Do you understand your company's personality?

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Before he worked at the law firm, Caddell had a job in state government, which had another culture entirely.

Each employer has different values, and that means they have different ways of communicating about IT. At kCura, "we're in a growth stage, post-startup, and we have improved technology platforms to allow us to grow forward," Caddell says. "As we go from a company of 40 people a few years ago to 360 now and probably 700 two years from now, our infrastructure needs to keep pace so it doesn't sag under the weight."

At the law firm, the biggest value was rapid delivery. "That was definitely a culture of 'We need it done now!'" he says. "A lot of that is client-driven, so there's nothing wrong with that." In state government, the value was lowering costs, he adds. "A big part of the conversation was the reduction of full-time employees. So you had to understand that culture of cost-consciousness and how that factored into IT conversations."

Culture also determines which projects get done, and how quickly. Before he took his current job at the Abramson Center, Kelble's employer was a venture capital-backed, midsize firm. "It was grow, grow, grow," he says. "It was short term. 'We've got to get this up and running, we're going to be growing 50% in the next quarter.'"

As is common with VC-backed operations, the firm was acquired, IT departments were merged, and Kelble needed a new job. "I went looking for a way to get out of the VC rat race," he says. The Abramson Center was not only a completely different environment, it had different values as well. It's "a different, caring culture, not only for patients, but also employees," he says.

Kelble was hired with a mandate to upgrade the Abramson Center's IT architecture, something the center's leadership knew was needed. "So far, even though it's a nonprofit and budgets are tight, they've listened to what I have to say," Kelble says. In fact, he notes, "I've been here just over two years, and I've made more infrastructure changes that will be capitalized over three to four years than I did in the five years I was at the other company."

That has changed Kelble's approach to the healthcare industry as a whole. "I take a longer view," he says. "Although the other company was also in the healthcare field, I look at what's happening in healthcare much more than I did before, as well as what's going to happen five and 10 years from now. I ask how I can build for the future."

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