What to expect from an interim CIO

I am now networking for my next opportunities and need to update my resume. This week someone offered to make an introduction for me and asked me to send a current one. So I did a quick pass and canstockphoto11333368added a section for my interim CIO engagement at University Hospitals.

I went right to my CIO focus areas that I had documented back in week 5. I added a few more focus areas a month ago, in response to some new needs.  Good news; with the help of my IT leadership team I either finished or made great progress on all of them.

Interim CIOs can just keep the seat warm and make sure things are running smoothly. Or they can be change agents who shake things up. Or they may help set a new strategy and direction for the permanent CIO to execute.

Basically, University Hospitals wanted an experienced CIO with a fresh perspective to run IT while helping to find the next permanent CIO. The work has been a combination of operations and consulting. Operations means a lot of meetings, long days and plenty of issues. Consulting means there’s an opportunity to look at things differently and make incremental improvements.

Highlights of my focus areas and what’s been accomplished in a relatively short time:

  • Assisting with CIO search: Done! Joy Grosser starts September 12th.
  • Stabilizing production environment: We’ve made good progress but there is more to do.
  • Strengthening core vendor relationships: We’ve been able to create more effective partnerships.
  • Hiring two VPs: We promoted two directors who bring significant experience and organizational knowledge to their new roles.
  • Establishing executive level IT governance: This has been a success story because the organization was very ready for it!
  • Planning for integration of 5 newly acquired hospitals: We are developing detailed project, budget and staffing plans.
  • Providing direction and oversight to business intelligence and analytics plan: As in many organizations, this is a huge area of need. We’ve made great progress on an overall roadmap while meeting short term needs for increased reporting to support strategic initiatives.
  • Providing direction to several new initiatives including virtual health, digital strategy, and digital workplace: This has been some of the more fun stuff but it is not without challenges as we move into new areas and determine the right level of investments to make.
  • Introducing lean in IT with the establishment of leadership huddles and visual management board: The team is on the lean journey and seeing the value of these initial steps.
  • Sponsoring the Value Improvement Program (VIP) initiative for IT to reduce costs: It’s early yet but we are working as a team to identify cost savings opportunities over the next few years.
  • Creating a more effective community hospital support model: It has taken longer than I’d expected to do a systematic analysis, but we are close to agreeing on recommendations.
  • Ensuring IT organizational alignment with the business: It’s all about relationships and staying close to your customers.
  • Providing direction to data center and disaster recovery planning: We already had work in progress but a recent system-wide outage due to a power issue has shined a bright light here.

Like my team, I’m tired. The pace is fast at UH – it’s an organization that gets a lot done in a short time. I’m results focused so I love that! Better than endless meetings swirling on issues and many months to make decisions.

I’ve encouraged my leaders to take their vacations this summer and truly check out when they are away. There are plenty of smart people back at the office to handle things.

It’s time for my break! As the summer comes to an end, I’m finally taking a few days off for a four-day weekend – no work, no unpacking boxes, no talking to contractors about house projects. My husband has already said I have to leave my briefcase in the car when we get to where we’re staying.

Related posts: Interim management is different, Get started by asking the right questions

4 thoughts on “What to expect from an interim CIO

  1. Beverly on said:

    Awesome progress!
    You definitely brought much needed change and new perspective to the organization!
    Enjoy your 4 days!

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