Helping Medivet transform EX and CX

The Challenge

Medivet is a highly successful veterinary business with over 400 practices in the UK and a mission to deliver exceptional care to pets whenever it is needed. Their business is underpinned by a bespoke practice management system (PMS), known as ‘Freedom’, providing a functionally rich service to colleagues across the branch network.

Medivet wished to transform its digital customer experience and upgrade the operational functionality of the system. Legacy technology however stood in the way of making this happen. As a result, a decision was made in 2019 to implement a new PMS by rebuilding the existing system with a modern architecture. Meanwhile shortly afterwards a decision was taken to sell the business within six to nine months.

Step 1: Our ‘As Is’ assessment – separating reality, theory and myth…

With the decision to sell, Partners in Change was engaged to review the flagship ‘Freedom 2’ programme. The programme had been running well over a year and our remit was to provide a fact-based assessment of its status and risk profile, and make recommendations to course correct, improve management controls, improve visibility of progress and establish an industrialised delivery approach capable of realising the agreed outcomes.  Our review identified several key issues:

  • the programme was several steps further back on its delivery journey than was believed. There was a lack of measurement of the right indicators meaning a successful outcome was likely to be many months late.
  • the ‘big bang’ delivery approach would not deliver value to the business quickly. The  lengthy delivery lead time of over two years also resulted in a lack of confidence from the business that the programme would ever deliver the value  it promised.
  • shortcomings were identified in the delivery organisation and maturity of processes that contributed to repeatedly missed milestones.
  • although conceptually the programme technology selection was sound, PiC highlighted significant concerns around the degree to which the solution design articulated how the business vision and outcomes would be achieved.

Step 2: Immediate actions –  initially on the incumbent programme:

  • we established a set of key leading and lagging measures of programme progress providing visibility to all stakeholders meaning decisions were better informed.
  • we re-engineered the end-to-end delivery process, from vision and outcomes, through product requirements, development and delivery back into the business. A key output of this process provided clarity on role for all involved in the programme.
  • Several ‘myths’ emerging from the original (and unchallenged) programme assumptions were dispelled. These included the reality that there was no solution for data replication and the acceptance that there was a sizeable underestimation of the work involved to complete data migration.

Step 3: Laying foundations for future success

The actions outlined in Step 2 resulted in Medivet’s management having a clear view that the programme as structured would take significantly longer to complete at significantly more cost, delivering only like for like functionality. In parallel, PiC’s process and conclusions gained the support of Medivet’s newly appointed CIO who was keen to shift the focus back on to making a material difference quickly for both the individual practices and the business as a whole.

To achieve this, PiC worked closely with the Medivet team to deconstruct the programme and re-engineer the delivery process:

  • we orchestrated a successful proof of concept exercise to confirm that the proposed overhaul of the design of the PMS could be achieved. We then incorporated this change into the delivery roadmap to provide Medivet with a foundation on which to build future change.
  • we rebuilt the product roadmap to provide clarity on which improvements added most value to the business and how they should each be prioritised. This was undertaken jointly with stakeholders from across Medivet, ensuring alignment and buy-in.
  • we re-engineered the delivery ‘factory’ including engagement with third parties to provide specific development and testing capability (with PiC owning the commercial relationship with these third parties whilst the ‘factory’ was established). This provided a repeatable framework for future change resulting in the business now benefitting from functional improvements every 6-8 weeks.
  • we  provided hands-on support to the new CIO, helping to shape a new enduring permanent team structure. This involved PiC assisting  with job specifications, C.V. reviews, interviewing of candidates and onboarding successful applicants.
  • we established an improved governance structure for the management of the change roadmap, achieving improved alignment between IT and  other functions, restoring confidence across the board by improving visibility of change priorities and progress.
  • Our  positive, collaborative and flexible engagement style and general approach significantly improved the culture across the business relating to change by embedding a stronger delivery mindset.

Establishing a positive shift in culture, focus and approach around business change is always challenging.  To achieve this shift PiC introduced a blend of leadership, know-how and ‘learning by doing’ alongside the method, structure and control approach most appropriate to Medivet’s situation and culture preferences.

The Medivet team is now well on course to deliver their digital agenda; the engagement, commitment and overall mood of those involved in change is much improved and the business now has an embedded approach capable of successfully delivering the ‘Freedom 2’ PMS and, crucially, its future change and transformation challenges.


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