Nearly every industry is undergoing some rapid change driven by the evolution of consumer demands and expectations. How organizations adapt will separate the leaders from the laggards. Operating environments have become more complex, and it is more challenging to sustain competitive advantage.
The health care industry is no different. We have seen growth in more consumer-driven models in addition to the traditional group-centric, employer-focused business model. To embrace these changes, it is essential for organizations to think differently about their IT departments. This requires a shift to an at-scale, agile delivery model instead of the traditional waterfall approach.
CIOs and front-line IT professionals that leverage new ideas and technologies will benefit from a strategy that drives value for the organization, its employees and ultimately, its customers.
IT is no longer an afterthought, but an integral and active influencer of an organization’s success. Thus, CIOs and IT professionals require a new set of skills and capabilities that elevate our role in business strategy, customer relations, and product delivery. This can be done by placing renewed emphasis on developing IT talent, viewing IT as a strategic business partner rather than a passive respondent to ad-hoc requests and adapting to the changing needs of clients.
In this environment, it is our responsibility as technology leaders to bring the latest tech-driven ideas to our companies and influence the overall business strategy.
Talent at the Core of IT Transformation
Talent drives innovation, which is a key to a company’s continued success. We must leverage the talents of existing employees and enable them with the latest processes and systems, while also finding new ways to attract, develop, and retain new IT talent. To achieve this, CIOs should think of themselves as managing talent as much as technology. This includes developing cohesive, high-performing teams that work with strategic business partners to accelerate innovation and develop new capabilities.
"Talent drives innovation, which is a key to company’s continued success"
We know that the newest business currency is data and analytics and skilled workers who can manage these fields will continue to be vital. We also need talent with strong analytical skills and business acumen, as well as communication and relationship building skills. But more importantly, we need passionate IT talent -passion for the work, passion for the company, and passion for improving the lives of our members.
Other attributes of our most successful talent are fearlessness, creativity, and an ability to embrace change. We find that employees who demonstrate these traits are not afraid to offer their own perspective or challenge their colleagues to think in different ways.
Evolving IT into a Strategic Function
CIOs that focus on strengthening relationships with C-suite peers and understanding key business processes across departments are positioned as an integrated partner and not just a silo within our organizations. This will better enable us to combine our knowledge of technology trends with the strategic priorities of our business partners to focus technology investments in the right areas. It also enables us to have more input into business strategy and drive more capabilities with lower administrative costs.
From my perspective, we can expect much more business and consumer fluency within IT, so there will be a tighter integration between technology and other business operations. This interoperability requires us as IT professionals to offer our expertise beyond the technology function. As we no longer operate in a silo, we have a deeper understanding of the overall business and our customers to collectively and holistically elevate the customer experience and build digital capabilities that improve engagement.
One key example at Health Care Service Corporation is the development of our Integrated Care Coordination platform, which brings together health information from a variety of sources to create a holistic picture of the health care needs of our members. Through this centralized platform, our providers can access key data to ensure our members receive the right care at the right place at the right time. This effort currently focuses on our government programs, and it has greatly reduced the manual work required of our care coordinators who interact directly with our members. Clear communication of these business needs has resulted in a solution that improves the experiences of our providers, members, and colleagues.
The more that IT is embedded within each area of the business, the easier it becomes to share data efficiently and effectively throughout the value chain. It also enhances our ability to view the company through multiple lenses – the people, processes, and technology–all of which directly affect our capacity to discover the areas of opportunity to help support our ever-evolving member needs.
Moreover, flexibility and agility are keys to thriving in a rapidly changing environment. As our industry continues to shift, we need to find and implement the newest, most efficient and effective strategies that push the entire business forward. This means applying new, agile delivery models that are more integrated within our business, developing strong partnerships and leveraging new tools to support continuous delivery.
Today’s consumers are more empowered and informed than ever before. The digital environment that exists now has created a demand for immediate access to information and increased transparency in the health care industry. It has also significantly accelerated and enhanced the need for better digital solutions, particularly mobile.
There is a greater need for flexibility and agility at-scale to accommodate the pace of change. As health insurers work with millions of members and hundreds of millions of claims, our ability to analyze data and pivot accordingly becomes instrumental.
At the end of the day, our aptitude to quickly respond to digital advancements, our increased collaboration, and the overall responsiveness of our IT teams are vital to addressing and supporting our members’ needs in sickness and in health.