Sramana Mitra: They have other roles to play in medical imaging. In the equipment sector, they’re big.
Girish Navani: Yes, not in healthcare IT. This is the fun part and also the nerve-wracking part. As an entrepreneur, you have no fear because you have nothing to lose.
Sramana Mitra: Given your structure, what are your thoughts about acquisitions? One way that people deal with that threat is to bring in people from the bottom.
Girish Navani: I agree with the idea of having individuals whose focus is exclusively in that particular objective. You can do that through acquisition of teams and bringing them in. I have always enjoyed building a team or building a company that goes ahead and excels in R&D and service. We have started becoming, in a way, our own investors. We invest in ideas and then give these ideas a lot of freedom and a lot of entrepreneurship. We give them lessons learned. I participate on Thursdays and Fridays in these discussions called LEAPs – Leadership Acceleration Programs. Many from eClinicalWorks have moved into those teams. Many have come from the outside. It doesn’t really matter.
Sramana Mitra: There’s an intrapreneurship model.
Girish Navani: I like that word actually. I’ve never used it – intrapreneurship. These business units that I just mentioned are directly done that way. Rather than looking at other companies to see if we can acquire, we try to build on cool ideas.
Sramana Mitra: Intrapreneurship is very hot right now. We’re doing a lot of intrapreneurship work in partnership with major corporations where we set up a formal 1M/1M inside corporations to encourage intrapreneurship and teach them how to bring the product to market.
Girish Navani: It’s hard, but I think we have figured it out. It took a year of my almost constant staying on top of it all. All of these business units are starting to become successful. They have significant customer base. They are starting to generate revenues, but we also think that they’re now competing with the “individual entrepreneurship companies” head on. In population health analytics, we were nobodies 18 months ago. We were non-existent. Today, we think we’re among the top two companies in analytics for healthcare. This was an internally funded initiative.
Sramana Mitra: What does the R&D operation look like? What does your operation team look like? Is it still primarily Boston-based?
Girish Navani: Yes, because I am there. I’m still the software engineer that has learned how to run the company. The biggest difference I bring to eClinicalWorks is the ability to take customer needs and put technology and engineering together, and come up with products that have an appeal. We have an office in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Boston, and India. R&D will still stay in Boston. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be done outside of Boston. It’s just that I find it to be that much faster with me being able to work with them hands-on.
Sramana Mitra: How many people do you have in Boston?
Girish Navani: Boston’s about 800 plus people today.
Sramana Mitra: The whole company?
Girish Navani: 4,000. In our business, I think I’ve learned that customer service and customer implementations take up a big part of our company.
Sramana Mitra: Do you have a professional services unit then?
Girish Navani: Very big. In healthcare, I can’t sell technology and not go on-site to help them implement it. Even though it’s a SaaS model with recurring revenues, we still give services. Not necessarily charged on a per-day basis. In our recurring revenue fees, we will bundle in X number of days of on-site presence to implement it. I think we also provide a lot of free online.
Sramana Mitra: Implementing well prevents burn.
Girish Navani: Yes. Either I do that or I immerse in sales. We chose to invest in service because it will result in a customer telling another. Our sales team is still very small, while our service and implementation team have grown significantly. R&D has grown as well.