Data Centers on Life Support: Healthcare Realizing Digital Transformation

The data center is dead… at least according to the analyst experts at Gartner.

Okay, so a healthcare veteran like me shouldn’t be so cavalier about throwing that word around, but health care organizations getting out the data center business is the new, cold reality.

The industry has embraced cloud adoption in an effort to significantly reduce data center footprints and associated costs, increase flexibility and performance, and achieve heightened security and disaster recovery capabilities, with the added benefits of enhanced visibility and increased control over their solutions.

Once upon a time, capital investments in data center real estate, computer hardware and on-premises software deployment was considered a best practice. However, the elasticity of cloud computing, the ability to efficiently scale operations without the need to over-allocate initial investments, as well as the increased speed of business, have rendered this an unwise approach.

Not only that, in this landscape of cloud adoption and digital transformation, many critical software tools and services are frequently available exclusively in the cloud. Yet the natural development cycle of this software product strategy leads to multi- cloud and multi-vendor deployments — a potential management nightmare for the end user.

Enabling greater focus on patients

At the recent Gartner IT Symposium, I had the opportunity to hear analyst Jeff Cribbs present a compelling argument about healthcare consumer engagement and its relationship to IT strategies. His ‘Generations Model’ aptly describes today’s healthcare industry:

  • Waking up to the voice of the patient
  • Patching up IT systems
  • Catching up with other industries

The value of patient focus has skyrocketed with the emphasis on the role social determinants play in health – basically, how you pursue healthy activities outside of the doctor’s office or hospital. Truthfully, in my 35 years in the healthcare industry, more than once have I heard that we are five to 10 years behind other industries when it comes to how healthcare treats our ‘customers.’

Thankfully, healthcare players are now more determined than ever to find ways of continually improving the patient experience, riding the digital transformation wave to catch up with more mature industries.

Cost containment methodologies that do not adversely impact healthcare outcomes and increase patient satisfaction, as well as leveraging patient-focused software tools and applications, are central to this approach. These initiatives are what make cloud adoption so appealing and are why healthcare providers are choosing to partner with next generation cloud managed service providers like Rackspace.

Get out of the data center business!

As a key partner for many leading healthcare organizations, Rackspace now offers a comprehensive suite of services and deployment strategies we’re calling Data Center Breakout Solutions, that make fixed cost reduction a reality. We help organizations break free of their data centers, server rooms or server closets, providing end-to-end managed services with support levels that meet or exceed even the toughest SLAs.

If you’re still unsure if this is the right move, consider the following use cases for our breakout solutions and how they might apply to your organization:

  • Simplified adoption of the latest multi-cloud, multi-vendor tools and services;
  • Guidance with optimizing IT spend in the cloud;
  • Need for enterprise-grade security tools;
  • Difficulty in finding and keeping certified cloud expertise with AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Kubernetes, OpenStack, Pivotal Cloud Foundry and VMware Cloud;
  • Managing interconnect services, the internet of things, edge services and Software as a Service offerings;
  • Simplified adoption of the latest multi-cloud, multi-vendor tools and services;
  • Guidance with optimizing IT spend in the cloud;
  • Need for enterprise-grade security tools;
  • Certified cloud expertise with AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform;
  • Managing interconnect services, the internet of things, edge services and Software as a Service offerings and
  • Facilitating growth without the need to over allocate resources (elasticity).

And there are still other factors to consider.

  • The modern cyber threat landscape requires a continuous approach to security, integrated at every level of the solution. This approach can be difficult to enable and requires specialized staff. Move to the cloud and let Rackspace do it for you.
  • Worry about Shadow IT, those IT-related functions that have somehow gone around IT governance controls and could threaten your regulatory compliance needs.
  • Need a professional assessment of your current workloads, systems and infrastructure? Assessment and design is part of our end-to-end approach to cloud solutions.
  • Want to bring the cross-platform tools and services you already use, avoiding the need to reconfigure your operations and steering clear of vendor/platform lock-in? Our agnostic approach to cloud deployments has you covered.

I think you see where this is going. Get out of the data center business… it’s dead already!


Learn more about our Data Center Breakout Solutions and free your IT infrastructure today.

Chris Christy, FACHE, serves as Director of Healthcare Solutions at Rackspace. He has been professionally engaged in Healthcare for 35 years, working in both hospitals and healthcare technology companies. He brings 16 years of healthcare provider industry experience and previously held administrative spots with nonprofit and for-profit healthcare systems. Chris served five years as Associate Administrator and Chief Operating Officer at several hospitals that were part of American Medical International, which became Tenet Healthcare Corporation. He also served nine years as Vice President for Professional Services at St. Paul Medical Center, a 600-bed facility in Dallas operated by the Daughters of Charity National Health System, now Ascension Health. In addition, he served two years as Regional Vice President for Emcare, Inc, a publicly traded Emergency Room physician group practice. Over the last 19 years, Chris has worked in the enterprise healthcare technology industry. At SAP, he was appointed Healthcare Principal and in 2011 he was named Executive Director for Accountable Care Organizations as a duel role. Subsequently, he also has had healthcare positions at Qlik Technologies and Oracle Corporation. He joined Rackspace in 2018. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served as an Adjunct Professor for Healthcare Strategic Planning at Texas Woman’s University in Dallas. He received his Master of Science in Public Health from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Columbia, Missouri.

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