The Expanding Frontiers of IT By Darren Ghanayem, SVP & CIO, WellCare Health Plans

The Expanding Frontiers of IT

Darren Ghanayem, SVP & CIO, WellCare Health Plans | Friday, 27 January 2017, 07:30 IST

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Benefits of Cloud Computing for IT Infrastructure 
The benefits are clear and real. Cloud computing has the power to simplify and streamline our infrastructure, while removing points of failure, maintenance costs and labor costs. We have embraced cloud solutions and view this as a trend that will continue. That said, each situation must be assessed independently for appropriateness as it relates to security, performance and data integration. Oversight is also key. Someone somewhere must continuously monitor and oversee infrastructure—even on the cloud.

The Big Data Revolution
One of the most exciting aspects of the “revolution” to me is its potential to empower data analysts to be change agents, transforming their jobs from simply analyzing data to using their analyses to institute change. Many of today’s data analysts spend their time aggregating data and moving it from one spot to another. Big Data solutions can liberate that function.

The Rising Technologies
There have been incredible advances in cognitive computing over the years, and it’s much more ready for practical application than it was even two years ago. Solutions are maturing from “cognitive engines ready to learn” to “cognitive engines tuned for particular business challenges.” This makes solutions much more practical and cost effective to implement.

Fostering Innovation and Growth
Enable and encourage teams to be creative and to challenge traditional assumptions. I’ve found the best way to do this is to make an investment and take time to develop a repeatable, agile process that allows for the integration of ideas to create solutions. This process isn’t limited to IT, and should often revolve around business ideas that may involve some technology but also have a return on investment. Space is also critical. I recommend securing a physical environment that is conducive to the creative process, such as an innovation lab or studio concept.

Points to Keep in Mind
Technology solutions are fantastic enablers, and there are many solutions out there that can vastly improve the way business is conducted. However, the basic premise still holds true: technology solutions cannot succeed without the business area’s full embrace and willingness to change. I’ve seen fantastic technologies fail due to lack of business support. 

The Challenges Ahead
There are many utilities being introduced that simplify access to Big Data solutions. However, these applications are still new and selecting the right partner is crucial to return value and establish positive adoption within business areas. Security will also continue to be an issue. It represents one of the most complex decisions we all face—finding the balance between rapid changes and securing our assets.

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