HIMSS was a blast – I’m just back into the swing of things again in Toronto. For the last two weeks I’ve been busy interviewing developers – I guess I ought to delegate that task. But the choice of people you hire seems to be one of the most important things one can do in a software company so I still like to be hands on in this area. If you know anyone, we’re looking for people with top notch C++ skills and/or web interface AJAX type skillsets (it’s odd to get these two skill sets together so we’ll consider either or).
Thanks to everyone that made the effort to visit us at HIMSS and I apologize for some of you who dropped by when I was busy during demos. We got a lot more traffic than we anticipated and think most of us didn’t get the time to walk the floor, etc. as much as we hoped. Next time we’ll staff the booth up more – it felt hard to step away.
I guess for me it was a clear validation we’d picked the right strategy with our focus on Iguana 4.0. Over the last year and half I spent an awful lot of time talking to customers, understanding where the practical issues occur and figuring out how we could solve them. Inside the company we spent hours agonizing over the UI and usability issues. To be honest, I was not certain if customers would value all the effort we put into the product in that area – but to judge from the reaction at HIMSS we got an overwhelming vote of confidence.
I think my favorite comment from HIMSS was from when the folks from Tata Consulting dropped by and said that you really had to see Iguana 4.0 to believe how good it was. I think their comment was that of the 10 problems they saw with Iguana 3.3.2, every single one of them had been resolved in Iguana 4.0.
I noticed three big trends at HIMSS.
The first one is that there are a lot of vendors out in the market that already do “speak HL7” using homegrown interfaces. The problem is that when these firms get really successful they are finding huge stress in scaling their site implementation operations. These homegrown interfaces are adequate when a firm isn’t making that many deployments and the guy that wrote the interface is doing the implementations. But when a team of people are trying to use these interfaces the awkwardness of configuring, monitoring and maintaining these interfaces becomes a big costly bottleneck. Iguana 4.0 with its intuitive interface and all its features really hits a chord with these companies.
The next big trend was the huge numbers of companies that are offering the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Iguana is an awesome solution for this market since it’s so darn efficient. For me personally, as someone having an unhealthy obsession with optimization, this is one area I find really interesting. Iguana 4.0 is just so ridiculously efficient it’s the best solution on the market for anyone running a centralized data center that needs to do HL7 integration. I’ve been talking with a lot with our customers that run Iguana instances with up to 160 channels per Iguana instance and working to come up with creative little features that make running a large HL7 data center easy – lots of little touches – more about that later.
The third trend were hospitals and large clinics that simply didn’t have interface engines or were looking to replace their legacy circa 90’s technology engines. It seems that they’ve just all been quietly watching, seeing us grow and develop. Iguana 4.0 seemed to cross a threshold where suddenly it meets the requirements for everything that a hospital needs in an interface engine.
Iguana is not only a much easier to use product than the traditional big players in this market – but it comes in at a much more affordable price – you don’t need to give your first born as a down payment. I think a big reason for this is that we’ve never had a ‘top-down’ sales model – i.e. where we pitch the value of Iguana to the CTO on the golf course followed up with PowerPoint slides who then writes a check for half a million and forces the poor techies to use it. We’ve always had a bottom-up type sales approach where technical people download our product, evaluate it on its technical merits and then try and convince their bosses to buy it. You can’t sell a product for as much money that way – but we have the satisfaction of knowing that our customers really use our products.
My three-year-old son Liam’s favorite part of HIMSS though was a bit of swag I picked up that had a flashing blue led in it. He calls it his special blue flashlight.