On the people side, Shipley hired a financial analyst fresh out of college to help make sense of all this new analysis. Blue Cross wanted someone with no significant healthcare or IT experience because an objective, fresh measure of IT costs "is an area of untapped potential," he notes. "Innovation is a must. We felt that a young, unadulterated financial mind is not burdened by the baggage of the way we used to do things."
The first order of business will be to build a dashboard in the next few months to let non-IT executives learn more details about the company's technology spending and the impact of various business initiatives.
Placing a financial expert in IT improves IT's credibility, says David Ackerman, IT advisory practice leader at the Hackett Group. "There's no doubt that helps."
Shipley had to leap through a few hoops to get financial expertise into this staff. He couldn't add a full-time position to his staff, so he rearranged some people and shifted resources. "We took on a little extra burden on the technical side to do this," he says. "I feel like it's that important."
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