Q: How are you setting up your whole IT infrastructure and your foundational platforms to drive digital? You’re an Epic shop, so that’s key but what else drives a successful digital engagement?
Reid: A couple of things come to mind. We have a cloud forward strategy. It’s not cloud-first. It’s not cloud-only. It’s just that we certainly look to the cloud, but we are so focused on wanting to move things to the cloud that we then miss the chance to critically think through opportunities as they arise. For example, we’re an Epic shop. It’s hosted on-premise and we don’t have any plans in the near future to move that to the cloud, although going forward, I would expect that may be an ultimate outcome. But there are areas where it does make sense.
Between our colo data center and our data center at one of our hospitals that’s a couple hours away, we have a completely redundant infrastructure to run Epic for the entire health system—it’s expensive, doesn’t scale well and we have to maintain 100% capacity, 200% total in the event that we may need it. Now, if you think about it from a risk standpoint, those data centers are about two-and-a-half-hours apart, so potentially there could be a geographic event that impacts both data centers. Therefore, we’re moving our Epic VR capability to the cloud over the next year so we have the ability to just have a small presence there that can be scaled up when needed.
It’s the same thing with regard to the other solutions—we have a mix of SaaS, public-private cloud, and on-prem things, so, we’re always looking at what’s the best solution for the current state operational need and what can provide the cleanest path for that future roadmap.
One thing that we’ve learned early on is, it was years ago that we used to lead with the cloud and consider the ROI in terms of spend or savings. It’s just not the case now. It’s your dollars kind of spend elsewhere. However, there’s been a couple of transitions, especially with our finance team, to help them understand that you may not get such cost savings that you’ve heard about at the CFO conference so here’s what you do get what’s beyond the savings. You’re going to get all that the company has to bring to bear in terms of expertise, infrastructure, and cybersecurity, built in and baked in. These are things that we may not be able to ever fully do on our own or fund on our own. That’s our mindset.