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CIO Journal: Melancholy morphs into anticipation

On his last full day on the job at a healthcare company, a CIO solves technical accounting application issues, says a few more good-byes, and revisits the realization that no one is indispensable.

By Joseph “Jody” Harris


In this fourth installment of his CIO Journal, Joseph Harris describes how he handles tech issues, performs a neat handoff of his duties to remaining IT staff, and organizes his personal documents during his final week on the job at Camelot Healthcare. Prior to his CIO role, he served as an IT manager for a chemical company and as a consultant for SMS. His technical experience includes AS400, Microsoft NT and 2000, and Novell, and he’s spent much time at Camelot working on privacy and security issues in response to federal regulations.

Joseph “Jody” Harris


Parting thoughts

 


My last full day is today, and I’m looking forward to having some free time next week. I am getting excited about moving on. I still reminisce over the good times that I have had working at Camelot Healthcare. I still feel a little sad over leaving, but the excitement of moving on is overpowering. Today, I must complete as much as possible of the MS4 training and prepare everyone for my departure. No one is irreplaceable, but everyone in an organization has tasks that must be reassigned to others to provide a continued and stable workflow.

8 A.M.: The MS4 issues continue
I meet with the manager of IT to discuss additional services that he must now provide for Camelot Healthcare. He will have to be the main point of contact for all computer issues. This will also include being the main point of contact with Siemens MS4 product support. While extremely skilled and talented in most computer operations and networking platforms, the IT manager has a limited knowledge of AS400 platforms and will have to rely on the MS4 support group for almost all tasks.

9 A.M.: A few good-byes
I’m contacted by a technician looking for a job. I inform him that I will be moving on but that there might be an opportunity with Camelot Healthcare in a month or two when it begins growing again. I give him the contact name and number for the manager of IT. I spend some downtime this morning talking to people and taking pictures, always careful not to interfere with work. It is important to get those good-byes in.

10 A.M.: Honest feedback
I get a call from a vendor, and I give him the new contact information for the manager of IT so that they can discuss purchasing arrangements. I also receive a call from an auditing group representing our Internet provider, and it has numerous questions relating to our purchasing and installation and support experience. This takes a considerable amount of time, but it is a good vendor and worth the time it takes me to give positive feedback about its performance. I also give negative feedback when a vendor is deserving of such.

11 A.M.: Going-away celebration
My coworkers have arranged a small going-away gathering. I receive a card from friends and good wishes for my future endeavors. I will miss these people.

As everyone should be aware of by now, I really enjoy lunch. Today, I am returning to a tried-and-true friend: Chef Roy’s. Chef Roy is one of the finest Cajun cuisine chefs anywhere. I rate his food as equal to or better than any five-star restaurant in New Orleans. The restaurant is in Rayne, LA, on the north side of I-10 within sight of the highway. I have tried everything on the menu, and it is all good. The best menu item is Roy's crab cakes. If you ever pass through Rayne between Lake Charles and Lafayette, stop there for lunch or dinner. It will be worth it. By the way, I get nothing for the plug—I just want anyone that reads this article to get something for it. The manager of IT bought my lunch. He is a great guy.

1 P.M.: Deciding which development route to take
I meet with the owner of a local hospital to discuss options for the hospital's accounting application. This hospital will become one of Camelot’s managed facilities. I discuss both the pros and cons of going with the local developer on the project. The local developer may be sufficient and inexpensive, but he is a single point of failure, and it would be costly if the hospital had to outsource any work. An ASP could be beneficial because it would prevent the need for IT staffing at the hospital, but ASPs cost money, and the hospital will have less control of its systems.

In essence, owning your own hardware will increase your staffing needs and costs up front but will reduce your overall monthly support costs and give you more control in the end. I am afraid that for the hospital, it will boil down to cost and not quality and that it will make a determination based on that after I leave.

2 P.M.: Work with AR continues
I work with MS4 support and an AR clerk to help the AR department get set up for data mailers. This takes some time, and MS4 support did not call us back in a reasonable amount of time. It took over 24 hours to get the second solution call, and even then, the support person could not provide the answers we needed and had to call us back.

I then work with Camelot’s Chief Administrative Office (CAO) to set up new users and add them to the general ledger security list. The CAO picks up the general ledger part easily, and we are done quickly. The problems Camelot is having with setting up data mailers mainly stems from difficulties with creating new users on the AS400. These types of problems are minor for me due to my experience with AS400 but are impossible for non-AS400 people.

I receive a call back from MS4 support, and we work through all of the problems until we find we need the letters to download from the AS400. They had not been created, and there was no menu selection to create them. Now we must get another MS4 support group involved to set up the menu on the AS400. Then we can create the letters. It’s all in a day’s work.

5 P.M.: No one is indispensable
The day ends, and I am more aware than ever how difficult things will be without me here. I almost feel sorry for the people to whom I am giving these tasks. They seem so helpless when it comes to these problems.

You try to make things easy so that other people will be able to perform the tasks that you used to do, but secretly, deep inside, you really want them to not be able to live without you. No one is ever irreplaceable. Not even me. Never forget that.

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