CIO Magazine has an interesting article on market pressures that may be
causing the role of the CIO to evolve. It seems that the focus on
selecting the right technology and getting it to work is shifting to
emphasize workflow and process optimization. I normally wouldn't post
on this, but it tied nicely to a recent post on hospital workflow automation.
The new jargon seems to be "BPM", or business process management. The
article refers to workflow as the automation of human-to-machine and
process management as the mapping and facilitation of human-to-human
interactions. An underlying theme that I hear frequently is that it's
not some much which tool you have but how well you use it.

"The first thing I would say is that a
lot of people who are CIOs today came up through the technical route:
they might be Java people at heart. Well, if you want to stay being a
Java architect, do what David Chappell suggests: move to Bangalore,
because that's where your job is. On the other hand, if you want to do
what companies need you to do and work where the budgets are going to
grow, you had better get directly involved with process. We've got
plenty of applications. You know, we've been doing that for the last 50

Business re-engineering was about using enterprise networks to break
down the stovepipes between departments in order to streamline the
company. Now companies must use a worldwide network, the Internet, to
tear down the stovepipes between companies using different ERP, CRM and
CAD/CAM systems. CIOs - or better still the CPOs who should soon
replace them - must now learn to build a level of process, an
architecture if you will, that allows systems to be re-purposed and
extended to build end-to-end business processes across corporations and

Technical skills and programming ability will barely enter into it,
Fingar says, and developing the detailed components can still safely be
outsourced to the "lowest cost Java shop". What will give the new CPO
[Chief Process Officer] his or her edge will be the ability to build
those custom processes
that involve multiple companies - the ones that will distinguish his or
her company and give it its competitive edge. When an Exxon Mobil
decides to go into the gourmet coffee business, to capitalize on the
customer demand created by Starbucks and in order to satisfy the
customers who visit its retail outlets, the CPO will be there to build
a whole new value chain.

This calls to my mind issues like patient flow optimization, some
patient safety initiatives and of course the interactions between
hospitals, payers and physicians.

[Hat tip: HIStalk]