Published: January 13th, 2015

I love to build solutions that make a difference. Recognized recently by CDN with the coveted “Solution Provider of the Year” award for a patient bedside engagement solution called Panacea built on the Microsoft platform, team at i3 Solutions Inc. have been looking into helped several new clients in the healthcare sector achieve some of their 21st century initiatives.

For more than 20 years, I have been riding the waves of technology innovation across a series of companies. For me, the excitement in every technology venture has always been about business and customer value. If I’m not delivering a solution that can get me excited about business transformation, then I’m really not interested in getting involved.”

Until recently, i3’s solutions were all custom development – a typical systems integration approach. But the company recognized that the cloud offered a new opportunity to move from a traditional SI (systems integrator) model to an ISV (independent software vendor).

Cloud infrastructure and delivery models enabled me to build out i3’s own products and scale more broadly. It was perfect timing for us to create and deliver the Panacea Patient Bedside Engagement solution and take it to a global marketplace.

From my point of view, SIs are looking to expand their portfolio to look more like an ISV. It’s really about scale, value and profit. When I am building a custom solution, I really only have the opportunity to deliver to a single customer. But with a product built on a cloud architecture, I can deliver a value-based offering that is more economical for the customer to consume. My development cycles are going into product enhancements that every customer can benefit from.

Making the transition from an SI to and ISV requires a very different mind-set and a new discipline about product development that was not entrenched in our culture. With that, i3 used its trusted advisory board to help implement the right strategies.

Here are five tips from this board on how to successfully transition to the cloud and the ISV model.

  1. Discipline – Moving from an SI to an ISV requires moving to a product life-cycle mind-set. This is a highly disciplined approach with a clear set of features, start and end dates and deployment time-tables. If your team does not have product development experience, hire a consultant or advisor to help you implement the processes you need.
  2. Outsourcing – We used a blended approach of offshore resources mixed with our own Canadian development team. Frankly, our outsourced resources were highly skilled in product development and so they helped support best practice around product life-cycle.
  3. Business Expertise – We developed customer advisory committees and blended them with our own business experts (we have healthcare specialists on our product teams) to ensure that the features we were prioritizing were important to our customers and enabled us to stand out from our competition.
  4. Financing – Moving from a traditional SI model to a cloud-revenue model means being able to carry across the funding gap. There are upfront investments along with reduced receivables. Leverage SRED credits, vendor support (Panacea is built on the Microsoft platform – Microsoft offers several programs to help partners who want to build solutions based on Microsoft technology), as well as a balance of SI engagements while product sales are ramping up.
  5. Passion – You have to love what you are doing. Developing a team who are excited about the product and enjoy coming to work every day goes a long way to ensuring ultimate success.

Peter Christopoulos is the president of i3 Solutions Inc. The comapny has successfully expanded his traditional SI business model to create a cloud-based vertical healthcare product that he is selling around the globe.