In 1996, a book came out – Reinventing the CFO: Moving from Financial Management to Strategic Management – that caught my attention and changed my thinking. It was written from a very general perspective about what organizations would need in the future from their CFOs. What struck me at the time was how managed care financing (and the move away from cost-plus thinking) had created the same demand for strategic thinking in health and human service organizations. Our team applied that concept to develop a prototype for CFOs specific to the field – Reinventing The CFO: The Enhanced Role Financial Officers Play In A Shifting Market, Critical Roles for the CFO in Times of Economic Crisis: Four Key Initiatives to Steer Your Organization Through Rocky Times, and The New Role Of The CFO In Behavioral Health And Social Services: Evolving Financial Management Role Driven By Changes In External Environment.
With the many changes in technology, I think we’re well on our way into the need to reinvent another position – the chief information officer or CIO. A new survey out from Harvey Nash/KPMG, CIO Survey 2016 Healthcare Sector Findings, indicates that many organizations are now recognizing the limitation of their own CIOs:
- 80% of health care organizations feel that the role of the CIO is becoming more strategic, compared to 67% of all industries
- Health care organizations are less likely to have a digital business strategy, within business units or enterprise-wide, than the all industries average (50% vs. 58% for all industries)
- Many organizations noted a CIO skills shortage for analytics (45%), project management (36%), change management (30%), and security and resilience (29%)
I think these stats tell an interesting tale – many organizations are recognizing that they need to be more strategic with their data and analytics, but they are short on both a strategy and a “strategic CIO” with all the requisite skills needed for the job today.
And this shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. CIOs used to focus primarily on the computing infrastructure, hardware, software, and staff training the organization needed to conduct business. They were network managers and managers of billing software. Many of today’s CIOs are these former “techies” that have worked up through the ranks and earned a management role. While understanding the “nuts and bolts” of technology still plays a big part of a CIOs project management portfolio, the “strategic” piece of using data needs to grow.
What do the requisite skills look like? To answer that question, I reached out to OPEN MINDS senior associate Sharon Hicks, who noted:
When I started my career in behavioral health, in the early 1980s, most public sector entities didn’t have a CIO. Instead there was often a Director of Information Systems whose job was assure that internal operations, most associated with billing and revenue functions, ran smoothly. As electronic health records proliferated, that role evolved to include integration of these new clinical systems with existing systems. The job during that period was extremely technical and focused on system integration as well as the monumental tasks of legacy system integration/connectivity, communications network infrastructure, system selections, and getting non-technical clinicians to agree to computer use in their daily work.
However, in the current “world” of 2016, with the ubiquity of personal computing devices, access to wireless network services, and end-user comfort with the use of many types of computing devices, the role of the CIO must be expanded well beyond day-to-day IT operations. The new role for the CIO is as a member of the senior executive management team whose focus is on assuring that the mission of the organization can be supported in the most efficient and effective manner. This means that the CIO must have a deep understanding of the emerging trends in the industry, and be able to project what types of IT, connectivity, and data management needs are coming.
For more on equipping your executive team with the tech skills they need, check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:
- Tech Skills Not Just For The IT Department
- “Growing” The Tech-Savvy Staff You Need
- CEOs & Digital Strategy – How Do You Stack Up?
- Reinventing The CIO
- The ‘Five-Step Formula’ For Making Data-Driven Decisions
Before you can transform your organization to one that focuses on the tech and data strategies you need to succeed, you need to transform the executive handling those strategies. Stay tuned as the OPEN MINDS team unpacks more of the challenges surrounding your tech and data strategies at the upcoming 2016 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute on November 10 and 11. (In particular, don’t miss the session, “Cognitive Computing & Big Data: How They Will Shape The Future Of Care Delivery” with Craig Rhinehart, Director, IBM Watson Health Innovation and Market Development, IBM Watson Health). And, if you can’t join us next week, be sure to follow us on Twitter @OpenMindsCircle – #OMTechnology.