Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

The Coming $19B “Obama Flood” in EMR Software?

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My wife is a family practice physician. Her clinic, FINALLY, is installing an electronic medical records system. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt sick to my stomach while walking through her clinic looking at wall after wall of floor-to-ceiling files. It’s an in-your-face visual reminder of the information silos that prevent physicians from understanding a patient’s condition holistically & achieving better patient outcomes.

That’s why I’m a pretty big fan of Obama “calling the US healthcare system out” on being antiquated and ill-equipped to meet the needs of patients. From petty bickering keeping physicians from establishing common standards of care and treatment, to their all-to-often allergic reponse to technology, the time has long-since come for change.

And change does indeed seem to be on its way. In  fact, the mandates for change seem to be translating into a $19B “Obama Flood” of business for EMR software vendors and implementation specialists. And since often these systems are implemented (even at a small clinic) for more than $100K USD, there’s a lot of money about to change hands in pursuit of a much-needed modernization of our healthcare infrastructure.

I’ve been intrigued, as a procurement guy, how clinics and hospitals and other points-of-care are going about choosing their new systems. There seem to be a good number of website “lists” of EMR software systems available – and I think that’s a good thing. But I wonder if decisions like these are made more through face-to-face referrals from sources of trust. Even if so, some basic research by IT staff and clinic managers can ensure that organizations find the system that offers the best value and best matches their requirements.

How to buy complex systems in an opaque market, where vendors do not necessarily disclose complete information about their capabilities or their price, can be quite challenging. If you are currently researching an EMR system for your point-of-care facility, what are you doing to make sure you’ve found the right one?


Written by Dave Stephens

02/16/09 12:53 PM at 12:53 pm

Google Set To Bid On Spectrum

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Back in late July I wrote a quick entry about Google’s interest in the wireless spectrum auction to be conducted shortly. It’s here.

Marguerite Reardon has a write-up over at C|Net that makes some interesting assertions about how Google might use the spectrum should they win. It’s worth a read. The synopsis is that Google would shy away from becoming a nuts-and-bolts wireless operator and instead use the spectrum as a platform – enlisting a broader market & the inevitable competitive forces that come with it rather than going it alone.

It’s hard for me to see this as anything other than an insurance policy against all the advertising dollars moving from computers and laptops to phones. Just like the gphone specification & application foundation. But even without the altruism, it’s smart business.


Written by Dave Stephens

11/17/07 3:05 PM at 3:05 pm

Posted in Opinion

Why SEO Can Hurt Your Web Presence

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We (Coupa Software, my on demand e-Procurement company) just recovered from a really interesting journey down the rabbit hole. We got some pretty great advice from an SEO specialist on how to improve our search engine rankings so we’d be more “findable” for keywords we cared about.

So we built up a keyword list and proceeded to stack our web pages with keyword-matching content. And we really did improve in the rankings. But there’s a side effect you expose yourself to when you do this: you can lose the “soul” of your company. Said another way, if you are operating in competitive markets you can lose what is special about your company and its solutions.

Recently, we formally unveiled something Coupa had been working on for a long time – our on demand offering. And we re-did the website again – this time valuing visitors time more than SEO. The results are interesting. Web visitors are down marginally, and leads are down too. But the quality of leads is soaring & closed business is up.

What’s the lesson? Imho, brand identity can’t be sacrificed for site traffic.This isn’t an indictment against SEO – and truth be told we are now working to improve our rankings on the new site. But this time it’s with our eyes wide open – knowing that uniqueness in our market – and making information gathering incredibly convenient for our prospects and customers – trumps moving up a spot or two in the rankings.

No doubt there are folks that will read this and disagree viscerally to what I’m saying – but I sure believe this was a lesson worth sharing. Don’t sacrifice your brand for SEO – or you may find all your key marketing indicators are headed up while sales are diving down.


Written by Dave Stephens

11/11/07 9:25 PM at 9:25 pm

Posted in Opinion

iPhone Just Gets Better With Age

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Although Edge is still slow, most of us early iPhone adopters are pretty happy our phones seem to be aging well. First we got a pretty cool Ringtone maker (my favorite creation is from a notorious oldie called 1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, and 1 Beer), then we got the iTunes store, and pretty soon we’ll get a GPS chip. What?! Read about in Gizmodo (click the link it is worth it), and now we’ve got a hacked iPhone in the office that uses it. Really cool.

I just can’t wait for the 3rd party native apps to come rolling out. This thing is a juggernaut even if the US economy is teetering on the edge of the abyss.


Written by Dave Stephens

11/11/07 9:13 PM at 9:13 pm

Posted in Opinion

Wal-Mart Embraces Selling MP3 Songs For 94c Online

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WSJ and others report Wal-Mart has begun selling some songs and albums online the popular and DRM-free MP3 format. Previously they have sold online via Microsoft’s less-than-popular WMA format.

The pricing is what interests me most. Wal-Mart has entered at 94c whereas iTunes is charging 1.29. That’s a big % difference but still only couch change. We’ll see if, once there’s enough MP3 offered in iTunes and at if this changes market dynamics. It will also be interesting to see whether Wal-Mart’s decision gives Apple increased leverage in its future negotiations with the music labels.

One interesting note – while Wal-Mart may indeed be supporting a more open standard with MP3, it still likes PC’s better & blocks other operating systems from interacting with their online download services:

“We’re sorry, your operating system is incompatible. To provide the best download experience, we can no longer support Windows 98, ME or NT. Please visit again after you upgrade to Windows 2000 or XP. Visit our Help section for complete system requirements information.”

Hello Wal-Mart, it’s called a Mac! :)

Written by Dave Stephens

08/21/07 5:41 AM at 5:41 am

Posted in Opinion

iPhone – That Didn’t Take Long

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I recommend those interested in following how the iPhone is shaking up the mobile handset and mobile carrier market take a look at this ChangeWave report. Here are a few highlights:

  • 16% of those that planned to buy a new phone within 6 months were planning on buying the iPhone – the highest of any device or manufacturer. Motorola came in second with 14%
  • Of those who already purchased an iPhone 77% said that were “very satisfied” – the next closest, Blackberry / RIM, registered a likewise impressive 50% number
  • AT&T continues to benefit from the exclusive Apple relationship as “planned switchers” are coming in at 30% to AT&T whereas on 19% to Verizon

It’s still too early to call the iPhone a runaway success. But the fact that it is even registering alongside established vendors in surveys like these bodes well.

Voluntary disclosure – i hold a few shares of aapl stock, own an iPhone and am typing this into my MacBook :)

Written by Dave Stephens

08/13/07 8:41 AM at 8:41 am

Posted in Opinion

SaaS Growth Projections

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I’ve offered only modest prior endorsements of SaaS. But the movement has undeniably continued to gain momentum. A recent Gartner publication offers some additional data on SaaS progress. It projects 21% SaaS growth in the enterprise software space – totaling $5.7B for 2007.

The report does go into some detail around where SaaS has achieved good market penetration and where it has opportunities. A great example of a SaaS success is web conferencing software – what company in their right mind would want to run their own. Yet there are lots of nooks and crannies in enterprise software – and so many have gone un-touched – either because of a perceived need to differentiate through customization or simply because of market forces.

How SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft respond to the movement is still TBD – SAP has been clearest in its intentions – and though many see its response as incomplete – the other two behemoths seem to be either very cagey or whistling past the graveyard.

Written by Dave Stephens

08/13/07 7:19 AM at 7:19 am

Posted in Opinion