Dominic Green, Sláinte Healthcare’s Integration Manager shares his thoughts on last month's inaugural Iguana User Conference in Toronto, Canada…
The inaugural Iguana User Conference was a small event, very focused on the sharing of ideas and experiences with a single product. This isn’t to say, however, that the 2 day event wasn’t at least as useful as the other types of mammoth shows we attend; it was more of a refreshing change.
While we didn’t come away with a huge list of prospective clients to follow-up, we did come away with 5 things:
A fascinating insight into the make-up of other Iguana users, including how they use their instances, the kind of problems they have faced (and the often supremely clever and innovative solutions) and reassurance that everyone faces similar issues when trying to solve complex integration requirements in healthcare.
- A true validation that the paths we are taking within our product development are both correct and at the leading edge of what the healthcare integration world is doing.
- A number of contacts, internationally, which could well lead to interesting business opportunities in the future.
- A huge number of ideas as to how to expand our use of Iguana to help our business grow and develop, both internally and externally.
- A great opportunity to meet and greet people, face to face, with whom we have been dealing with for a number of years.
None of these things should be underestimated. In the healthcare software world, unless your product suite is capable of interfacing (and well) with existing systems in the environment you are selling to, you will struggle as a company – whether you are a mega multinational or a one man band. Every RFP now will specifically dictate that your system be capable of interfacing natively and will frequently state the protocols and standards which must be supported. At Sláinte Healthcare, we have built our business around our expertise in leveraging a great piece of integration software to ensure we are able to take data from any digital source and re-use that data to streamline workflows. Conversely, we are able to export the data created in our systems to any system we have come across which is capable of taking a feed. If we couldn’t do this, we simply wouldn’t have survived this far and we certainly wouldn’t be Europe’s Fastest Growing Healthcare IT Company (Deloitte Fast 500 2012 EMEA).
That said, developing your integration capabilities in a vacuum isn’t smart. If you aren’t talking to other software developers in the industry, how can you adapt to changing market conditions? This event gave the users present the facility to exchange ideas freely, sharing their successes (and failures) for the benefit of all, without commercial interests getting in the way. In some ways, it felt like an amnesty.
The sharing of ideas was, due to the nature of the conference, restricted to iNTERFACEWARE’s Iguana. Giving customers ideas of how to use your product to solve specific business problem they are facing leads to future sales. Meeting user’s face to face assists in supporting them– people work so much better together once they have physically met (and perhaps shared a beer or two at the mid-conference social event).
The overall lesson from the Iguana User Conference is that getting users of your software together, even at your own expense, can have huge benefits for your business as a whole. A cycle can quickly develop: a feeling of community, leading to a sharing of ideas, leading to increased product up-take, leading to more users, increasing the community feeling. The event was a true success and one which a great deal more companies could benefit from emulating.