Archive for August, 2011

Software Meets Healthcare

August 13, 2011

FountainBlue’s August 8 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Software Meets Healthcare. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panelists shared many different ways of implementing software meets healthcare solutions: from pharmacy prescription management to simulations and training, from development tools to mobile monitors and sensors. Regardless of the application, the focus is on serving the customer, by improving efficiency through software automation, by training and learning new behaviors in a safe environment, by reducing development time, by better monitoring behaviors and symptoms, or by providing more accurate, personalized and timely products and services.
Software meets healthcare offers huge opportunities, but there are also many barriers to entry. Solutions must serve a market and customer need, and meet policy, reimbursement and regulatory requirements which are ever-changing. Some of the advances in the technology world, including business analytics, cloud computing and mobile applications, are being leveraged in the software-meets-healthcare space, in the areas of sensors and monitoring, personal genomics, electronic medical records, and other areas. Indeed, we
are moving to a world of intelligent agents, which would assume a more active monitoring role than a typical nurse or doctor, in a much more cost-effective, automated and efficient way. This becomes so much more important as demand increases for a variety of reasons, including the aging of the population in general, the increasing health care costs, and the ever-increasing demand for real-time, inexpensive solutions from patients, hospitals, care-givers, providers and insurers alike.
Below are some examples of upcoming opportunities in the software-meets-healthcare space:

– Intelligent agents will help monitor, track, report on and inform
others regarding basic indicators from glucose to heart rate to ocular pressure. There is an opportunity for automating hardware and software agents and generating actionable reports to people who would pay for it, and making it easy to spread the word through social media.
– Training and education which would help people make positive
lifestyle changes and creating tightly-knit, easily-expandable communities can not only help raise the overall health and quality of life for all in the community, but also create revenues for those managing and creating those communities.
– Adopting software and database solutions into the healthcare spaces offers opportunities in electronic medical records, diagnostics, genomics, and many other areas which require rapid processing of huge amounts of data, and generating reports that inform, educate, and facilitate decision-making.
– There is a drive from the patient side and the provider side for
patients to assume more responsibility for their care, and training and education, automation and monitoring solutions which are easy to manage and easy to use for laypeople will be in high demand.
– Solutions which inform the patient and their select network will
empower and inform, and ultimately help patients live more independently for longer period of time, which is less expensive and more satisfying for all.
– Mobile devices and solutions will be in high demand, if they are
readily available and easy to use. But to ensure ready adoption, make it easy for customers to leverage social media to spread the word and IT departments to approve and support them.

Below is advice or entrepreneurs innovating in this space:
– Develop a solution which your target customer can easily navigate and utilize with minimal training. Take into account, for example, the dexterity, visual acuity, flexibility, etc. of your customers, particularly if they may be limited by physical ailments/diseases, aging, etc.
– Consider the security and data integrity standards for the industry overall.
– Protect patient-sensitive information as people are as sensitive and protective of that as they are of their personal financial information, where there are high standardized requirements for security.
– Serve an existing and passionate market, don’t just create a
technology looking for a problem.
– For many reasons, the adoption rate is much slower in the
software-meet-healthcare space. Invest time in building relationships with hospitals, insurers, providers, etc.
– Build your credibility by having a great solution for a ready, proven market, having an experienced team, developing a scalable solution, and delivering based on milestones.
– Consider who will ultimately pay for the solution, which may not be the end patient, and build a business case on why it is in the best interest of the payor to do so.

The bottom line is that there are huge opportunities for those who are persistent, work with all the key stakeholders and deliver solutions to an eager customer base willing to pay for it.
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FountainBlue would like to thank and acknowledge our panelists for our August 8 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum, on the topic of Software Meets Healthcare:

Facilitator Dipankar Ganguly, CEO, BioTelligent
Panelist Ted Driscoll, Technology Partner, Claremont Creek, Member, Life Science Angels and Founding Director, Sand Hill Angels
Panelist John Sotir, Senior Manager, Medical & Test Group, Altera
Presenting Entrepreneur Rohan Coelho, CEO, Rexanto
Presenting Entrepreneur Parvati Dev, PhD, FACMI, President, Innovation in Learning Inc., Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Media-X, Stanford University, Former Director, SUMMIT Lab, Stanford University School of Medicine
Presenting Entrepreneur Marco Smit, President, Health 2.0 Advisors

Please join us in thanking our sponsors at KPMG for sponsoring this event and this series. Thank you also to our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts.

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Politics in the Workplace: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

August 13, 2011

FountainBlue’s August 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series was on the topic of Politics in the Workplace: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a great panel of wise, experienced and successful women who were so open to poignantly sharing their hard-earned wisdom with humor and candor. They make a stand for women technology leaders, not just in appearing on panels like this, but in their day-to-day work and interactions, with every relationship, every conversation. They are self-aware, and ever in search of interactions, experiences and responsibilities which would stretch them in new directions.
As a group, they see politics as a necessary part of any organization, any group, just part of the landscape – inescapable and necessary. Ever practical, they see that politics is just about how decisions get made in an organization: the underlying, ever-moving web of relationships, accountability and influence. And each group, task, role would have different group dynamics. In fact, they see politics not just as necessary, but even as a positive tool, something which could be leveraged (in a good way) to career advancement, to deeper self-knowledge, to greater and wider recognition.
Below is advice offered by our panelists:
• You need to be strong enough in yourself – your own strengths and weaknesses, goals and desires, and aware enough about the people, relationships and motivations of the group around you to best leverage politics as a tool-for-good (for both you and for the organization and group).
• Don’t compare yourself to others, and don’t let others disempower, measure or limit you. Do learn from what works and doesn’t work for others, and do integrate the feedback others give to help you grow.
• Take an accurate measure of a new company or role and be honest with yourself about your fit within that role and culture. This will take a lot of thinking, a lot of analysis, a lot of reflection, but finding that right fit is worth the investment of energy and time.
• Really take notice when something catches you off-guard, from left field. Did you miss someone in the decision chain? Did you mis-understand a motivation? Did something change with the vision or strategy? How does this action affect you in the long-term and the short-term? Why did you miss seeing it coming, and what can you learn from it?
• Don’t see politics with negative connotations. Think of it as a tool for developing deeper relationships and more likely get things done.
• If you come across toxic people, try to see how they may not be aligned with you in terms of vision, goals, incentives, etc., and work with them directly to find a win-win.
• Don’t play politics, manage relationships.
• Managing politics is more about your instincts than about memorizing a playbook. Stay true to your value systems and trust your gut.
• Know your walking point – when you don’t think you and your team/organization can come to a comfortable alignment, have the confidence and courage to take action.
• Make your boss look good.
• Recruit mentors and a board of directors to help you navigate the politics. Surround yourself with people who will both help you feel confident *and* push you to the next level.
• Stay in alignment with your goals and your values by setting your limits about the amount of time you work and about the things you are willing to do.
• Advice for proving your value, especially in tense and politically-sensitive environments:
o Prove your measurable value.
o Rise above the emotions.
o When you *do* show emotion, be strategic about it. And use it sparingly.

The bottom line is that where there are people, there are politics. Accept and embrace this as it is essential to learn and grow and stretch your skills and your ability to navigate and manage relationships.

Resources:
• Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Roger Fisher, William Ury http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Negotiating-Agreement-Without/dp/0140157352
• Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham (Author), Donald O. Clifton (Author), http://www.amazon.com/Discover-Your-Strengths-Marcus-Buckingham/dp/0743201140
• 10 Ways You Shoot Yourself in the Foot in the Workplace, Nora Denzel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGo9Kdf3WuE

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Thank you to the speakers for FountainBlue’s August 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series, on the topic of Politics in the Workplace: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:
Facilitator Karen Mathews, Real Change Experts
Panelist Sandy Orlando, VP of Marketing, IP Infusion
Panelist Niamh Pellegrini, Vice President, Rhinology, Acclarent
Panelist Eileen Sullivan, Director of IT, Symantec
Panelist Margie Thomas, SR Director, Services GTM Operations, Cisco
Please join us in thanking our hosts at LifeScan for their support of this event and this series. Thank you also to our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts.

Business Analytics in Financial Services

August 5, 2011

FountainBlue’s August 5 Bi-Monthly Business Analytics Event focused on Business Analytics in Financial Services. Below are notes from the conversation.
We were fortunate to have such experienced panelists who shared a wide range perspectives and thoughts on business analytics trends. They commented on the volume of data, the advances in both hardware and software technology, and most importantly, the importance of building customer-centric, solutions which can help companies make data-based decisions which would serve their customers real-time. Indeed, business analytics is changing the way we do business, and the vendors on our panel spoke about how analytics and data are helping their companies to better understand and respond to the needs their customers and plan for updating and upgrading their products and services based on their customers’ needs. The panelists commented that we are already serving the customers well, much at the same level as a Marriott might treat us, remembering our stay frequency and personal requests. But with additional data and analytics, we could learn to treat our customers more like how a Ritz Carlton might treat us – remembering and anticipating every request, for a stellar experience.

Whether they are working with the ever-growing volume of data available, or serving a larger volume of customers, or integrating with a larger myriad of devices designed easily communicate real-time facts to enable effective, targeted decision-making, it is clear that the most forward-thinking companies are 1) leveraging technology to better serve their customers, 2) valuing the high-impact customer, 3) raising the bar for how to better serve customers real-time, 4) seeing the value business analytics solutions as a competitive advantage, and 5) training and educator internal staff, partners and customers to accept and adopt these solutions and integrate them into their day-to-day work.
The bottom line is that as amazing as current and projected results are, there will be an ever-increasing demand for speed, scalability, and functionality, and companies that can keep ahead of the curve are well positioned to better serve, impress, recruit and retain customers.

The panelists commented on how financial services industry differs from other industries: 1) they may be more adverse to technology solutions, 2) they may be more risk-adverse and more likely to have data security concerns, 3) their legacy applications, including those around loans for example, most be easily ported and integrated into a new business analytics solution, without revamping how the old processes are done, 4) those in the industry are more comfortable with paper than with computers or tablets, and 5) regulations and policies will both make leaders in the financial services more reticent and risk-adverse *and* force them to adopt technology-driven automated processes.

Below is some advice for those innovating in the business analytics in financial services industry:
Be Strategic:
• It’s not just about collecting data for data’s sake, but more about how that data that empower fact-based decision-making.
• Ensure business analytics solutions are in alignment with company goals.
• Consider how regulatory, privacy, security and governance impact customer purchase decisions and factor that into your strategic growth and expansion plans.
• For entrepreneurs running and growing a company, choose a tool before you think you need it. Don’t just rely on your instinct to tell you it’s time to do it, but have the tool show you the data about *why* you need to do *what* in a quantifiable way.
• Small, medium-sized and large companies have similar needs for business analytics, but their volume of need, the volume of transaction and level of support vary. Know which market you serve and focus your communications and services on that niche market.
Be Customer-Focused:
• Focus always on what the customer is doing, what’s important to them, where they are spending their time, where they are physically, what tools are useful for them, etc
• Develop and enhance relationships with customers through digital and other channels, and also watch for the merger and integration of CRM, ERP, ATM and other systems.
• Help customers use the data to break down silos around roles and products and build collaborations within an organization, between customers and vendors, channels and partners.
Leverage Technology:
• Use the right technology to secure the most relevant data, with the right objectives, using the right assumptions for the right people.
• Leverage social media for outreach, community-building, and feedback.

The bottom line is that to better serve the financial services industry, one must make the technology simple, easy-to-use, understand and act upon, and integrate it into their daily operations seamlessly, while proving the value through measurable reports and bigger customer retention and acquisition.
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Please join us in thanking and acknowledging our panelists for FountainBlue’s August 5 Bi-Monthly Business Analytics Event:
Facilitator Melissa McDonell, Brand Voice Marketing
Panelist Satya Kunapuli, Director – Research, Testing and Analytics at Intuit, Principal at Esskay Solutions Inc.
Panelist Raj Sen, Group Manager, Multi-Channel Analytics, Adobe
Panelist Carl Snyder, Senior Industry Principal, Banking, SAP America

Transportation Greening Advances

August 3, 2011

FountainBlue’s August 1 Clean Energy Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Transportation Greening Advances. Below are notes from the conversation.
We may be crossing the chasm in the green automotive world. Driving factors for this shift include 1) the advancements in a range of technologies (from hardware to software to biofuels to networks), 2) the slowly evolving infrastructure necessary to support alternative transportation options, and 3) the increased global demand for green transportation options ranging from materials innovations to alternative fuels to novel manufacturing to software enablers in transportation from telematics to vehicle controls to customer communications.
Based on their current and past work in the clean transportation area, our panelists covered a wide range of perspectives, from batteries to electrification of vehicles, from telematics to auto manufacturing, from drive trains to cylinder optimization, and including a wide range of software solutions for dealers, automakers and drivers, as well as software which helps cars self-manage and optimize settings!
They commented both on the technology advancements creating new opportunities and the challenges and barriers to innovation and adoption and spoke about the exciting possibilities ahead. Below are some of their thoughts and advice.
Thoughts about the industry overall:
• Green transportation companies often needs to work with both automakers and oil companies – industries which are both powerful, having lived with entitlement for a century or so, *and* slow-to-change, plus less likely to be techno-philic.
• Investors are reticent to fund capital-intensive clean transportation solutions, especially if it requires manufacturing, advanced technology development which takes a long time, etc. Investors, especially those experienced in high tech investments, tend to favor green transportation are leaning toward proven technologies, perhaps involving software, for a ready market, headed by an experienced team.
• Companies from other more traditional sectors from batteries to oil to semiconductors, are recognizing and responding to the green transportation opportunities and innovating into different slices of the opportunity, depending on where their established technologies, markets, channels, etc.
Thoughts on the Opportunities Ahead:
• Today’s vehicles are too heavy, and too energy-inefficient and the industry is too fragmented, too slow-to-adopt, and too dependent on dated infrastructure, and the customers are too ROI-conscious, too complacent with the status quo, and the manufacturing process is too labor-intensive, too expensive, too distributed, etc. There are opportunities in all these ‘toos’.
Advice for Entrepreneurs:
• As with any other industry, you must have the right technology, for a proven market and execute on milestones, particularly when funding is tight, when investors have felt burned by previous investments, when capital-efficient solutions and innovative business models are so important.
• The exploding markets in India, Brazil and China will provide huge opportunities for a large range of vehicles, and they are markets which may be easier to enter than the US markets, where regulations and policies and entitlements make it harder to grow an industry and serve a market.
• Consider the question of who will pay for necessary infrastructure upgrades, required up-front investments, etc and find a business or financing model which would make it easier for them to approve a purchase decision.
• Policy changes will impact purchaser buying decisions and create new opportunities, so track them and strategize how these changes will impact your customers and potential customers.
The bottom line is that we need to make cars affordable and usable, and make it easy to get it in the hands of customers.

Resources:
• Boston Consulting Group Report: Batteries for Electric Cars: Challenges, Opportunities and Outlook to 2020, http://www.bcg.com/documents/file36615.pdf
• Forbes Blog, August 1, 2011: How to Build a Car that Gets 54.5 MPG, by Jim Gorzelany, http://blogs.forbes.com/jimgorzelany/2011/08/01/how-to-build-a-car-that-gets-54-5-mpg/?partner=daily_newsletter
Policy Updates of Interest
1. On July 25, 2011, the CPUC issued Decision 11-07-029. http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/FINAL_DECISION/139969.htm This decision relates to the role of electric vehicles in California. Specifically, it does the following:
o Directs electric utilities to collaborate with automakers and other stakeholders to develop an assessment report to be filed in this proceeding to address a notification processes through which utilities can identify where Electric Vehicles charging will likely occur on their electric systems and plan accordingly;
o Affirms that, with certain exceptions, the electric utilities’ existing residential Electric Vehicle rates are sufficient for early Electric Vehicle market development, and, similarly, that existing commercial and industrial rates are sufficient in the early Electric Vehicle market for non-residential customers. The decision also sets out a process to reexamine Electric Vehicle rates in 2013;
o Considers opportunities to migrate toward new and lower cost metering technologies for Electric Vehicle charging and sets out a process to develop an Electric Vehicle metering protocol to accommodate increased Electric Vehicle metering options, such as submetering;
o Determines that, on an interim basis, until June 30, 2013, the costs of any distribution or service facility upgrades necessary to accommodate basic residential Electric Vehicle charging will be treated as shared cost;
o Defines the role that utilities may play in education and outreach related to Electric Vehicles;
o Requires utilities to perform load research to inform future Commission policy; and
o Addresses utility ownership of electric vehicle service equipment.
2. CAFE Standards Set to Rise to 54.5 mpg for 2025
• Will Your 54.5 MPG Car in 2025 Be Electric or Gasoline? International Business Times Staff Reporter, August 2, 2011 http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/191144/20110802/cars-vehicles-miles-per-gallon-mpg-fuel-efficiency.htm Fuel efficiency in the United States will rise substantially under an agreement reached by the U.S. Government, auto manufacturers, and the state of California.
• The new efficiency standard will cover cars and light trucks for model years 2017-2025, and require a performance equal to 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in 2025. The standard will reduce greenhouse gas emission to 163 grams per mile, and it also betters the previous requirement of 35.5 mpg by 2016. The new standard will reduce U.S. oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2025. The United States currently imports 9.1 million bpd of oil.
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FountainBlue would like to thank and acknowledge our panelists for our August 1 Clean Energy Entrepreneurs’ Forum, on the topic of Transportation Greening Advances:
Facilitator Jim DiSanto, GM, Earthrise Technologies
Panelist Ray Jenks, Electric Vehicles and Energy Storage, Interstate Batteries
Presenting Entrepreneur Biswa Ghosh, VP of Engineering, Tula Technology
Presenting Entrepreneur Simon Saba, Founder and CEO, SABA Motors Inc.

Please join us in thanking our sponsors at KPMG and our hosts at SRI for their ongoing support of the series.