weren’t built that way we’d probably still be here debating whether we should deploy another VPN in the cloud or not.” Of course, it would be foolish to state there has been no challenges. However, rather than being technology-related, these have been based around the sheer change management and shifting of workplace culture that every organisation has undoubtedly w w w.ho op p . com

H E A LT H C A R E O F O N TA R I O P E N S I O N P L A N ( H O O P P )


experienced. “Collaboration has

capabilities of certain technologies

always been a big part of how we work

like video conferencing tools, for

at HOOPP, particularly as a result of

example, but there’s positives to that

the teams we have created and the

shift too. It’s refreshing to ‘open up’

technologies that we can now lever-

your personal life to your colleagues –

age. Sure, moving to a working from

whether that’s kids in the background

home environment has meant a ramp

or your dog barking during a meeting

up in terms of understanding the full

– and it’s refocused our perspective

on working from home when we consider future IT and business strategies, for example.” Having reached the culmination of the three-year plan at the end of last year, Bugiardini is naturally already focused on the next step of his digital vision. The changes brought about by COVID-19 have, he says, reorganised the prioritisation of some of the digital initiatives being considered, particularly around the greater automation

refinement rather than anything dras-

of some processes, for example. But,

tic. “Our ability to do business hasn’t

it would seem the success afforded

really changed, we’re just not doing it

by the existing strategy calls for

in the office. There are so many businesses that have had to rethink their

“If we didn’t have that agile way of working and our teams organised the way we do, I don’t think we’d have been able to achieve what we did to accommodate the business in 72 hours” — Reno Bugiardini, Senior Vice President, Information Technology & Facilities Services, HOOPP

entire processes because they’ve previously failed to leverage technology to its fullest. “On the contrary, we’ve been able to scale and to meet demand while delivering services to our members and pensioners – productivity hasn’t dropped at all,” he continues. “The market has been impacted by the volatility, but on our plan operations side, our service delivery levels to members actually improved. And, on that investment management aspect of the business, we were able to give w w w.ho op p . com


H E A LT H C A R E O F O N TA R I O P E N S I O N P L A N ( H O O P P )


“We’ve been able to scale and to meet demand while delivering services to our members and pensioners – productivity hasn’t dropped at all” — Reno Bugiardini, Senior Vice President, Information Technology & Facilities Services, HOOPP

our investment management staff full

stand still. Accordingly, Bugiardini is

computing capability at home right

in the process of forming the next IT

away, and scalability when they need it

blueprint for HOOPP, which will be

through the cloud, to ensure they were

developed in collaboration with busi-

able to adapt to the volatile markets

ness partners. It will, he says, align with

and not miss out on any opportunities.”

the organisation’s broader strategy

Any digital transformation, even

and be built around delivering the high

when it is facing unprecedented

performance culture that is instilled

disruption and uncertainty, doesn’t

in every part of HOOPP.


“This has certainly changed everything,” he explains. “It’s opened up the

strategy in place to continue to absolutely succeed at that.”

opportunity to hire the very best talent from around the world – there are fewer barriers to business now. From an IT perspective, it’s a new adventure that is now about us serving and supporting 700 internal clients remotely and we have the infrastructure and w w w.ho op p . com

1 YORK STREET SUITE 1900 TORONTO ON M5 J 0B6 CANADA T 416 6 46 6 4 45 www.hoopp.com


Profile for Business Chief USA

Hoopp - June 2020  

Hoopp - June 2020  

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