Getting Buy-In From the Board

Premier Healthcare Alliance is jointly owned by 200 hospitals and has affiliations with a total of 2,500 hospitals and 80,000 other healthcare operations. It handles group contracting for hospital products and services, shares clinical knowledge among its members and provides a forum in which members can share their experiences with insurance claims and risks.

In a case study presented at IBM Connect, CTO Denise Hatzidaki discussed how the organization is a year into its multifaceted community and analytics project, known as the Integrated Performance Platform, that will be built out over the next three to five years. The Integrated Performance Platform has three components: community; applications; and integrated data. The goals are to make sense of what Hatzidaki called the "plume of data" that surrounds clinicians and patients, and tease out relevant insight, information and intelligence for users.  "It's about how to make those insights available at the right time at the right place for the right individuals," she said.

"You talk to some folks who say 'I don't want to give my [employees] Twitter, how will they get any work done?' This change isn't an IT thing," said Hatzidaki. "It's for us to work with business on how to ... solve the business problems we 're trying to fix today."

She added: "The problem is not technology, it's culture. How do we enable people to think differently about how we solve [business] problems?"

Hatzidaki had to get buy-in on the Integrated Performance Platform from the organization's board. Winning over the medical establishment's leaders required "going very methodically over every proof point. We were very careful to set milestones and goals. [You have to] talk to the business in the business's language: 'We're going to enable performance improvement by making this available to the members.' You want to show incremental improvements. Nothing speaks better than incremental data points."

Working jointly with IBM and technology consulting firm Perficient, Premier has begun building the community components of its Integrated Performance Platform. "Our goal is to take this platform and build an ecosystem for healthcare" that makes it easy for users to communicate, collaborate, share and analyze data in order to improve outcomes and solve pressing medical problems, explained Hatzidaki.

IT leaders interviewed by CIO Insight during IBM Connect agree, though, that the danger in building any social business platform lies in the "Field of Dreams" belief that "if you build it they will come."

IBM has some 425,000 employees in 170 countries, along with another 100,000 or so subcontractors. Horan said her team supports a total of about 550,000 endpoints. Some 90,000 IBM employees are actively using IBM Connections, according to Carol Sormilic, VP of global workforce and web Processes. "Our goal is to get all 425,000 to join," she said.

Raising awareness, providing education and training, sharing success stories and finding ways to reward users are just some of the tactics organizations are using to increase the use of their social business solutions.

"Right now, IT is leading the social business revolution," said IBM's Horan. "The business users have to understand what's possible. In some ways it's very similar to early days of web. If you went to business users back in 1993 and asked them 'How would you use a web browser and website?' they'd look at you as if you were stupid."

If social business indeed proves to be as instrumental in our daily lives as the Web has become, then any CIO willing to bet on pushing the enterprise into this emerging ecosystem could end up being amply rewarded.

This article was originally published on 01-17-2012
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.

Click for a full list of Newsletterssubmit