Stack Digital Case Study:
St John

St John New Zealand logo

St John serves communities throughout New Zealand by delivering an extensive range of essential healthrelated services and products, including the frontline of medical response in the way of paramedic and ambulance emergency services. They are New Zealand’s most trusted not-for-profit organisation, meaning they rely on donations to deliver the highly skilled and respected service that Kiwis have come to expect.

St John is on a journey towards becoming a truly integral part of New Zealand’s community healthcare solution of the future. Part of this journey includes how they can best empower their staff to manage and consume information, and improve internal communication.

The challenge

St John is staffed by over 17,000 passionate New Zealanders who consist of both permanent staff and volunteers spread right around the country. Included in this is over 9000 volunteers ranging from youth right through to senior citizens, with a varying degree of technology know-how and quality of connectivity using a range of devices.

With such a wide span of users, document management, knowledge management and internal communication has been challenging. These users needed to be able to access information on operational and HR policies, learning tools, departmental documents, and company-wide communications, all from whatever location they are at, whatever device they use.

The Hub – the central intranet source of all information about St John, policy, communications and documents – was outdated, and did not meet user needs, some users couldn’t access it and it did not provide mobile functionality. This meant many were creating alternate solutions such as Facebook pages in order to be able to collaborate with each other. They also found it frustrating to search, change, add and remove information in order to ensure version control.

  • Significant numbers of users that ranged in age, technical capability, devices that they use, personal email addresses as identifiers and dispersed geographical location
  • No mobile access to the Hub, or access outside of the domain
  • Users were seeking out alternative solutions such as Facebook, with security concerns
  • Little to no ability to collaborate within teams, across teams or with external users
  • Dispersed document & knowledge management environment
  • Difficult to search & retrieve accurate information
  • Push communication – difficult for staff to respond back to the business or management
  • Needing to meet individual needs, with limited application sprawl

How Stack Digital helped

St John users wanted to be empowered to communicate and consume information in a more personal and social manner, and have the confidence in the tools that the right information was reaching the right people. Team or individual self-management of this information flow, combined with a secure IT governance and support policy, would also allow for a more personal and relevant user experience.

St John’s CIO, Cameron Brill, had a big job to do so he approached Stack Digital (formerly known as Techspace Digital) as he knew their track record for independent advice that challenged the norm was exactly the approach he needed. Stack Digital consultants worked closely with the two project co-owners, IT and communications, over a condensed 8-week timeframe to provide Brill with the recommendations he needed.

The scope included;

  • Understand what document and knowledge management is and how it can best be implemented in the St John environment. Define a desired target state for St John.
  • Collate and capture the current state and future business user requirements as they relate to communication, knowledge and document management.
  • Identify areas of improvement that relate to the current state.
  • Identify and provide a high-level view of suitable technology options to support user requirements

Stack Digital quickly engaged passionate groups of St John’s staff via multiple surveys to identity the three key areas for review;

  • Knowledge management
  • Document management
  • Communication

With these highly-engaged users, Stack Digital identified the desired state that they needed including;

  • Providing a two-way social communication platform, structure around individual users
  • Business driven core technology solutions for knowledge & document management, supported with fit for purpose applications as needed for specific user groups
  • Mobility & access from any device and location
  • An effective search engine

With this desired state in mind, Stack Digital recommended a scaleable range of customer first approaches for St John that separated out the delivery of software solutions for communication, knowledge and document management.


  • Users need mobility & access from any device and location
  • Business driven technology solutions – fit for purpose approach, not one fits all
  • Provide a two-way communication platform, structured around individual user
  • Collaboration tools that enable teams
  • Separation of knowledge and document management
  • Effective search engine
  • A good user experience that is intuitive to use, little to no training
  • Incremental roll out of groups. Learn, adapt and apply

The results

With recommendations in place, St John is now in the roll out phases of knowledge management and document management solutions, with the communications layer aimed for mid 2018.

By engaging with Stack Digital, St John has been provided with all the independent information they needed to have confidence in their decisions – not only that all technical capability avenues have been explored, but importantly, from a user’s perspective, that wide engagement has taken place.

The vision is one of a technology partnership between ICT and the individual that embraces change, diversity of user requirements and inclusive solutions to technology.

What our clients say

St John users wanted to have confidence in the tools, that the right information was reaching the right people