The CIO is the person in an organization responsible for creating a technology strategy that supports the organization’s goals. More than just the “IT Person”, he or she sits with the executive management team and uses technology to give the organization an undeniable business advantage.
Many organizations see Information Technology or Information Management simply as the computers and the phones. While attractive as a budget line-item because of its low price tag, this view of technology is actually very costly in terms of the opportunity cost of not investing more in technology. Simply put, a deliberate plan for leveraging technology is one of the most cost effective ways for a healthcare organization to “do more mission”. Your CIO should be accountable for creating and delivering on this plan.
The CIO is not the person who spends all of her time fixing desktop computer issues or living in the server room handling all of the emergencies. The CIO is the person who actively participates in the organization’s strategic planning process and is responsible for supporting every department within the organization. The CIO should report to the CEO and be seen as an integral part of the organization’s leadership.
By including a CIO in the executive team, all levels of management will be made aware of what technology is available and will be empowered to participate in using technology to improve the business. It is irresponsible for any organization to leave all of the technological knowledge and decisions solely to the “IT Department”. With the emergence of a quality CIO, the days of the “IT Department” holding the organization “hostage” are numbered and the days of the “IT Partnership” are on the rise.
What to look for in a good CIO:
- They should see the purpose of their role as supporting the organization and the mission – not technology for technology sake.
- They should understand your business just as well as other executives.
- They must be able to communicate well with both executive management and front line staff.
- They must be good at translating “high-tech” speak into terms that all staff can relate to. The ability to create good analogies is important.
- They should be open and honest and willing to admit when things are not going well and a different course should be taken.