STEM Pros:

Max Elsass: IT Enterprise Architect

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Please provide a summary of your job or research. What is an average day like? What are some duties performed?

As an IT Enterprise Architect focusing on the Business Domain of Enterprise Architecture, I spend my days meeting with people all across the Medical Center who might be able to use technology to do their work better. I speak with them and the people who share in the same problem to understand the issue, the impacts of the issue, and how technology might be able to be employed to make things easier for anyone. Then, I document the learnings, and potential solutions, and take that information to technical and project leadership so we can take action and improve everyone’s experience at the Medical Center.

What is your educational background and what prompted you to go this direction?

I went to Miami University (in Ohio, not Florida!) and majored in Marketing and minored in Decision Sciences (business statistics).  From there, I worked at digital marketing agencies which really gave me deep experience in web and digital projects. Eventually, I made it to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center as the product owner for their website and mobile application where I also took advantage of the tuition reimbursement benefit to get my MBA from the Fisher College of Business.

What have you struggled with or overcome in your educational path or life path to get to this point?

I have never been a developer, or written code for money, but I did start building my own websites using things like Angelfire and Geocities in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s using very basic HTML. While working in digital marketing agencies, I also took some time to learn some SQL, which is a very common language for interacting with databases. Once I learned some SQL, combined with my prior knowledge and experience, the world of software opened up for me and made so many things click in my head. I attribute that “click” from learning a little SQL to a lot of my professional success!

What is the best part of your job/research?

Making changes that actually help people, and that you can see people using. I have been fortunate to impact things like how people find location information on the website, message their doctors more easily on a mobile app, or working with clinicians and technical experts to help them care for patients better.

What is the worst part?

Sometimes it can be challenging to figure out how to get stuff done in a large, complex, multi-faceted organization but my perseverance and ability to figure out how navigate our organization is also something I have learned to enjoy!

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Helping something “click” for someone. People often think technology is a magical black box but if you can break it down for them to its base components in a way the customer understands, you see that lightbulb come on. Then you get to have a great conversation about how to really fix a problem.

What has changed about your profession in the past ten years?

So much but also so little! From my web/digital work – the presence of phones. You didn’t even need to think about how to make websites work well on phones until 2012-ish but now everything is “mobile-first!” There have also been so many changes on the way you can track and measure how users move through internet and phone applications that are so crucial to understand when you’re managing large digital properties! But when it comes to software, it’s still generally the same, the way you determine requirements, develop, test, and deploy applications remains similar.

What do you think will change in the next ten?

Even more stuff on your phones! More privacy protections for the consumer! I hope to see us make a lot of advancements in the smart hospital and virtual visit space for my work!