I haven’t heard back from my witness protection plan application, but I’m going to post this blog entry anyway.
“The system is dying.”
This is an all-time favorite whopper whispered to naive C-suite executives when we need some money. If they ask a question, we follow up with some incomprehensible techy mumbo jumbo. It always works because the subject of death, in whatever context, gives people the willies. Systems don’t die like that peperomia you forgot to water. True, systems can be purposely murdered by a company, competitor, or the market, but nine times out of 10, there are clear options — and plenty of warning.
“Our competitors will have a distinct advantage because we’ll be on ‘Old Technology.’”
Any CIO worth his or her free Gmail account knows you’re better off using ‘Old Technology’ and calling it ‘New Technology’ than actually using ‘New Technology’ and dealing with all the bugs, errors, unintended consequences, and software vendors lying about things their next release will fix.
“We need to buy a new system. It will be expensive.”
I call this a lie because most CIOs never propose reinstalling systems already owned by the company. Reinstalling an existing system after redesigning critical workflow and taking advantage of unused system functionality is a strategy that can save an organization millions. But that wouldn’t do anything for a person’s resume, would it?
“We need to hire a consultant to give us an unbiased view of the problem.”
We need an unbiased view of the problem like we need a hole in the head. We want to hire a consultant so we can tell him what to say, cram him in a workspace all known primates would reject, then blame everything that goes wrong on him.
“We are IT innovators.”
Healthcare IT is dominated by commercial vendor products. You can be clever, but you can’t innovate if you can’t re-engineer the software, and you can’t re-engineer the software if it isn’t yours. We stopped being innovators when we stopped building our own systems and starting buying them. Today we are ‘configurers’ of someone else’s product. By the way, getting your organization a Facebook page and a Tumblr account is not innovation.
“This new system will be strategic. IT will be in charge of the installation.”
Read history and you’ll find that the successful introduction of strategic technology (any technology) requires reworking of critical processes (workflow), and changes in the organizational chart (somebody gets fired, retired or executed). There are no exceptions. IT departments rarely have the clout or the chutzpah to do either. So go ahead: put us in charge.
Wow. I feel so much better now.