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It’s a Matter of “Over Promise and Under Deliver”
By Mike Silverstein
As a recruiter in the healthcare IT industry, I attend HIMSS every year and make it a point to know what vendors are hot and what products and solutions are being purchased by the healthcare community. I am always shocked when I walk into the HIMSS exhibit hall and see massive booths of vendors I have never heard of. Even more shocking is the number of these massive booths that were at HIMSS the previous year but are not at this year’s show. I ask myself, “How does this happen?”
The answer took me to the biggest complaint I hear again and again when talking with hospital executives about their feelings toward vendors. It’s a matter of “over promise and under deliver.”
I am not using the over promise and under deliver adage when it comes to the performance of these seemingly fleeting companies’ products. Frankly, as a recruiter in this business, I have no idea what differentiates a good product from a bad one. The lens I look through is that of a search consultant who on occasion gets a call from one of these startup companies which has just received a considerable round of funding and is looking to recruit the top sales talent in the industry.
Their game plan is often the same: spend a bunch of money to hire salespeople who can go out and sell something, then hope something sticks and figure out the rest later. According to these same salespeople, the problem quickly becomes: (a) the product isn’t ready for prime time; (2) the company can’t implement what they sold; ( 3) they don’t get paid until go-live and it doesn’t look that’s going to happen in the next decade, so Mike, can you help me get out of here?
I recognize that the industry is primed for PE and VC investment. As a guy who makes a living by helping companies hire, I’m not going to complain. That being said, I think that the healthcare community could cut down on wasted IT spending, vendors could maintain better relationships with their customers, and I could cut down on the number of candidate resumes I have on my desk who took a chance on a startup. In fact, in the time it took me to write this piece, I received four more of these resumes in my inbox.
If everyone would more appropriately manage expectations and think about building an infrastructure and not just a sales team, the result would stop the over promising and under delivering circumstances.
Mike Silverstein is director of healthcare IT of Direct Recruiters, Inc.