Paul T. Cottey is one of the many high-caliber IT Executives who will be facilitating group discussions at NCS Madison’s Virtual CIO & CISO Strategy Meeting on May 5, 2020 for executives in Phoenix, AZ and its surrounding areas.
Paul is the Chief Information Officer at Water Street Healthcare Partners LLC where he collaborates with Water Street’s family of healthcare companies to engage and align their information technology strategy to support their business growth objectives. He will be leading a thought-provoking group discussion on CIO Leadership: Responding to COVID-19. Here is a preview of what he shared with us in a recent interview for his upcoming session.
“The CIO may be in the best position to see across the whole organization. The CIO can provide the “A ha!” interactions between divisions/functions/teams/people and help provide guidance as to what is most urgent.”
What leadership capabilities does the CIO need to guide their organizations during the COVID-19 crisis?
A CIO needs to engage with the Operations people and truly listen to how they are reacting to the COVID-19 situation. A CIO needs to know what drives the value in the business so he/she can determine what is critical to the company’s operations, what is nice to have, and what can be deferred or even canceled. The CIO must be empathetic to his or her team’s needs. Just because IT people don’t mind being left alone occasionally does not mean that we want to be isolated.
What roles does the CIO play in maintaining the organizational purpose? Can you share an example from your organization?
The CIO may be in the best position to see across the whole organization. Salespeople know sales. HR people know HR. Distribution people know distribution. And so on. The IT organization sees all of these and more and sees the relationship between them. The CIO can provide the “A ha!” interactions between divisions/functions/teams/people and help provide guidance as to what is most urgent.
What are the lessons learned by CIOs from this unprecedented pandemic? How has this crisis impacted their IT modernization?
Business Continuity Planning does not mean just floods or tornados, it means any severe disruption to the company’s operations. Those CIOs who focused on disaster recovery and business continuity were many steps ahead of those CIOs who were going to get to it “really soon.” If a CIO has not tackled modernization to-date, it is too late now to have an impact on the current situation, but it is not too late to lay out a plan going forward.
What will recovery look-like, and how will the CIO lead their organizational recovery?
Beats the heck out of me! The CIO will continue to provide the original “legacy” IT services, the new IT services that came about from reacting to COVID-19, and any new services needed to assist in the recovery. The bottom line is that the CIO and the IT team will sleep when this is all over, but not before.
What can a CIO do now to begin preparing for organizational recovery post-pandemic?
A CIO can expect that people are going to want to use the new capabilities they have acquired during the COVID-19 “stay at home” period. For example, people will have gotten used to having multiple ways to do video conferences at a moments notice, so the prudent CIO will look to turn the combination of all the “consumer-grade” capabilities into a set of enterprise-grade capabilities.
What is one thing you would like the attendees of your discussion group to leave knowing?
You are not alone. Other people are going through what you are going through. Even if we don’t have answers, we can commiserate and discuss.
Why have you decided to join us at the 2020 Virtual Phoenix CIO and CISO Strategy Meeting?
It is important for me to cross-pollinate across companies and industries and talk to people doing things that have different constraints than I have. Since we can’t do it in person, being virtual is the next best thing.