Stephen Gold Drives Technology Innovation For CVS Caremark
Stephen Gold has one of the best resumes in IT. He has been the CIO of a number of major companies including Avaya, GSI Commerce, Merck, and Medco Health Solutions. His combination of healthcare, technology, and eCommerce experience have all been leveraged upon joining $127 billion revenue CVS Caremark as its senior vice president and chief information officer in July 2012.
Having made a number of prominent transitions in his career, he has codified some practical insights on how to ensure one’s transition to a new role is as productive as possible. The strategy that he put in place early in his tenure at CVS Caremark is laudable for its clarity and the degree to which it suggests that IT will be a prominent driver of value to the pharmaceutical retail and health services behemoth that currently ranks as the 12th largest publicly traded company in the United States. CVS Caremark operates in an industry that is in flux, and Gold sees technology at the heart of much of that change and the associated opportunities that the change will continue to create.
(To listen to an unabridged interview with Steve Gold, please click this link. This the 17th article in the CIO’s First 100 Days series. To read other 16 interviews in the series, please visit this link. To read future articles in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)
Peter High: Steve, I thought we’d begin with an overview of your current role at CVS Caremark. Can you talk to us a bit about the responsibilities of Chief Information Officer?
Stephen Gold: At the highest level, my role is to oversee and to drive the IT transformation of CVS Caremark so that we can continue to lead with what we call ability and agility.
Specifically, we own and operate the CVS/pharmacy retail stores that everybody knows. We own and operate CVS Caremark, a very large and successful prescription benefit management service, and own and operate MinuteClinic, our retail medical clinic business.
We have the ability and the expertise to not only operate those businesses independently, but, more importantly, to combine those assets strategically in a unique way that delivers unique value.
Our agility is rooted in combining these assets in a unique way. The health care marketplace is undergoing significant change which means that we have to maintain the agility and nimbleness necessary to respond to those changes while continuing to deliver strong results and keeping our commitments to our customers.
So, my job is to deliver the IT transformation that is aligned with the business strategy and built on that theme of continuing to win with ability and agility. More specifically, I’m the SVP and CIO here at the company and most senior IT executive. I’m also a member of our executive committee that governs the organization. I’m responsible for all aspects of technology enterprise wide, and in addition to that, we’re starting to build out some shared services beyond just IT functions.
For example, we’re building an enterprise project office. We have transformed project management in the company; now not only are we using those techniques for IT projects, but for business projects as well. We’re also doing some hiring now with the quality office, again starting it inside the IT organization and eventually using it to engineer quality into all of the work that we do. We are also focusing on a data office as a partnership between my most senior technical data leader and his corresponding leader on the business side, and they’re jointly developing the next generation of data strategy for the corporation.
Additional topics covered in the article include:
- You have had an interesting journey along the course of your career. You began as a programmer and worked your way all the way up to chief information officer now at multiple major corporations. Can you talk a bit about that journey?
- As somebody who has had a first hundred days as CIO multiple times and in such a wide array of environments, I’d be interested to know what is common, what are the first things that you always have done versus those things that maybe you’ve improved based on just having more and more experience and knowledge?
- What metrics do you use to gauge progress?
- Steve, I’m also interested in your approach to strategy. Can you talk a bit about how you formulate IT strategy, how you ensure there’s appropriate linkage with the rest of the organization’s plans, and how you’ve acted upon this plan for the strategic pillars for instance?