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The top 5 modernization concerns for CIOs (and how to address them)

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the CIO of a healthcare company over a virtual coffee chat. As we delved into the latest buzz around IT modernization, her insights painted a vivid picture of a sector on the brink of transformative change. She described walking through the newly renovated ward of their flagship hospital, not excited by the fresh paint or modern art, but by the new tablets in the hands of her nursing staff, seamlessly updating patient records with a few taps.

She recalled an enlightening conference call with fellow healthcare CIOs, where they shared a collective epiphany—telehealth, once an accessory, has burgeoned into a cornerstone of patient care, as crucial as the stethoscope draped around a doctor's neck. But she was quick to temper optimism with caution, emphasizing the real power of technology is achieved when you put it in the hands of the right people.

As technology continues to advance, organizations of all types are facing the inevitable drive to modernize and move to the cloud. However, this transition can bring up several concerns for leaders and CIOs. Because of sensitive data and cyber concerns, some of these issues are exacerbated in the healthcare industry , but not only. In this article, we will discuss the top 5 concerns we have heard from CIOs and provide some ways to address them.

1. Unknown Cloud Risks

One of the biggest concerns surrounding migration to the cloud is the unknown. There are many factors to consider, including cost, staffing, ROI and security. This uncertainty can cause apprehension among IT and business leaders. However, thorough planning and open communication can help alleviate these concerns. By understanding the benefits of modernization and how disruptions can be minimized, leaders can feel more confident in their decision to move to the cloud, whether it’s public, private, or hybrid multi-cloud.

2. Cost Concerns

Cost is always top of mind for businesses and organizations — especially those dealing with tight financial constraints. The cloud is a long-term commitment, and there can be a lack of understanding about the ongoing costs of modernization. However, there are many tools and programs available to help offset these costs, such as smart provisioning and need-based elasticity. These tools can help adjust costs and services based on actual need, rather than guessing and purchasing hardware up-front. Additionally, for healthcare organizations, some have been able to offset their cybersecurity premiums by moving to the cloud.

3. Security

Data protection is of the utmost concern for all CIOs. Cybercriminals are constantly upping their game and looking for ways to breach enterprise systems — to either steal data for malicious purposes or hold it for ransom . However, in healthcare specifically, data is one of the most valuable and sensitive types of information that can be stored online. It contains personal, medical and financial information details that can be used for identity theft, fraud, blackmail, phishing and other harmful activities.

According to Security Intelligence, the average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million, yet the average cost of a healthcare data breach was the highest among all industries — at $10.93 million. Healthcare has seen a significant cost increase of 53.3% over the past three years. (Security Intelligence Articles – Cost of a data breach 2023: Healthcare industry impacts)

As technology continues to advance, organizations of all types are facing the inevitable move to the cloud. However, this transition can bring up several concerns for leaders and CIOs.

4. Staffing and Training

A common modernization dilemma that IT leaders encounter is how to get the right people for your business, and whether you should hire outside experts or teach your own team. It’s a complex question that depends on factors such as the size, scope and goals of the migration, your staff’s skills and capabilities, the project budget and timeline, and the availability and quality of outside experts. Training the staff can be beneficial for building internal expertise, enhancing employee engagement and reducing long-term dependency on external vendors. However, training can also be costly, time-consuming, and ineffective if the staff lack the necessary background, motivation or support to learn new skills and technologies.

Hiring outside experts can help access specialized knowledge, accelerate the migration process, and mitigate risks and challenges. However, hiring can potentially be expensive or disruptive.

  • For most companies, the optimal approach probably combines both training and hiring, and finding the right balance requires a few important steps:
  • Conduct a cloud readiness assessment to assess your current IT infrastructure, applications, data, security and governance maturity, and determine the migration scope and objectives.
  • Perform a skills analysis to assess the current and future skills required — and to identify gaps where training or hiring is needed.
  • Design a training plan that includes learning objectives, methods, resources and metrics, then select the right training providers and platforms.
  • Develop a hiring plan that defines roles, responsibilities, qualifications and expectations for outside experts, and select the suitable vendors and partners.
  • Implement an organizational change management plan that enables communication, collaboration and integration between internal and external staff, and monitors the progress and outcomes of the migration.

5. Data Integration and Interoperability

This is another topic that comes up frequently with cloud migration. It’s common for organizations, especially large health systems, to have hundreds of redundant applications. They're all ready-made applications and they need special care. You can't just go in, lift something, move it to another data center and *poof* you're modernized. The same applies to interoperability and the data platform.

When we integrate data sets and ensure they can be accessed with the same quality and reliability from all our applications, we are essentially equalizing data availability. This means every part of the organization has equal access to the vital data shared across these applications. You want to think of the big picture. You want to have everything at the same level of reliability in its own bubble, so that if anything ever happens, you still can have the same uninterrupted access to your information, your same level of interoperability and that seamless access that you built from the start.

Modernization and cloud migration is a complex undertaking, regardless of your industry. We understand that the process can seem overwhelming and you may have many questions, but we’re here to assist you. With years of migration experience, we have the tools to make it possible. To see how we can help, see past success, or just start the conversation, read here.

For those of you in the healthcare industry, check out how the Power of Three can transform your organization.

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About Bob Dillenschneider
North America RBU Chief Technology Officer, Healthcare & Life Sciences
Bob has a 30+ year track record of leadership and proven results within the public and private sectors. He works with clients to build and operate efficient, secure and stable services, including data centers, cloud, systems and networks, as well as to develop strategies and processes to deliver complex technology solutions, reduce costs and transform businesses. He has deep experience in the managed services provider/managed security service provider space, managing the MSP/MSSPs and “owning it” for all aspects of IT.

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About Courtney Terlecki
External Communications Manager
Courtney is the external communications manager for Atos North America, where she oversees content production including blogs, press releases and social media. Before this, Courtney spent eight years working in TV news where she reported, anchored, produced and managed a staff of 30. During that time, Courtney became an expert on being able to break down complex topics in easier to understand ways.

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