When You Need More Than Grilled Cheese

I’ve spent a lot of time recently looking at how hospitals typically evaluate online solutions partners when I bumped into a blog post from Brett Trout, a lawyer pal of mine who is pondering the same question for his industry.

The question addresses the different types of business relationships we might have when purchasing products or services.  For some purchases, the seller is a peddler — it’s a feature purchase and is driven by convenience elements like location of the vendor or basic features. The street-cart lunch vendor downtown falls in this bucket.  I may seek him out because he makes a mean grilled cheese, but I don’t value him as an expert in nutrition or any sort of incredible service offering.  We don’t have a relationship and he doesn’t need to know my name for me to get full value from him.

Often, our solutions are evaluated the same way – based strictly on product features.

While that’s ok (we have incredible software), selecting a vendor this way falls short.  Products fail because it’s possible to put out terrible solutions using perfectly good technology.

For our clients to realize full value from their eHealth vendors, they must view the purchase as a relationship, rather than merely a transaction. While we offer great software, we also work to understand our clients – their goals, their competitive situation, their in-house capabilities – and then we invest time in making sure that they’re successfully solving problems and achieving objectives. At one time I thought all vendors work this way, but it’s not uncommon for us to find hospitals that haven’t had a conversation with their vendors for years (and not for lack of need).

It’s time to change the parameters of that discussion. Unless you maintain a large pool of dedicated Web staff, then you’re buying more than just a tool when you go down this road. Process, expertise, and the ability to support your site become just as important as the tools put into play.  If you evaluate what’s out in the market, keep in mind that you’ll need a process that looks holistically at solutions and not just product features. You need more than grilled cheese.

Plusone Twitter Facebook Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit
This entry was posted in Industry Trends by Ben Dillon. Bookmark the permalink.
Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.