Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Future of Healthcare Runs on an iPad

The iPad has taken the healthcare industry by storm. In only 20 months since its launch, it has spread virally throughout clinics and hospitals in the US as well as around the world.

In fact, Tim Cook, the new CEO of Apple recently stated “over 80 percent of the top hospitals in the US are now testing or piloting iPad.” Other studies have shown that over a third of US doctors have fully implemented the iPad with another third are very close behind. These are impressive numbers for an industry known to be a laggard when it comes to technology.

With over 300 EMR companies scrambling to build mobile versions of their software as well as stimulus from governments around the world, this trend will undoubtedly continue. In the US, a free EMR app (native to the iPad) was recently certified for “Meaningful Use” allowing doctors who store and track patient data access to $44,000 in federal incentives.

EMR adoption still faces numerous challenges around the world including patient privacy, data security, resistance to change as well as cost of initial conversion of records. Recent versions of the iPad have delivered improved security such as more robust password handling and remote wipe. This has allowed Integrators to support the device in full HIPAA and HITECH compliant projects.

Experts are recommending an optimal security solution that is server based architecture with the iPad as a dumb terminal. Ensuring that the wireless access is securely encrypted and protected and patient records do not reside anywhere but on the server. Over time this will transition to the cloud, but major organizations are still building back-office infrastructure for compliance purposes.

iPads are also being used in other creative places in healthcare. For patients, they can act as a source of entertainment or distraction, providing a way for those who are bed-bound to browse the web, engage in social media, play games or watch a movie comfortably and privately. Doctors can use them to consult more easily while out of office as patient records are more convenient and accessible. Doctors are also using them as bedside education tools as well as registration and self-triage.

Integrators in the AV industry already have numerous solutions built on the iPad and these can now be ported into the healthcare industry. With over a million of these devices in healthcare organizations already, now is the time to deploy solutions that can make patient care more effective and productive.

Popular solutions include panels in the clinic room (projecting from the iPad) to self-service kiosks for registration and self-triage. The opportunities are endless for driving better patient outcomes as well as lowering the cost of providing healthcare. There is now a dedicated healthcare App store on iTunes that is quietly attracting thousands of developers.

Another trend following iPad adoption in healthcare is the increased use of smartphones. A recent study looking at doctors and residents found that 85% owned a smartphone and 56% of them reported using it in clinical practice. Age played a major factor with 70% of residents using their smartphone clinically, while only 39% of doctors practicing for more than 15 years reported the same.

For both iPads and smartphones, there is a significant difference between healthcare specialties. For example, only 52% of younger surgeons reported using their smartphone clinically, despite an ownership rate of 98%.

Integrators in the healthcare industry can expect the trend of consumerization to accelerate into the future. Healthcare professionals will continue to demand greater levels of integration with all of the technology in the environment, from medical devices and equipment, printers, scanners, computers and AV equipment.

This is an opportunity for Integrators to drive solutions that include a unique packaging of hardware, software and services.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bring Your Own Device & Apps: The Consumerization of Healthcare Is Happening Now

If you haven’t been following the debate on BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – you soon will.  The debate was fueled by the rapid and surprising success of $300 Netbooks four years ago. IT providers as well as AV integrators were successful, for the most part, in keeping those consumer devices off the corporate network due to lack of security, manageability and weak horsepower.

Fast forward four years and the healthcare environment is changing significantly. Connectivity is moving towards ubiquity, the cloud business model is real and the tablet was released in 2009 that forever changed the hardware landscape.

The tablet market is growing at a dizzying pace. Gartner is calling for 294 million units worldwide within four years, while Forrester is expecting 82 Million of them in the U.S. alone by 2015.  Apple commands almost 90% share, but more than 125 other tablets have come to market by mid-2011.  In fact, recent studies have shown a quarter of all physicians in the US already using the iPad, with a commanding 79% preferring that over other tablet brands.

Some of the early limitations of tablets, like the Netbooks before them, included lack of security, manageability and compatibility.  Newer devices have improved and now offer PKI authentication certificates, biometrics and remote wipe capabilities making them acceptable to many health organizations.  One lesser known limitation is if the device is subject to a legal hold – the health organization is in a legal dispute of some kind – the end user will lose the device for an extended and unpredictable amount of time.

The story isn’t just about integrating and managing secondary and tertiary devices from the consumer market.  Industry experts as well as futurists are calling for more devices, perhaps dozens per individual, gaining access to each medical office.

What is BYOA?

The consumerization of IT isn’t just about hardware – we are at the beginning of another interesting trend:  BYOA – Bring Your Own App.  Some have predicted that the explosion of over 1 million apps may spell the end of the traditional desktop internet.  While that is likely premature, apps could provide some real advantages in the healthcare industry including cutting down on training time, allowing health professionals to feel more invested, and replacing costly software licensing with cheaper apps.

However, there are several issues with BOA including:
  • ·         Compliance and regulations with regards to HIPAA, HITECH and others
  • ·         Security of the data on public clouds and intermixing with consumer data
  • ·         Portability of the output – getting the data back if something happens to company
  • ·         Information fragmentation – decentralized data across hundreds of data centers and apps

We are already seeing examples where corporate communication has been fragmented into public clouds including personal email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and a growing number of other social media tools.  As other app categories get more popular, such as practice management, human resources and expense reporting, integrators and IT personnel will be challenged with supporting this rapidly growing ecosystem.

It is an opportunity

IT and AV professionals will be crucial in managing this complexity of dozens of devices and perhaps hundreds of apps per person.  The necessity to collect and securely display the output of these applications pervasively throughout the health environment will be critical.  New services and practices will evolve that focus on enhanced security layers, compliance, data organization, data protection and vendor management in this increasingly fragmented world.  New revenue models will also evolve including micropayments by device and app – in many cases, pennies per month per individual.

To be effective in managing this potential chaos and, more importantly, profiting from it, integrators will need to have built a solid business foundation with predictable and repeatable business workflows.  Without “off the shelf” solutions, the level of complexity as well as the new micro-financial model could add significant risk.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ChannelEyes: Early ChannelEyes Signups Reveal Interesting Indus...

ChannelEyes: Early ChannelEyes Signups Reveal Interesting Indus...: Teaser website growing at a viral rate, revealing key Channel alliances ChannelEyes today announced new Industry Trending data from i...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Autotask takes the show on the road – Launches 15 city “On Tour” in September!

Jay McBain, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Community
July 26, 2011

One of the most common requests by the 700 attendees at Autotask Community Live! 2011 was to be able to engage Autotask more than once a year. Several people commented that they wished their entire staff was in Miami to learn more about the solution and interact with peers in the industry.

The feedback received in our post-event survey says it all:
• 97% plan to return to Autotask Community Live! 2012
• 92% will action a new feature in Autotask
• 85% willing to be a reference in the new Referral program (earning up to $1000 uncapped!)
• 90% interested in local User Groups

In the past, Autotask has embarked on several local events including sales road shows, product “jam sessions”, user groups and regional boot camps. We are now consolidating all four into a 15 city tour that includes business building keynotes, vendor integrations, customer best practices, product updates and roadmaps, user groups, as well as boot camps in 4 cities across the US.

The 15 cities on stage 1 of the tour are:

Cincinnati – Sept 13
*Indianapolis – Sept 20
Minneapolis – Sept 22
*NY/NJ – Oct 4
Tampa – Oct 6
Toronto – Oct 12
Washington, DC – Oct 13
Atlanta – Oct 18
Boston – Oct 20
Seattle – Nov 8
San Francisco – Nov 10
*LA/Orange County – Nov 15
Phoenix – Nov 17
Denver – Dec 6
*Dallas – Dec 8

*Boot camp locations (day before above dates)

We are looking to engage local Autotask users as well as those in the market for IT Business software (PSA – Professional Services Automation) in these regions. The agenda will be action packed and will be focused on sharing best practices from local Autotask MVP’s, technical specialists, as well as User Group leaders.


Register now!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Future: A world with 100,000 Channel vendors?

Jay McBain, Senior Vice President, Autotask Corporation

What does a Channel look like that has 100,000 vendors? With all of the talk about mergers, acquisitions and disruptive cloud business models, the pundits have predicted a consolidation in IT vendors over the next couple of years.

I strongly believe the opposite will happen.

Here are 8 reasons why:

1. The barrier to entry is approaching zero. Ubiquitous connectivity driving thousands of inexpensive purpose-built devices supports a cloud environment where traditional research, development, manufacturing and distribution costs evaporate. Highly specialized “apps” solve specific problems and grow organically through word of mouth and unique marketing techniques.

2. A “good enough” philosophy has driven the software industry for decades – this doesn’t improve in the cloud, but in fact gets worse as different business models emerge. Specializations by industry, technology, geography, language, demographics, business models and cost drive the amount of permutations and combinations up substantially.

3. The emergence of freemium price strategies and recurring micropayments attract a new generation of entrepreneurs who grew up in the iTunes generation. The Long Tail of vendors will continue to grow as new monetization scenarios evolve. In a world where the number of eyeballs rule, media and ad supported companies will flourish (check out Spiceworks)

4. Consumerization in the enterprise. Again, somewhat generational is the change of
perception of what makes up a commercial level product versus a consumer one. As a category commoditizes, the price drops dramatically and the device become disposable. The same can happen for software in the cloud, as prices reach zero the category becomes transient in nature.

5. Social media is driving the cost of marketing towards zero. One intelligent and savvy professional can appear like an army and participate in hundreds of conversations per day. While not the top influencer of behavior, social filters are quickly growing in importance in the business community and will take top spot within 3 years.

6. Communities and peer networks have grown in the past 2 years to become the top influencer of business customer buying behavior (Channel behavior as well). Participating in communities does not carry the cost of traditional Channel marketing, but again takes a small number of savvy, plugged in extroverts who appear larger than life.

7. Connectors rule. With thousands of vendors, the importance of social media and communities will continue to grow. When people experience information overload, the common reaction is to shut down and seek out personal filters – even if those filters come from your competitor. Connectors have an innate skill of piecing together a complex ecosystem and making the right social connections. They are usually not technical experts – but relationship experts.

8. With a growing number of communities spread across industry, technology, geography and business model, multiplied by the growing number of communication vehicles ranging from 140 character tweets to multi-day major events, Dandelion Marketing will win the day. Another example of a low cost marketing model, the marketer will pervasively engage in hundreds, if not thousands, of conversations every day. Adding value as opposed to selling, and making the right connections without regard to success or failure of each seed will make these marketers stand out on top.

Now, some of the proof points:

The predictions above are not based on fuzzy math or some level of quantum mechanics. They are simply an extension of trends that are already apparent.

The first example is on the technology vertical side – specifically, CRM. broke this category wide open but quickly was challenged by over 1,000 competitors. Every single vendor in this space has built a differentiated value proposition, based on some of the things I mentioned above such as industry, product scope, price and customer business model as well as about a dozen more points of specialization.

CRM is the first of more than 40 technology categories that will reach multi-billion dollar status and thousands of competitors.

The second example is in the healthcare industry vertical. The buzz over the past few years has centered around Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and the stimulus funding in the United States. We quickly saw 300 viable EMR solutions surface in the US, with hundreds more coming to market each year that further specialize into the hundreds of niches in this highly regulated market.
EMR is only one category of medical software, with practice management and all of the specialized tools driving better patient outcomes. It is safe to say that there are thousands of vendors already in this industry and things really get interesting when you start to look at the other 26 major industries.

That is how we start to approach 100,000 Channel vendors – 40 technology verticals (and growing) as well as 27 industry specialties. This does not include language variations, government, or geographic specific applications as well as the consumerization of the workplace that will potentially include thousands of consumer applications being run alongside these business applications (read as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.)

This inevitability leads to significant opportunity for the Channel. Beyond the obvious vendor management opportunities, the skills to navigate this vast marketplace and provide sage guidance to small and medium businesses will be a core competency in a world with 100,000 vendors.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Future: Pervasive Computing in Healthcare

Jay McBain, Senior Vice President, Autotask Corporation

Much of the focus around the modernization of the healthcare facility has been around software, specifically the impact of Electronic Health Records, as well as government regulation, legislation, and stimulus funding. There is another trend that may have even a larger impact for Integrators and Solution Providers longer term: the explosion of internet-connected devices in delivering better healthcare outcomes.

Last year represented a tipping point for how technology will be used from a personal standpoint, in business, as well as governments and healthcare. The convergence of ubiquitous connectivity and cloud computing has one simple and very exciting output: the explosion of hardware gadgets we will use to access it anywhere and anytime.

On the hardware side, the following milestones have given strength to the pervasive computing argument:

1. The evolution of the cell phone into an all-in-one multimedia, gaming, social media, content and business access device.
2. The Netbook craze a few years ago, convincing millions of users that an inexpensive secondary or tertiary device is useful given the right environment.
3. The Tablet, namely the iPad, with sales of 15 million units over the first few months and projections of 50 million this year.

In the healthcare environment, whether at a hospital, clinic or home, almost every device that is plugged into electricity or running on battery power is now being offered (or being planned) with a WiFi option. It is becoming obvious that the health record will evolve to accept inputs beyond the keyboard.

Wikipedia currently defines 46 major categories for medical devices – and growing. In an average clinic, the examination room will likely have 20 devices interconnected to the personal health record within 5 years. From simple blood pressure units to complex anesthesia units, the amount of data collected will grow exponentially.

For the Integrator or Solution Provider, this presents both opportunities and challenges. As the amount of data grows, as will the requirement to monitor and share it both visually as well as auditorily. Even the smallest clinic will need audio/video installations in every room as well as the lobby for registration and self-triage. Making sure these 20 devices interoperate, are compliant with legislation such as HIPAA and HITECH, as well as secure and remotely manageable provide incredible new opportunity.

One of the challenges will be managing the consumerization of technology. With the growth of home healthcare, as well as rapidly shrinking barriers to entry, each device category may have dozens, if not hundreds, of choices for the doctor, administrator or consumer. Imagine the aisles at your local big box store being filled with these products, and much like the iPad, the technology will start to leak into the healthcare environment. Consumer technology rarely has the build quality, warranty, security and manageability of commercial grade technology and having it show up in a mission critical environment like a healthcare facility will likely result in unintended outcomes.

Convergence of technologies like mobility, connectivity, cloud and pervasive devices will drive significant opportunity for those Integrators or Solution Providers that figure out how to monetize it. The days of doing on premise network installs, supporting it through services or per device (or person) recurring revenue, and making margin on hardware and software will continue to decline over the next 10 years. In fact, the value is shifting to the front-end, where consulting, design, architecture, compliance and project management will provide the main source of income.

While the quantity of devices per customer will grow exponentially, the revenue opportunity per device will decline even more rapidly. In a pervasive world, the cost per devices shrinks to the point where extended warranty contracts or per device management becomes irrelevant. As more value is delivered through the cloud, the 20 devices, including audio/video, just become disposable conduits.

A final caution is that this is a gradual process. 20 medical devices in 5 years is the prediction, but the transformation of the healthcare industry itself is on a longer 10-15 year trajectory. Understanding these changes and how they apply to this industry is the first step. Next step, is a plan for your business to start capitalizing on the front end: your experience, guidance and industry thought leadership.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Autotask CommunITy 2.0
Jay McBain, Senior Vice President, Autotask

After 90 days at Autotask, I am more excited than ever about the future of the company. Last month, the 10 year anniversary was celebrated and several significant milestones were honored:

- One of the first hosted, SaaS companies in the IT industry
- Over 4,000 customers, 40,000 users and over one million end points
- Clients in 42 countries, with 99.995% uptime
- Over 200 employees, covering 4 locations worldwide, including US, Europe, Beijing and India
- Hundreds of industry awards – perhaps most special is the 7 consecutive “Best places to work” by the Business Review

The question invariably becomes: What’s next?

Without giving up too much of the surprise from Autotask CommunITy Live in May, I wanted to give our community some highlights of where we are heading. It is no secret that Autotask has a very vibrant and active user base that is evident in these online forums. Participation in User Groups, Jam Sessions, and the Rock Star program continue to grow as well.

One trend that is evident as we progress through 2011 is the proliferation of communication vehicles. You are probably noticing that the ways your friends, family, vendors, and customers can reach you is growing exponentially. The traditional phone and email standards are now expanding to include text messaging, social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, blogs, webinars, podcasts, vodcasts, etc. In fact, there are over 30 communication vehicles that you may need to absorb.

Autotask is hard at work to simplify and customize its communication vehicles for you. Feedback has been loud and clear that you want relevant information delivered in an organized way. For example, if you prefer webinars as an information source, we will give you a schedule of upcoming events and allow you to choose different paths such as technical, business building, and business growth opportunities.

A second trend is the expansion of communities within our ecosystem. There are over 30 macro and hundreds of micro communities in our industry. Whether your specialty is virtualization or Electronic Medical Records, VoIP or small banking, Managed Services or education reform, there are associations, affiliations and peer networks meeting nationally, locally or virtually.

While Autotask can’t participate in all of them simultaneously, we are looking to add value where it makes sense. As a foundational toolset within your business, Autotask should look to partner or integrate with the key vendors and networks that you do business in. Thus, you will see a growth in our participation across this ecosystem, contributing and providing leadership to the conversation.

Finally, Autotask will look to be more visible in our own CommunITy. The best feedback we receive is directly from you. Our communication of product roadmaps, new features and functions, as well as integrations with the industry will be our core priority.
Please feel free to reach out to me personally, I look forward to being a part of your CommunITy.

Jay McBain

Work: 518-720-3500 x1363
Cell: 919-597-1945

jmcbain at autotask dot com

Or reach out socially:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Billion dollar ideas - 5 of them - Here is number 2

As a futurist, some trends are shaping that will create the next generation of powerful companies, and powerful people - the next billionaires.

Billion dollar ideas - 5 of them - Here is number 1

As a futurist, some trends are shaping that will create the next generation of powerful companies, and powerful people - the next billionaires.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Future: Pervasive Computing - 20 Computers You Will Own in 5 Years

A keynote given on future technologies as well as 5 "billion dollar" ideas for entrepreneurs that are ready for prime time. Also, a future look at smart devices that will make up the fabric of everyday communication and social connections.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Autotask Webinar - Growing your business in 2011 - Jay McBain

How to plan and execute a growth strategy for your IT business. Exploration of product and industry verticals with specific tips and tactics on making it happen!

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

OS/2 Reborn: The Future of Business in the Cloud

Jay McBain, Senior Vice President, Autotask Corporation

First off, to those of you born after 1980, I apologize for the cryptic reference in the title – here is a primer:

For the rest of us, a question:

“Beyond the hype and near-religious arguments, what was the one key differentiating feature that OS/2 had that Windows 3.1 did not have back in the day”?

Answer: Multi-threading (as opposed to multi-tasking)

The future of business and communication is rapidly changing with the explosion of devices that are ubiquitously connected within a vast cloud ecosystem. One way to study it is through the lens of a near-infinite number of “threads”.

Looking back is a useful tool in allowing us to visualize the future. From rudimentary language to pictograms, Gutenberg’s printing press, controlled waves and then electronic signals, communication has evolved from one to one, one to many and finally one to potentially all. With some social media vehicles being recorded (for all of eternity) in places like the US Library of Congress, the ability for communication to succeed (from successful transmission to receipt) may span seconds right up to centuries.

Ok, enough preamble. How does this affect business?

Business today works in a series of communication tasks. Better known as meetings, projects, voicemails, to-dos, emails, etc., we are conditioned to move through an increasing number of tasks in a standard work-day. As corporations started to right-size in the 1980’s and 90’s, the remaining employees were required to wear several hats and divide their day into what seemed like an endless amount of additional tasks. Those that could not “multi-task” effectively were outsiders in this environment and their productivity actually declined – as did their job prospects.

What we are witnessing today is the number of tasks are again rising – this time exponentially. The difference is that the tasks look more like micro-tasks – or “threads”. You could argue that social media has kicked off this phase, with 140 character tweets, text messages as well as a plethora of social status updates.

The wiring of a multi-tasker is subtly different than that of a multi-threader. We marvel at children today who can be doing homework while playing a video game, texting their friends, checking Facebook, listening to an iPod, chewing gum and curling their hair. We may think it is inefficient, and they are not producing results, but consider:

- Do you need to have status meetings with your colleagues when you are in constant threaded communication?
- The rigid milestones and dependencies in a project Gantt chart soften when communication is no longer a scarcity
- The inefficiency of formal written letters was replaced by email, which is now being replaced (rightly or wrongly) by poorly spelled and grammatically questionable threaded communication.

I know my current workday now involves a mix of business and personal, through about a dozen different threaded communication vehicles. It is very difficult to mix the threaded and tasked world as they are somewhat incompatible. For example, you go heads down on a task such as a 2 hour meeting, effectively disconnecting you from threads during that time. It is sometimes difficult to re-enter the conversation as you find yourself catching up.

How does this look 5 years from now?

First of all, email will be a relic. Not completely dead, but one of about 100 ways to communicate. Receiving an email will be the equivalent of getting a formal letter in the mail today.

I believe the next technology billionaire will be the person who figures out a simple cloud based hub of all communication.

Here are the attributes:

- End point agnostic. Communication will not be limited to the device you are using. We will each own dozens of connected devices optimized by where you are – in your office, car, bed, boat, or mountain bike, it doesn’t matter.
- Communication customized for your environment. Your devices will have motion detectors, GPS, and cameras to detect how best to deliver content to you. No more texting behind the wheel or dropping your expensive smart phone over the side of the boat.
- The permutations and combinations of how communication is transmitted and received will reach almost infinite levels. For example, a Facebook chat converts to audio and is played through your car radio as that is the best way to manage threads while driving. Your voice response then gets automatically converted to text and shows up back in the Facebook chat window. Neither party is the wiser.
- Finally, a form of “personal controls” will rise in importance. No longer will you have “friends”, but an expertly segmented group of people having specific tiered access to you. Sure, your parents may get 24/7, your friends perhaps till 2AM on a weekend, but colleagues may get cut off at 5pm, depending on your work-life balance.

This communication hub will manage the entire multitude of sources (likely old school sources such as letter mail and faxes as well) and combine that with location aware technology and effective controls to produce the soundtrack of threads in your business and personal life.

Much like OS/2 when it was developed in the 1980’s, your brain works in threads as well. Some autonomic, some not. Managing the next generation of worker in this threaded world is already challenging for many managers – and it will get significantly more challenging as devices, connectivity options and cloud applications continue to multiply.

Not sure I have the answers...but I will forecast that OS/2 will not make a comeback (contrary to the many vocal groups worldwide who are pushing for its code to go open source), as well as forecast that adapting to this new threaded world will take more than 140 characters of education and training!