Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Roles I Play

As 2014 begins, I marvel at the evolution of the CIO role from 1997 to 2014.   Gone are the days when my role was to serve as technical expert, configuring web servers, optimizing data bases, or simplifying code.   Gone are the days when product decisio nmaking depended on software architecture expertise to ensure scalability, reliability and security.   Gone are the early wins of the "bold moves" like replacing Lotus Notes with Exchange, Novell with NT, Sybase with Microsoft SQL, and client/server with web applications.

Here are a few examples of the roles I play today from the past few weeks

1.  Rethinking a challenging project by ensuring all stakeholders understand the key roles/responsibilities assigned during project formation i.e.

Defining the business champion
Defining the executive sponsor
Defining the role of IT
Defining the role of the project manager
Defining the support model
Defining the responsibility for creating, managing, and maintaining interfaces
Assigning responsibility for workflow/process definition
Assigning responsibility for vendor relationship management
Writing the governance committee charter
Defining the communication plan for internal and external customers
Defining unit testing and integrated testing responsbilities
Defining the training/education plan

2.   Convening local government and provider stakeholders to agree on a single approach for public health reporting that aligns meaningful use stage 2 requirements, healthcare information exchange timelines, and affordable care act planning.   We needed consensus on scope, timing, and technical details so that local government efforts are complementary rather than competitive to the regulatory "must dos" of 2014

3.  Presenting the BIDMC Enterprise IT strategy to senior leaders of the hospital and professional groups, so that all stakeholders understand the options, the decisions make thus far, and linkage between business requirements/IT tactics.

4.  Serving as master of ceremonies for the statewide health information exchange public demonstration, ensuring all involved institutions were showcased to highlight their strengths.

5.  Assisting with the development of new policies and procedures such as those involving privacy, healthcare information exchange and use of social media in healthcare

In 2014, the my work role has evolved to convener, communicator, mediator, navigator, and load balancer instead of technician, architect, programmer, informatician, and clinical expert.    Not that the evolution is bad.  In the modern era, we all have about 5 careers in our lives.  What's amazing to me is how many careers I can have without changing my position as CIO!

I recently wrote a column for Information Week, Boiling the Frog describing some of the challenges all CIOs face as their roles evolve.   As we begin 2014, I have the recovery time afforded by the holidays behind me and I'm approaching my role with new optimism.   The chaos and stress of 2013 is behind me.    I'm ready to thrive as I focus on using my evolving skills to make those who report to me as successful as possible.

Over the holidays I completed two books which will be published in the next few weeks, codifying everything I've learned in my CIO roles over the past 20 years.   One is a 400 page edited, revised, and indexed reflection on the themes of my blog.    I'll be doing a book signing at HIMSS.  The other is a 250 page fictional thriller co-written with a prominent Italian healthcare system CIO and containing many elements inspired by the IT events I've experienced over the past few years.   More to come as they are published in paper and e-book form.


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