The role of the CIO is changing. One of the ways in which this change is evident in the healthcare industry is through the transformation of the technology purchasing process. According to Gartner, CIOs going forward will be more deeply involved in differentiating technology and managing the flow of information in the context of customer interactions to foster better engagement.1 This can provide real value to the organization beyond the scope of the CIO role of the past. Last month, Black Book Market Research released a survey that showcased a significant shift in the technology purchasing decision-making process, showing that these decisions have shifted away from the CIO to the line of business management teams.2 This is due in part to the move by many healthcare companies toward a more decentralized technology management approach.
As a result, line of business executives are expected to have more technical expertise themselves, and CIOs are taking a more consultative, advisory role. The good news is that many lines of business executives have a real desire to better understand what technology can do for their business and how it can apply to their roles as more general managers. Many of the CIOs interviewed for the Black Book survey noted an increase in both interest and influence of their business counterparts in how technology can help drive both increased efficiency as well as new revenue-generating opportunities.
Of course, good CIOs were never making siloed, unilateral decisions about technology purchasing. Line of business stakeholders, the IT team, and executive management was often part of any significant technology purchase decisions. While world-class IT delivery management is certainly still a given, CIOs are now shifting their roles to also focus on:
Educating business counterparts on technology, security, and data privacyLeading integration and information management initiativesExploring new ways to exploit dataIdentifying and capturing digitalization opportunities, and other ways to drive and accelerate business growth, efficiency, and customer experience improvementsMentoring and developing talent and future leaders
Fostering innovation and being a change leader
At XIFIN, we interviewed more than a dozen of our clients in the fall of 2018. Our findings support the Black Book and Gartner research study results. In fact, we found that some of the best performing diagnostic providers have already embraced this transformation in the CIO role. In these organizations, the business unit executives are working with CIOs to evolve their business strategy and discussing how the IT strategy can enable and in some cases accelerate their plans in areas such as patient engagement, new business models, and how informatics can support strategic business objectives.
Transformation of the CIO role is good news for healthcare CEOs and other business executives. Today’s CIOs need to be nimble, strategy-oriented executives with more focus on business goals than ever before—helping the business grow revenue, digitally enabling the customer journey, and integrating acquisitions with the customer experience in mind. The modern CIO can be valued strategic partners to both the executive team and the line of business owners. They can help the business prioritize what technology initiatives are undertaken. As Fletcher Previn, the CIO of IBM told the Wall Street Journal in December, “Often what we decide not to do is just as important as what we sign up to do.”3
Of course, it’s also still important for CIOs to stay on top of technology trends so they can help their business counterparts decipher what’s real from what is a fad, and CIOs remain an important guiding force in adapting to changing business priorities and new technologies.
Healthcare and diagnostics CEOs can benefit from this transformation in the CIO role. Modern, cloud-based and SaaS solutions mean CIOs can free up time that used to be spent delivering IT capabilities and focus on broader initiatives that have ma ore revenue-generating impact for the organization.