Cloud Computing Leads to Competitive Advantage for Healthcare Firm

A healthcare CIO moves aggressively to cloud computing so the IT staff is freed up to focus on IT innovations that advance the company’s core mission.

CIO Douglas Menefee put the question to his boss at Schumacher Group, a healthcare company: Do you want to run a software-development company, or do you want to deliver care?

Predictably, CEO William "Kip" Schumacher wanted to focus on healthcare. That's how Menefee sold him on moving from on-premise applications to software as a service (SaaS) and, more recently, infrastructure as a service.

Menefee says this shift allows his IT staff to do less routine work and deliver more of the IT innovations that enable the company's core mission.

The plan is to "purchase 80 percent of the solutions and customize the remaining 20 percent that drive the organization," Menefee says. "We see our [IT] staff as difference-makers. They drive innovations, and for that, cloud is a competitive advantage."

That perspective is driving many CIOs to put more of their IT operations in the cloud, says R "Ray" Wang, principal analyst and CEO at Constellation Research. "If you're not doing it, you're behind. You're being outsold and outthought," Wang says.

A December 2012 survey of 157 global CIOs done by Dimensional Research (and sponsored by Host Analytics) found that CIOs cite competitive advantage as one of their top three reasons for moving to the cloud.

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