Listening to Healthcare CIOs


By Dan Cowan
| min

We recently had the opportunity to conduct a focus group with healthcare executives from US provider organizations. Most were CIOs, with a CTO and CEO also participating. The questions we had prepared were designed to elicit useful information for our product strategy and marketing efforts. In some cases, the answers didn’t support pieces of the value proposition we’d been pushing, and in other cases the answers have steered our messaging in a new direction.

We asked a question about what IT departments would do with the folks whose responsibilities had been reduced through the use of a highly automated platform like Nutanix. The group answered with a resounding “Security!” so I guess storage admins should start brushing up on their cyber security skills. This makes perfect sense as health systems are under constant attack and the problem certainly isn’t confined to ransomware.

Not only does the Nutanix platform free up storage, server, and virtualization admins to work on higher-level initiatives, but it is also more secure, natively, than traditional infrastructure. This is because of our security-first engineering approach which results in features like automated STIG monitoring and remediation. Fewer moving parts with no storage fabric, HBAs, and SAN controllers provides a much smaller attack surface as well.

As a technology company that provides a combined hardware/software solution, we are very interested in customers’ cloud initiatives. Are they building private cloud capabilities? Which workloads are they interested in putting in the public cloud? Any hybrid cloud projects? So, we asked about that, and received unexpected feedback from the group. Senior leadership and the Board wants them to put as much as possible in “the cloud”.

But, just evaluating cloud providers is extremely cumbersome for a healthcare organization. Will they sign our BAA, or demand that we use their weak language? Are they HITRUST certified, and is that enough? One participant stated that they are working hard to build out a private cloud so that they retain control of the systems and data, and don’t have to constantly vet and manage cloud (and hosting) providers.

Seems like a good approach to me if you have the data center space, or a reliable co-location provider. And with the density that Nutanix provides, data center space isn’t such a problem anymore. One more reason that on-prem is still extremely valid in healthcare.

And, from this group, we heard once again that their EMR and Imaging software providers can slow their adoption of new technologies. This is exactly why Nutanix continues to invest in alliances, even with our large lead in the application validation race. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with customers and partners, opening up additional opportunities for healthcare provider organizations to maximize the value of their Nutanix investment.

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