Think. Implement. Then go back and measure.

FRAMINGHAM (03/18/2004) - When it comes to producing lasting value, CIOs need to be demanding--of themselves, their executive counterparts and their organizations--and committed to asking questions that address doubts about technology's worth and an organization's ability to use IT well. Then, when a project or process starts, it's the CIO who must demand a review to see if the work actually makes a positive difference, says John Glaser, vice president and CIO at Partners HealthCare System Inc. in Boston.

Glaser told IT executives at CIO's Enterprise Value Retreat last month in Sunny Isles, Fla., that "value has to be managed into existence," a process that often takes iterations of effort. He also noted four mandates that CIOs must address.

- Make sure there's a business sponsor champion who will defend an IT-related initiative in front of his peers.

- Establish clear lines of accountability in an organization's leadership for a project's outcome.

- Set numeric business goals that are analyzed thoroughly.

- Perform an audit of the affected business process or project after it's implemented.

"It's really hard to get value, and it's not all that common," Glaser said, adding that there are three ways CIOs can get in the way of value: failing to communicate in terms business executives can understand, accepting the worth of new technologies without enough questioning, and producing projects that fail.

Glaser, whose organization is made up of several Boston-area hospitals, said executives and CIOs need to seek value that goes beyond straight ROI. "It's the context, the intent, the skill of people using it" that is vital to understand, he said. At Partners, the chief medical officer is responsible for health-care quality and champions initiatives to improving care, using IT as a tool. "Make sure those who are responsible are the ones who are defending IT investments," Glaser said.

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