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CIO of healthcare giant drives the need for speed

Dan Roberts and Brian P. Watson | Dec. 18, 2015
Channeling deep experience in leading change programs, Stuart McGuigan is reshaping Johnson & Johnson’s digital approach to healthcare.

Each of the seven different technology platforms he’s focusing on — from 3D printing to better create products at the site of care, to data analytics, where J&J is building a veritable “census” of information on patient history and treatments, for example — could result in exponential improvements in patient care.

That’s the sense of what’s possible from the technology perspective. But there’s more. For years, J&J has thrived in a decentralized model, but leadership has driven a mandate to take advantage of its scope and scale to ensure that technology is a competitive advantage for all of its companies.

With that comes the need for speed, for better partnership across functions, and an increased focus on efficiency and consistency in the IT operation. At the beginning of his tenure at J&J, McGuigan focused on operational improvements, and, more recently, he led the implementation of DevOps and building a more agile culture to deliver those on those needs.

“Through consistency in execution, we get speed. And where we get speed, we get improved value,” McGuigan said. “And through standardization, we get consistency, we get quality, we improve delivery on all dimensions.”

Driving transformation

To help the company reach its aspirations in digital health, McGuigan has set goals for moving 85 percent of workloads to the cloud or cloud-based technologies by 2018, and in the same timeframe, to sunset, consolidate or move to SaaS approximately 40 percent of applications.

According to McGuigan, they’re ahead of schedule on those dimensions—and in implementing critical new technologies — but there’s still heavy lifting to be done in terms of scaling technology capabilities across the operating companies.

He also sees an increased appetite for change. Earlier in his tenure, McGuigan was pushing for change, but now he sees more of a pull. “We’ve been managing the rate of change capacity, as opposed to trying to push for change from the top-down,” McGuigan said. “Where people are driving their own change, and they’re seeing the benefits of what they’re doing, and they’re seeing improvements in our ability to deliver IT capabilities to our businesses and customers, that’s motivation in and of itself.”

Taking measure of McGuigan’s enormous responsibilities at J&J, it reminds us of a similarly hefty challenge he faced in a previous role. In late 2009, reflecting on the merger that created CVS Caremark (where he served as CIO until 2012), McGuigan highlighted how IT played an integral role in the combined company’s success well before the transaction took place. The vision for the new company, he explained, was to bring together all critical touch-points in the pharmacy ecosystem, from drug stores to retail clinics to customer call centers, and IT would be a major driver.


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