During Constellation Research's Connected Enterprise event in Half Moon Bay last week, I had the chance to catch up with Shawn Wiora, CIO and CISO of Creative Solutions in Healthcare.


Creative Solutions in Healthcare is the largest independently owned and operated provider of skilled nursing facilities in Texas. But let's take a look:


If you don't have a chance to watch - here are the key takeaways:

  • Start with a security audit first when taking over a new IT landscape. Wiora and the team developed a "Framework first, toys second" approach as a mantra for the next steps.
  • Often HIPAA is used as an excuse for not being able to move to the cloud, but Wiora has read the law a few times, and there is nothing in the law that prevents healthcare companies from going to the cloud. As of today Creative Solution in Healthcare is the first healthcare company to have made the leap to the public cloud, to the best of our knowledge.
  • Creative Solution in Healthcare used VMware vCloud Air, going from physical servers to a virtualized environment and moved from on premise data center to a public cloud data center.
  • Wiora and the team had to move a lot of loads, but also used SaaS vendors like Ceridian Dayforce, Pointclickcare, in total over 40 different software vendors were involved, taking about a year for the whole process to virtualize loads and move them to the public cloud.
  • Start small - Wiora started with IT servers, then moved on to the rest of the loads, virtualizing first and then moving to the public cloud.
  • Security and Operations are handled better in the public cloud data centers than what Creative Solutions in Healthcare could have done on premises.
  • Wiora and the team were aware of the cultural impact and provided members of the IT team a career road map, how they could guide their career onward. Training was offered to all IT team members, and all employees took advantage of the offer.
  • One of the key benefits was that the IT team is now spending more time with the business, effectively being more engaged with the business as the need to take care of technology has gone down from 80% to 50% of the overall work time.


    All to often we hear that legislation and compliance holds back innovation for enterprises. Kudos to Wiora and team for not believing on hearsay but reading the relevant law - and having the guts to then decide to act in an innovative way, moving all systems from on premises to the cloud. My hope is that this will inspire other IT executives to take a new and fresh look at the legislative burdens, hearsay is not a good best practice to run enterprises. For the healthcare industry this should act as both an inflection point and a wake up call. We will be watching.