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Are You Cultivating Your Hot Up-And-Comers?

September 3, 2008
by Mark Hagland
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A recent Forrester Research report sees things moving forward for those IT professionals who can bring things together across the usual boundaries. Author Marc Cecere, in a report entitled “What Are The Hot Roles in IT?” says that “Near-term demand for hot roles in IT will be driven by the need for local and cross-discipline knowledge, changes in technology, greater emphasis on managing risk and the enterprise; and a limited supply of key roles.” Cecere sees “business architects” as being particularly hot because of the growth in enterprise applications such as SAP, business process management, and other technologies. “To meet the need for hot roles in their organizations,” he says, “CIOs need to identify their primary skill gaps; determine which roles they should hire, cultivate, or rent; identify where they can compromise; and develop retention and development strategies for these roles.”

And though that report was written broadly, its implications are certainly being borne out in healthcare. In our July and August cover stories, we looked at how CIOs are cultivating strong teams of IT executives; and how they and their colleagues are using software tools and strategizing in order to gain clinical and business intelligence for operational and patient care optimization (July and August, respectively). What seems quite clear is that those CIOs and other healthcare executives who recognize the potential gains from cultivating smart, personable, ambitious up-and-comers will also be among the first to reap the benefits of their professional growth.

But such cultivation must obviously also be intelligent and strategic. Simply moving smart people up is only half of the equation: CIOs are going to need to think carefully and comprehensively about how, for wont of a better word, they are going to “architect” their staffs, their operations, and their technologies. And in doing so, they will in time be able to identify the smart “business architects” they will need to help move their teams, and their organizations, forward.

Will all this be challenging? Of course it will. Most of all, CIOs and the senior executives who report to them are going to need to think “outside the box,” as the phrase goes. But of course, that’s the general challenge going forward for CIOs, and for their organizations, generally. So the question is: are you cultivating the up-and-comers who can help you break out of the old boundaries? If not, maybe it’s time to begin doing so soon.

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