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Bringing the Focus on Interoperability and Collaboration
By Tom Basiliere, CIO, Provant
Tom Basiliere, CIO, Provant
1. How would you describe the role of a CIO today?
a. Today’s CIO spends as much time finding ways to grow business as he or she does managing information technology. A good CIO is a business executive first, who makes decisions based on the strategic and tactical goals of the company.
b. Another key role of the CIO is to create an atmosphere that attracts and retains good technical talent. There is so much competition for technology resources today that even if you have the best strategy and best technology roadmap, you can’t implement it without the right people who know how to collaborate and work with new technologies. Today’s CIO is dealing with more technology changes than I’ve seen in the last 30 years. The mere fact that technology is changing is nothing new. What is new is the impact of recent changes. For instance, a company who moves application hosting into Azure or AWS could resolve disaster recovery, high availability, scalability and information security all in one move. You don’t need large amounts of up front capital or a lot of time to dramatically change your value to clients and your position in the market. Another example is mobile-ready products. The reach and engagement you can get simply from being available on mobile devices is unlike anything we’ve seen in the first 40 years of computer technology. Also, the lines are blurring between what we’ve thought of as “consumer” technology vs “business” technology.
"The real future of healthcare is to create and maintain optimal well-being and avoid threats to each aspect of well-being before issues arise"
2. How can the CIOs make their business counterparts think differently about the importance of IT?
a. I think this is getting easier. People in all areas of business are more tech savvy than they’ve ever been, so they know they need good technology to do their jobs. CIOs get challenged more today from their business partners on everything from mobile technology to use of cloud storage. Everyone knows IT is important but they need to be shown that IT is relevant. The CIO needs input from all areas and levels of management in the business. Since most products sold today have a technical component, the CIO can either own the CTO/Product Development role or at least have a heavy influence on those areas.
b. What hasn’t changed is that if a CIO doesn’t deliver, business counterparts won’t support spending more on IT. In fact, Distributed IT still lives in many forms and more technology decisions are being made outside of IT than ever before.
3. As the technology sphere evolves with each passing day, what are some of the latest trends that are gripping your mind?
a. One trend which gets a lot of time and money is security, meaning protecting data and improving overall information security. Cloud computing, infrastructure as a service and IoT are all raising questions like “Who is really protecting my data?” Cyber threats, ransomware attacks and other risk-aversion work take up a lot of time and money. The focus on managing risk is increasing every day, so clients, vendors and partners all want to know that we are doing everything we can to protect data and keep ahead of the threat curve.
b. Another trend that shows huge opportunity is the connectedness of just about everything we use. Everyone has a computer in their pocket that’s always connected and has more processing power than the first Apollo spacecraft. Wearables, home automation technology and just about everything else we use are connected and can be controlled from anywhere. Finding ways to leverage the connection in a meaningful and safe way is incredibly challenging and very exciting.
4. Which growing or future technology innovation are you personally excited about?
a. Augmented Reality (AR), autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence. All have huge potential to improve the way we work and live but also come with big challenges around privacy of personal information. In the near future, we’ll see a lot of chaos as people try to find ways to use these technologies in safe and effective ways. Eventually I think we will make big improvements in how we deliver healthcare and how we attack other big social challenges by tying information together in the right way. Integrating the home, mobile and work experience through things like the Amazon Echo and Google will connect all the places we spend time.
b. The real future of healthcare is to create and maintain optimal well-being and avoid threats to each aspect of well-being before issues arise. That will take better monitoring and early, technology-driven, intervention. We are getting closer to having the tools to truly lower costs in the U.S. and improve well-being around the world by using the technologies we are developing now.
5. How can the evolving technologies help Provant to overcome the challenges?
a. Finding ways to personalizing a person’s well-being journey is at the foundation of everything we do. It’s not easy but it’s critical. We aren’t in the business of population health, we’re in the business of individual well-being and that starts with providing tools and information to deal with your personal well-being challenges. The line between traditional healthcare, delivered by physicians and hospitals, and proactive well-being services is blurring more and more.
b. Understanding that we need to partner and integrate with companies of all shapes and sizes to build a broad, deep, wellness solution is critical. The days of solving every aspect of health and well-being independently are over. Technologies and services that are more open, more mobile-enabled and more information-rich are helping us do this. Companies like Provant who are focused on interoperability and collaboration can make the biggest impact.