IT culture change key to Merakey’s digital transformation

IT chief dispels dysfunction between clinicians and IT at mental health services company Merakey to pave way for digital transformation and analytics overhaul.

IT culture change key to Merakey’s digital transformation
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Most CIOs waste little time putting their stamp on IT departments when they join new companies. But Tom Morgan faced different challenges when he joined Merakey, which provides mental health services and education, in 2015. As the new vice president of IT, Morgan first had to ease tensions between the nonprofit organization's 10,000 clinicians and office workers and the tech staff, whom clinicians and office workers claimed were barely responsive to help requests.

"When I walked in the door here, the house wasn't burning down but it was certainly on fire," says Morgan. "People were not happy with IT; they couldn't get support and it took forever to get things fixed."

IT-business alignment is a must for transformation

Repairing the fractured relationship would lead to creating greater alignment between IT and the business, laying the foundation for a digital transformation, Morgan says. Cozier IT-business relationships is a popular sentiment among CIOs these days. Seventy-one percent of IT leaders say collaborative projects between lines of business and IT occur more frequently when there is shared oversight, according to CIO.com's 2018 State of the CIO survey.

Merakey's clinicians, who provide psychiatric care and drug and alcohol rehab across some 600 integrated care facilities in eight states, often find themselves in stressful situations. IT's uncooperative stance didn't help. Morgan quickly drummed up a strategy, summed up in the acronym IT CAREs, which stands for "compassionate" customer service, "accurate" analytics, "reliable" on-time services and "empowering" technology.

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