Paul Viskovich started the North American business for Orion Health in 2002 and now heads the sales operation globally.
With the presence of health technology giants like Oracle already in the market, how did Orion work to win some initial market share?
When we initially came to the market, we focused on the niche of integration of healthcare - essentially trying to integrate a number of disparate systems of healthcare and aggregating that data so you can be more informed and do more useful things with that information.
We set out to prove ourselves in the market, first with that product - Rhapsody - starting with integration in rural hospitals before moving into urban hospitals and then as a part of much larger provider networks and state health organisations throughout the country.
Was it difficult starting out in the US as a New Zealand company?
It's hard, you're not from here, you talk differently. It wasn't possible for us to go meet the CIO of UCLA, it was a good day if we talked to the security guard. Health care as a whole is largely not good with innovators either, and when you combine those two things, it's very difficult.
For us it was about building gradually, after those first sites it was essential that we exceed the expectations of those initial customers so that they're strong references for other parts of the market.
That remains true now - building the California Health Information Exchange, a system with more than 30 million members - that goes along way to proving that we are credible at the higher end of the market.
As you moved in to capturing a larger share of the market, what contributed to your success?
With the implementation of Obamacare and the HITECH Act, the federal government started to fund public health information exchanges throughout the United States. That enabled us to use our expertise with integration, which we've developed a leadership position in, and apply that to health information exchanges.
We were very successful in deploying a number of those solutions in 15 to 20 states. That was really just a building block though. With a health information exchange there is a lot of integration required.
Our reputation as a company that can integrate this data, innovate it and implement it into a healthcare platform was key.
It's shown that our strategy of focusing on our core competencies, making sure the market understands what you're good at and then leveraging that has been a positive. It's something we'll continue into the future too - there's a lot of interesting things you can sidetrack into - but our focus will be building on our leadership positions.
Where is Orion positioned now and how important is the US to the business?
The US is our biggest market, it's a bit over half of our business and our presence is growing here. We saw a need to get some of the product management and certainly some of the development happening closer to the customer so we could innovate faster.
That's led to us building a centre of excellence in Scottsdale, Arizona, where we have a growing campus there - it's not quite a campus yet but some day it will be.
We wanted somewhere that we could bring a customer so that they could understand the entire business - particularly the R&D and project management side so they can understand where we're going. It's also a chance for them to see our roadmap and touch and feel the support organisation, the delivery organisation and who the people behind the cloud service are.
There's a lot of product, development and delivery staff based there and they can gives our customers a level of comfort and understanding, while also giving us the opportunity to receive direct feedback - so it's quick for us to improve our processes.
Will the growth of the Scottsdale location and the establishment of an R&D team based there have an effect on New Zealand-based innovation from Orion?
We'll be very much continuing our development in New Zealand as well - this won't change that. Our teams are cross functional, people in New Zealand are also working on projects at the same time as people in the United States - and if you manage that correctly it can be a real benefit. If you've got a customer who has a problem late at night here, people will only just be getting to work in New Zealand - so you can check your inbox in the morning and it's already fixed because you've had a stream of people working on it continuously. If you can get that collaboration and communication right, it can be extremely effective.
The key really is to over-communicate. You have to keep that going so people understand and are working inclusively, so people understand what they're doing and where they're heading. There's no secret to it, but it's definitely easier said than done. Things do get lost across the Pacific - but in the end it's about using the geography of New Zealand to our advantage.