Outside eyes can help

A year ago, I was asked by a University CIO to participate in an External Advisory Committee on Information Technology. At that point, I was just finishing up the interim CIO engagement at University canstockphoto47150931Hospitals and launching a new HIT advisory firm, StarBridge Advisors. I asked the CIO “why me” and considered the time commitment. I said yes.

This week I attended the second half day in-person meeting of the committee. The first was a few days before I started the interim CIO engagement at Stony Brook Medicine in March.

These commitments to other organizations take time: time to review extensive materials in advance, travel and connecting flights, and in-person meetings.

But they are a win-win.

I learn and they learn. I am impressed with this CIO and his IT leadership team as I have gotten to know them. I am impressed with the support and engagement they have been able to garner from the Chancellor and Provost. I am impressed with my colleagues on the committee – a mix of university CIOs and IT business leaders. And I’m impressed with the ambitious, multi-year roadmap to replace their financial, HR and student administration systems with a new, integrated solution.

While my IT experience is in healthcare, I have worked in academic medical centers and collaborated with university IT teams. Financial and HR systems are universal across industries. But I have not gone this deep, before, into the unique systems of the higher education sector. I’m learning that student administration systems have some of the same complexities and challenges that electronic health records have in my world.

Of course, IT implementations regardless of industry and domain have many common components. Addressing a current state that is fragmented, self-developed, and highly customized with proven, integrated vendor solutions is not new to me. The many decisions involved in data conversions and archive strategies, the establishment of robust data governance, the inclusion of change management throughout the project – these are all components that we in IT know are fundamental to success. Continue reading