IT spending represents a significant part of most healthcare organizations’ budgets. Technology is no longer just a tool for driving efficiency; rather, it can help organizations create value and increase profits. As digital initiatives take off across industries, organizations want to know that they’re getting the highest return on their investments.
In periods of growth, strategic investments can help health systems maximize their operational productivity and efficiency. In tougher times, optimized spending can spell the difference between survival and failure.
“The key here is value-based budgeting,” says James Watczak, a finance and technology business consultant with CDW. “Transparency involving costs, business impacts and usage is needed so IT budgets can be allocated to generate the greatest return.”
According to a 2023 report from Snow Software, a third of IT leaders surveyed stated that reducing IT costs was among their top IT priorities. Further, 26 percent cited delivering digital transformation and adopting new technologies to improve day-to-day operations among their priorities.
As healthcare organizations explore these investments, many are looking for ways to implement automated solutions. These tools can help organizations optimize their costs by improving accuracy and reducing the burden on IT workers.
EXPLORE: Read CDW’s white paper “How IT Cost Optimization Strategies Promote Business Value.”
How IT Automation Improves Agility and Reduces Complexity
Healthcare organizations have numerous ways to improve their cost optimization efforts. Automated solutions offer powerful tools to drive these initiatives. For example, automated tools can enable IT teams to orchestrate workloads across an organization’s cloud environment, more efficiently allocating resources. Automating these processes reduces the manual effort involved in provisioning and managing complex cloud and hybrid IT environments.
One key benefit that many organizations pursue as they explore automated solutions is enhanced operational agility. For example, by moving workloads to and from the cloud automatically, an organization can deliver services more quickly to clinicians and patients.
“Automating all those tasks and spinning up resources in the cloud, migrating them to another cloud, migrating them on-premises, improves your agility,” says Neil Graver, executive technology strategist with CDW. “The flexibility that provides can lower your risk and provide a great experience for staff and patients.”
Many organizations are taking advantage of automation to improve their DevOps processes. By implementing tools that apply automation to development processes, these organizations can speed up progress and reduce errors. Automation also enables them to establish workflows for continuous improvement and continuous delivery of applications, a key objective for DevOps.
“As organizations get more sophisticated with their automation, they’re leveraging a robust CI/CD pipeline,” says David Wharton, chief architect for AWS cloud platform with CDW. “Automation and DevOps provide the ability to rinse and repeat your successes and also to discard what doesn’t work.”
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Why Health Systems Should Keep Moving Forward with IT Automation
Ultimately, automated tools can provide a number of cost optimization benefits for healthcare organizations, but to realize these benefits, they need to strategize their deployments and implement them effectively. It’s important to understand that cost optimization is an ongoing process of evaluation, strategy and improvement.
By approaching their cost optimization initiatives strategically, organizations can realize more significant benefits, which can bring them close to achieving their short-term and long-term operational goals. The focus should go beyond short-term actions aimed at adapting to current conditions and instead establish continuous efforts to maximize organizational value.
“Cost optimization is not just a number on a spreadsheet, but rather it’s a real process to analyze and understand the total cost of operations behind a decision where the benefit is really realized,” Graver says. “It’s an ongoing process to look at the investments that have been made and calculate the return on investment.”