11-Year Partnership with Patient Analytics Company
Mason Beard, Co-Founder & CSO – WellCentive Inc.
I’m the chief solutions officer and a co-founder of a patient analytics platform for healthcare industry handling billions of medical records and providing data analysis to accelerate decision-making in the area of preventive medicine. Our company was created as a health management entity to sit between providers/health systems and the payers.
Opportunity / challenge
When my partner and I started the company, we needed to pitch a customer before we had the product, and we needed a demo. After we won the business, we needed them to help to build the system.
We first engaged with VITech to create a demo and walkthrough to help us sell the product. The demo product was a series of pages to click through.
That led to the development of our enterprise software platform using Hadoop, which sat on a big data cluster. All the frontend UI and apps were Java-based, using JBoss at the time. From a database structure standpoint, we were bifurcated into a clustered MySQL and Hadoop for the big data cluster. The BI or reporting side of it had dashboards created with a D3.js visualization library. In conjunction with our team of architects and developers, VITech built the entire architecture and implemented the system.
In total, the team built up to 80–90 people, but we didn’t start that high. We initially had a smaller team and a product manager working with our requirements people. We had QA on both sides. We had a Scrum master on their side working with a development manager on ours. We formed Scrum teams based on domain so we had an interfacing team, a QA team, a reporting/analytics team, etc.
They came highly recommended from a colleague in the industry. I chose them because of their domain expertise around data aggregation and healthcare.
Their development approach was also more collaborative than what I’d experienced in the past. From the beginning, they had a deep understanding of the problems, they asked the right questions, and collaborated with us on choosing different approaches. That was refreshing, and it ultimately led to a much higher-quality product, which hit the nail on the head.
We’ve spent between $1 million–$10 million over the past 10 years.
We started working with VITech in January 2008. Their experience on the demo was so great that it won us the business. We started a second engagement, and we’ve been working with them ever since.
Results & feedback
We started in an emerging industry, and VITech’s agile development processes and speed allow us to keep up with customer requirements in an extremely fast-paced industry. We help define that industry as we build the product and make changes. I can’t imagine doing that with another development firm. VITech matches our speed and keeps deadlines, going way past their bedtimes. They want us to succeed together.
We evolved into the agile process. VITech adjusted their team’s hours so we could have a daily stand-up and so we’d all be on the same page. I’ve traveled quarterly to Ukraine, and they send people to us, just to meet with our team and build a relationship.
Their team structure helps facilitate project management. They’ve been thoughtful about how we structured the US side, making sure product development was matched with a Scrum master and that we were disciplined in terms of stand-ups. What we put into it was what we got out of it, and that team structure and forethought helped. They don’t like having requirements slid under the door; they’d rather have conversations and collaborate, which improves our communication.
One of the best things about VITech is their thirst for the domain and their truly collaborative spirit. This is why we’ve been with them for over 10 years. They’re different culturally in the sense that they truly collaborate and they care about the work they do. They want to understand the why, not just the what.
Their backgrounds and discipline are unbelievable. Everyone has a PhD in math and computer science. Their talent pool is extremely rich, and their culture matches ours well. We enjoy going over there and spending a week together with them. It’s a warm relationship, rather than a transactional, sterile exchange of requirements.
VITech should keep growing its staff. They’re always working on being an attractive employer.
Spend the time to have the team understand the why of what you’re trying to achieve. This will unlock their potential. As the engagement grows, I highly recommend team bonding activities, either having the team come to you or vice versa.
Client: Wellcentive Inc.
Project Category: Software Development, BI & Analytics
Industry: Hospital & Healthcare
Year: 2008 – Ongoing
Location: Atlanta Metro Area, USA
VITech started out by developing a demo for an analytics platform, which evolved into development of the full product. They helped us build the architecture using Hadoop and RDBMS, and implemented the system.
VITech delivered the platform with such success that it became the impetus for an ongoing relationship of over 10 years. Their speedy, agile, and collaborative project management helps support the emergent industry’s needs. The team’s expertise and personable teamwork make them a perfect partner.