September 10, 2020
The IT Conductors: Focus on What You Are Good At, Have Someone Else Do the Rest
As healthcare technology becomes more complex and interdependent, healthcare IT organizations might consider moving focus to enhancing their core competencies and service delivery to end-users. No organization can reasonably expect to have the breadth of skills necessary to architect, build, and manage today’s cloud-integrated, multi-vendor IT environments. In addition to the technical challenges of deploying and integrating technology to serve the needs of your organization, there is the essential task of ensuring your environment is secure.
Healthcare organizations are beginning to realize that their primary core competency needs to be orchestrating the delivery of IT services. It’s like making the switch from crew member to the conductor. IT roles are evolving from “crew” members performing day-to-day tasks, to “conductors” supervising the day-to-day tasks. As difficult as it can be for a system administrator or a network engineer at a hospital to shift their mindset from operating to managing, their real value lies in their knowledge of the hospital’s IT needs and their understanding of how technology can be used to meet those needs, not in their ability to add a server or update a firewall rule.
As important as it is to understand your role in delivering technology to your organization, like a good conductor you must have a plan and a strategy. Too often organizations become awash in disjointed technology through unplanned acquisitions that lead to poor service delivery, complexity, high costs, and low user satisfaction. The IT strategy might include an architectural roadmap with a set of design principles that directly support the business goals of the hospital over a 3 to 5-year horizon. A modern IT strategy might also view IT processes as discrete services or functions and evaluate the TCO (total cost of ownership) of internal builds versus point solutions or cloud sourcing.
The architectural roadmap is used to validate technology and application decisions to minimize technology and application sprawl while ensuring that new technology supports foundational goals for availability, serviceability, security, operational recovery, and disaster recovery. All too often after technology/applications are deployed, the IT department is left scrambling to remediate issues. These remediations become a problem, consuming unplanned time and budget. A key responsibility of being an IT Conductor is effectively managing the make/buy decisions.
When the IT department is asked to deploy a technology to address business needs, the traditional response has been to build a solution. For example, if the hospital needed email services, IT would build the infrastructure, install the email application, and be responsible for its operational integrity. Email is an essential business tool; however, it is not a core competency of a hospital and very few hospitals have a strategic interest in operating a reliable and secure email infrastructure. In today’s service-oriented world, organizations can purchase email as a service, as well a multitude of other technology through Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) through providers with the primary focus of delivering technology as a service that is secure, scalable, and reliable, backed by guaranteed service levels.
The modern hospital IT team can work towards transforming into technology “conductors”, deploying business solutions and services that match their IT strategy and meet their hospital’s goals for availability, serviceability, security, operational recovery, and disaster recovery. One way IT conductors can achieve these goals is to move away from building and maintaining, and toward managing services.
John McDougall is the Director of Professional Services and Consulting at CloudWave. John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.