IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Profile: Prescription for Partnering

In order to move into the healthcare field, we needed an appliance-based solution that we could install on-site and manage remotely. It also had to be easy to use and priced reasonably enough for us to earn solid margins. By Jeff Auerbach

Lots of IT companies are adding a vertical focus to their business these days, but my company has had a laser-like, exclusive focus on the healthcare industry since we first opened our doors in 2005.

Prior to that, my only exposure to the healthcare sector had been as a patient. But when I saw how hard it was to do something as simple as transfer my medical records from my doctor to a hospital or imaging center, I realized that most healthcare providers were barely scratching the surface of what technology could do for them. So I decided to create a managed services business 100 percent dedicated to automating doctors' offices and clinics.

It's turned out to be a rewarding market to focus on both financially and personally. Most of our clients are doctors who see as many as 50 or 60 patients a day. The systems we install and maintain help them provide better care and get more done in a very busy day.

Learning the Lingo
Not that familiarizing myself with the healthcare industry was simple. My employees and I had to learn everything from medical terminology to how physicians get paid. It took us two years before we had learned enough to speak authoritatively with our customers in their own language.

Partnerships were vital to that process, and some of our first important partners were actually our clients. In our early days, we were fortunate to find several local medical practices willing to take a chance on us. They not only gave us a venue in which to hone our health IT skills, but really taught us the ins and outs of their entire business. Without their help, there's no way we could have grown to where we are today.

Perfect Partner
Technology vendors have been critical partners for us too, of course. Our best partners have proven to be those that offer great products at competitive prices, excel at communication, and put lots of useful product and marketing information at our fingertips. Above all, we've learned to look for partners that show a genuine interest in helping us succeed. That's not always easy to find, but when we do it can make a huge impact on our ability to attract customers and grow the business.

Zenith Infotech is a perfect example of the kind of partner we value most. We first met them when we were looking for a managed backup and recovery product to resell. We wanted an appliance-based solution that we could install on-site and manage remotely. It also had to be extremely easy to use and priced reasonably enough for us to earn solid margins.

Of the systems we evaluated, only Zenith's BDR solution met all of those conditions. Plus, it also came with first-class NOC support, which spared us the expense of hiring additional technicians of our own.

The best news of all is that our clients love the BDR system. For example, we work with a doctor's office that completely lost access to its patient data one afternoon due to a server outage. To their delight, Zenith's BDR solution helped us get them up and running again within 45 minutes. They had been hesitant initially about investing in a backup solution, but that experience turned them into one of our best BDR reference accounts.

Now we're looking forward to adding Zenith's Advanced Recovery and Continuity Appliance to our offerings, and to leveraging their cloud computing solutions too. Just what the doctor ordered.

JEFF AUERBACK is CEO of Tucson, Ariz.-based EMR Group Inc.



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