IT-Controlling in context of Healthcare

IT-Controlling Basics

In the realm of healthcare software, IT-Controlling assumes a critical role in ensuring the effective utilization of IT resources to enhance patient care, streamline processes, and meet regulatory requirements. It covers the planning, monitoring, and governance of IT endeavors within healthcare organizations as hospitals. Within this context, IT-Controlling could mean creating strategies that fit the unique needs of an effective utilization of healthcare related software, like electronic health records (EHR) systems, telemedicine platforms and medical imaging software such as Radiology Information Systems (RIS) and Picture Archive and Communication Systems (PACS).

The fundamentals of IT-Controlling include defining IT strategies and objectives, developing budgets and resource plans for IT projects, measuring, and evaluating the performance of the respective IT departments and implementing control mechanisms to ensure compliance, security, and quality in the IT environment. Moreover, control mechanisms are essential to ensure compliance with national and European healthcare regulations, safeguard patient data, and maintain the integrity of medical information systems. By integrating IT-Controlling principles into healthcare software management, organizations can optimize their technology investments, leading to significantly improved patient care and further reaching operational efficiency.

Goals of IT-Controlling

IT-controlling aims to optimize resource utilization, ensure budget and schedule compliance, enhance quality and security, minimize risks, maximize the benefits of software investments, improve transparency and control over licenses and expenditure, and establish effective governance structures for software development. Efficient resource utilization involves allocating IT resources effectively to maximize productivity and cost-effectiveness. Budget and schedule compliance ensure projects adhere to allocated resources and timelines, preventing cost overruns and delays. Quality and security measures maintain software standards and protect against threats. Risk mitigation involves identifying and managing risks related to technology, compliance, cybersecurity, and business continuity. Maximizing software investment benefits entails aligning them with business objectives, optimizing utilization, and measuring their impact on performance. Transparency and control over licenses and expenditure involve tracking and managing software assets and costs, ensuring compliance, and optimizing expenditure. Effective governance structures establish policies, procedures, and oversight mechanisms for software development, promoting alignment with business goals and regulatory requirements. In other words, IT-controlling plays a vital role in supporting organizational objectives, enhancing efficiency, managing risks, and maximizing the value of IT investments. By focusing on these objectives, organizations can improve competitiveness, agility, and innovation while minimizing costs and risks associated with IT operations and projects. Another important goal of IT-Controlling is to contribute to the quality and profitability of the software deployed. By using quality management processes such as code reviews, automated tests and continuous improvement, software quality can be continuously monitored and improved, overall leading to a high sense of safety, especially when we are talking about deployment in a healthcare environment. Higher software quality usually leads to higher satisfaction and lower support costs, as fewer errors and problems occur. In addition, investing in technical training and development tools can help increase developer productivity and improve the profitability of software development by shortening development times and reducing costs. By providing high-quality and profitable software, organizations can strengthen their market position and ensure long-term business success.

Types of IT-Controlling

There are different types of IT-Controlling, each of which operates at different application levels. At a strategic level, strategic IT-Controlling deals with the development of IT strategies and objectives that ensure the long-term alignment of IT with the company’s goals. At the operational level, operational IT-Controlling concentrates on the implementation of these strategies through the planning and management of IT projects, resource allocation and budgeting. At the latter level, the focus of operational IT-Controlling is on monitoring and optimizing ongoing IT operations, including performance analysis, security controls and quality management. Each level of IT-Controlling plays an important role in ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of a company’s IT resources and activities in line with corporate objectives.

Strategic IT-Controlling

Strategic IT-Controlling is a crucial component for aligning IT with the long-term goals and strategic visions of a company. At this level, the focus is on setting a clear direction for IT development and ensuring that the IT strategy is closely linked to the company’s goals. The purpose of strategic IT-Controlling is to create a framework that guides the development and utilization of IT resources in a way that helps the company gain competitive advantage and strengthen its position in an ever-changing market. The approach to strategic IT-Controlling typically involves analyzing the current IT landscape, identifying opportunities and risks, developing long-term IT strategies and plans, and regularly reviewing and adapting these strategies in line with changing business requirements and external circumstances. Strategic IT-Controlling is crucial to ensure that IT acts as a strategic partner to the company and makes a measurable value contribution to the achievement of corporate goals.

Operational IT-Controlling

Operational IT-Controlling operates at the level of a company’s ongoing IT activities and processes. Its main purpose is to ensure the efficiency, performance and security of the IT infrastructure and systems. This is done by monitoring, analyzing, and controlling various aspects of IT operations. The aim of operational IT-Controlling is to optimize the availability, reliability and performance of IT services and ensure that they meet business requirements. Typical tasks of operational IT-Controlling include monitoring system performance, managing software licenses, implementing security measures, carrying out incident and problem management and monitoring service level agreements (SLAs). The approach to operational IT-Controlling involves continuously monitoring and analyzing collected data and metrics, identifying deviations and problems, developing, and implementing measures to solve problems and improve performance, and regularly reporting to management on the status and performance of IT systems. Operational IT-Controlling is crucial to ensuring smooth and efficient IT operations and minimizing downtime, which in turn supports the company’s productivity and competitiveness.

Project related IT-Controlling

Project-related IT-Controlling concentrates on the planning, monitoring, and management of IT projects. At this level, the focus is on ensuring that IT projects are carried out effectively and that the defined objectives are achieved, be it the implementation of new systems, the introduction of new software solutions or the updating of existing IT infrastructure. The purpose of project-related IT-Controlling is to optimize project performance, minimize risks and ensure that projects are completed within budget and on time. The aim is to ensure the success of the project and create measurable added value for the company. The approach to project-based IT-Controlling includes defining project goals and requirements, developing project budgets and plans, regularly monitoring, and controlling project progress, identifying risks and problems, and implementing corrective, preventive and/or optimizing measures to solve problems and improve performance. Through project-related IT-Controlling, companies can ensure that their IT projects are carried out efficiently and deliver the desired benefits, which in turn contributes to increasing a company’s competitiveness and expected success.

Increasing efficiency during development

A key objective of IT-Controlling in connection with software development is undoubtedly to increase efficiency throughout the entire development process. This involves optimizing workflows, resource utilization and schedules in order to increase productivity and shorten development cycles. Imagine a company developing a new mobile application. By using effective project management standards such as SCRUM or KANBAN, the team can organize tasks optimally, track work progress and overcome obstacles quickly. Regular controlling meetings are also used for this purpose, which can range from daily to monthly.

Graphics can provide a clear visualization here. For example, a Gantt chart or a so-called burn-down chart can visualize the progress of different phases over time, allowing team members and stakeholders to better understand how the respective process is unfolding and which tasks need to be completed in which time frame.

In addition, the automation of development processes through the use of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) tools enables faster and more reliable provision of software updates and changes. By using automated test suites, errors can be detected and rectified at an early stage, which in turn improves the quality of the software and reduces the need for time-consuming manual testing.

Increased efficiency during development also means improved collaboration between different teams and stakeholders. By using collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack or Jira, developers, designers, testers and product managers can communicate more effectively, share ideas and work together to solve problems. This reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and increases the speed of development.

Ultimately, efficient software development helps to bring products to market faster. Companies can therefore react more flexibly to changing market conditions and strengthen their competitiveness.

Risk management and risk mitigation

In the context of IT-controlling, rigorous risk mitigation and management are imperative to preemptively address potential threads and maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of software products. One critical area of concern involves the implementation of vital software updates, where errors or vulnerabilities could lead to system downtime or security breaches. To mitigate such risks, robust change management procedures are indispensable, ensuring meticulous planning and testing to ensure seamless updates.

Continuous monitoring is equally vital within IT-controlling, facilitating early detection of anomalies or deviations from expected performance metrics. This proactive monitoring enables swift intervention to counteract minor issues from escalating into major failures. Alongside change management and monitoring, regular security audits and penetration testing play pivotal roles in risk mitigation. These assessments identify and rectify security weaknesses before they can be exploited by malicious entities, bolstering the resilience of software systems against cyber threats.

Furthermore, close compliance to regulatory frameworks such as the Network and Information Systems Directive (NIS2) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is paramount. Given the stringent requirements outlined in these regulations, effective IT-controlling involves meticulous compliance monitoring and enforcement. This ensures that software aligns with legal standards and safeguard sensitive data, mitigating the risk further of regulatory non-compliance and associated penalties especially in regard to GDPR.

IT-Controlling roles

In IT-Controlling, various roles play an important role in the effective planning, management and monitoring of a company’s IT resources and activities:

IT Controller: The IT controller is responsible for the development and implementation of IT-Controlling strategies and processes. They monitor budgets, analyze costs and key performance indicators and support management in making IT decisions.

IT Manager: IT managers play a key role in the coordination and management of IT projects. They are responsible for the implementation of IT strategies, the provision of resources and the monitoring of project progress. In practice, this role can and often is taken over by the role of SCRUM master or senior project manager.

IT Auditors: IT auditors are responsible for checking compliance with internal and external regulations and best practices in the IT area. They carry out regular audits to assess the effectiveness of IT systems and processes and identify potential risks.

Data Protection Officers: Data Protection Officers are responsible for ensuring compliance with data protection laws, in particular the GDPR and NIS2 Directive, and for ensuring the protection of personal data within the company. They support the development of data protection guidelines, monitor data processing operations, and conduct data protection training.

IT Security officers: Security officers are responsible for implementing security measures in the company’s IT infrastructure. They identify security risks, develop security policies and procedures, and monitor compliance with security standards. This role also carries out regular penetration tests and other tests to ensure that IT security is maintained to a sufficient level.

The collaboration of these different roles ensures holistic management and governance of IT to support a company’s business objectives and minimize risks.

In conclusion, IT-Controlling plays a pivotal role in the healthcare sector, ensuring efficient resource utilization, compliance with regulations, and optimization of technology investments. Through strategic, operational, and project-related IT-Controlling, organizations can enhance efficiency, manage risks, and maximize the value of IT initiatives. By prioritizing risk management, efficient software development practices, and collaboration among diverse roles, IT-Controlling contributes to the success and competitiveness of healthcare organizations in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Author’s Appeal

Captivated by the pivotal role of IT-Controlling, especially within the dynamic landscape of the healthcare sector?

We warmly invite you to join enriching conversations with us at LIT Health and to gain deeper insights into this vital aspect of IT Controlling and healthcare management in general.

Don’t hesitate to reach out and engage in an enlightening dialogue.

List of references

Gadatsch, Andreas. „IT-Controlling.“ Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Sankt Augustin. 

Weber, Peter. „IT-Controlling.“ Fachhochschule Südwestfalen, Faculty of Electrical Power Engineering. 

„IT-Controlling.“ Wikipedia. 

Klempien, Dana. „IT-Controlling.“ Controllingportal. 

Nasca, Deborah. „IT-Controlling.“ EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht. 

„Entwicklung von Softwareprodukten: komplett oder teilweise auslagern.“ ScienceSoft. 

Schnurpfeil, Tim. „Der Fokus des zukünftigen IT-Controllings liegt auf wertorientiertem Performance Management.“ PwC. 

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