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various incentives options, had been available to IT to retain critical employees. T e other key point is assessing what IT environments stay and what goes. All the effi ciencies promised are often predicated upon IT taking what is often completely overlapping technology environments and seamlessly selecting the best from both and eliminating the remainder over time. T at is what the brochure says – but then there is the reality of how IT determines what stays and what goes. You very seldom want to keep redundant applications and the dedicated infrastructure, but culling the IT application herd is itself a large resource commitment if you want to do it right. Here’s a suggestion as to how to approach: • Step 1: Keep what you have up and available at both provid- ers. In other words, have all the IT staff integration planning meetings you need, but act day to day as though the merger never happened. Don’t lose focus on running the current en- vironments well. If you identify major at-risk scenarios, then see whether small tactical new projects, perhaps utilizing the other provider’s resources, could provide you a bandage until you have a chance to fi nd a more permanent solution.


• Step 2: Have each organization provide an inventory of all the applications they run, who utilizes them, what the applications’ main functions are and what infrastructure they utilize. Sometimes this is easily done, because it is all in place waiting to be printed out; other times this process can itself be an eye-opening experience. Having “new” eyes review your list of application environments can sometimes facilitate that IT fi nally does prioritize the retirement of the application running on Windows NT version 2.0.


• Step 3: Where two (or three) diff erent applications perform the function and serve the same community, take the op- portunity to do an internal “bake off ” and perhaps include the vendor. Yes, it’s more work and yes, it slows down the process. However, getting data sharing between applications to work is often complex and time consuming initially and over time. Also, one of the obvious effi ciencies is cost, and shuttering an application can reduce cost in real money terms, people and IT resources.


• Step 4: Once you understand what application environ- ments will stay or go, you can begin to look at hardware repurposing and retirement. Not everything has to have new hardware. Sometimes repurposing enables budget to be allocated to other important but unfunded initiatives. Did anyone say Google Glass?


Frank Negro, Practice Leader, Global Healthcare Consulting, Dell Services


T ere are two overriding hurdles for IT execs to consider during a merger: consolidation of teams and processes, and consolidation of systems. I believe there


is a tendency to underestimate the complexity of both. T e consolidation of teams and processes has everything to do with culture, both within the IT department and the merging organizations. Expectations, whether explicitly defi ned in internal service-level agreements (SLAs), or implicitly defi ned through relationships and traditions, are most often diff erent between two merging organizations, and the process of consolidating must be initiated long before a “consolidated” IT department needs to be in place.


www.healthmgttech.com


T e consolidation of systems requires a function-by-function


evaluation of the current systems environment at both organiza- tions, with a formal decision regarding systems support for each. T e three options (System A at both, System B at both or a hybrid System A-B solution) must be considered from the perspectives of functional support for the merged organization’s strategies, supportability and, of course, cost. T e key to successfully clearing these hurdles is the early estab- lishment of a combined and eff ective governance structure, with a clearly defi ned (and explicitly granted) set of responsibilities and authorities for making decisions. Chris Watson, Chief Operating Offi cer, Brightree


C


Five key hurdles IT execs have to overcome during a merger include: • Culture shifts. IT execs need to consider


everything from the way people interact with one another (e.g., emails, meetings or instant message) to the pace of the business. By understanding such culture shifts up front, they can set new expectations for both parties prior to the close of a deal.


• Change management. It’s critical for IT execs to realize that their employees didn’t choose this new situation, so employees need to understand why the business chose to merge or be acquired. Eliminating uncertainty can help avoid attrition and disruption in productivity.


• Miscommunication. As with any kind of company transi- tion, it goes without saying that communication is a key component to a merger strategy. Not only should staff understand the merger, but customers and other key stake- holders should also be kept in the loop (when appropriate).


• Market awareness. Another key hurdle to assess is market awareness. Every market has it nuances which are diffi cult to understand during the due-diligence phase. If IT execs understand this hurdle up front, the more quickly they can create a strategy to better understand its new environment.


• Customer engagement. T e bottom line of every orga- nization is about the people who are being served. If the process for IT execs to get to know their customers is more immediate, then the quicker the ability for everyone within an organization to fulfi ll (and hopefully exceed) their cus- tomers’ needs. S


Steve Fanning, Vice President, Healthcare Industry Strategy, Infor


T e pace of mergers is expected to increase in 2014. Key hurdles for IT executives to address include:


i


• Stay ahead of the deal. If integration planning starts after the merger has been announced, you’re already be- hind. Comprehensive integration planning should be part of due diligence.


• Beware of undefi ned roles. In a newly combined organiza- tion, it is essential to identify a dedicated integration leader and a distinct integration team to ensure focus on the merger integration eff ort. Without a clearly defi ned team that is empowered to make decisions, it is likely the integration process may delay or even fail due to lack of leadership.


• CEO that wants it all. Despite what they say in the board- room, not everything can be accomplished at once. It is


HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY April 2014 7


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