API Healthcare provides solutions that help healthcare companies efficiently manage human capital. These solutions cover a range of business needs, including time and attendance, staffing and scheduling, patient classification, payroll, human resources, productivity management, business analytics, and education tracking. Founded in 1982, API Healthcare has more than 700 installations in North America, with clients ranging in size from 500 employees to more than 35,000 employees.
||It would have been very difficult to deliver three products this year without Microsoft Services Partner Advantage.
||Jeffrey Peterson, Director of Engineering, API Healthcare
Currently, approximately one-third of the company makes up “Innovation,” the API Healthcare team responsible for developing API Healthcare software and equipment products. As the company grew, a gap in IT training emerged. Jeffrey Peterson, Director of Engineering at API Healthcare, explains, “The training we received through various sources was no longer adequate as our technology and skills base expanded and grew.”
API Healthcare builds its software completely on Microsoft server software and technologies and develops the software by using Microsoft development tools. If the company’s clients experienced issues, the previous support arrangement required API Healthcare to start with tier-one support. This process lengthened resolution time and negatively affected client satisfaction. API Healthcare staff had to devote considerable time to support issue resolution. The company wanted to improve and expand training opportunities, and expedite and streamline problem resolution. API Healthcare had an ultimate goal of expediting new product and capabilities development, and improving client satisfaction and IT staff efficiency.
Since 2005, API Healthcare has been a customer of Microsoft Services Partner Advantage. From its investment in Partner Advantage, API Healthcare gains direct access to Microsoft technical expertise and assistance on its product development, deployment, and support issues. A designated partner account representative provides the connection for a direct, collaborative relationship with Microsoft.
API Healthcare has engaged in three recent projects with Partner Advantage:
- Architecture Review. Working with a Microsoft architect, the API Healthcare team reviewed its architecture. For the next three years, the company’s architecture plan is based on the formal review that the Microsoft architect delivered.
- Security Review. Working with a Microsoft team, Innovations assessed security on one of the company’s software products. Microsoft Services delivered a working threat model, a report on current security architecture, and best practices training for Innovations staff.
- Microsoft SQL Server Performance Analysis. Microsoft trained Innovations engineers in query performance analysis.
API Healthcare uses resources from Partner Advantage for support, training, and technology advisement, which benefits both API Healthcare and its clients.
A designated Microsoft partner account representative addresses and escalates API Healthcare client issues and support needs. “The positive impact on client service and perception is huge,” says Peterson. “Plus, our staff spends far fewer hours per incident because the issue gets resolved so much more quickly.”
The Microsoft partner account representative proactively recommends hands-on technical training, materials, and workshops. By investing in training through Partner Advantage, API Healthcare gains knowledge and skills to mitigate potential development and deployment issues. It’s an investment with significant payback, according to Peterson. “Generally, the cost to recruit an employee and train them is approximately double their wage. It’s more cost effective to keep our staff intact and trained on current technologies than it is to bring in new staff from the outside,” says Peterson.
Through Partner Advantage, API Healthcare receives proactive advice and guidance. “We didn’t have a specific avenue for technology advisement and architecture planning before,” remarks Peterson. “Now, our account manager connects us with a knowledgeable architect from whom we purchase time to help with planning and advice. By drawing upon the Microsoft architect’s deep experience, we increase client satisfaction.”
This year, API Healthcare is increasing the number of products it is bringing to market. Says Peterson, “We attribute this success, in part, to Partner Advantage. It would have been very difficult to deliver three products this year without Microsoft Services Partner Advantage.”
Increase in Quality and Products Developed
The Innovation team measures success by whether it delivers quality products on time efficiently. Says Peterson, “We are more comfortable with our timelines because we have fewer unknowns and someone to lean on if issues or questions arise. Having access to training and advice on important matters lets us go to market faster and makes our team more efficient.”
Notes Christine Hoxworth, Vice President of Marketing at API Healthcare, “The ability to substantially increase product development in a single year is essential to our growth as a company. By applying expertise and guidance from Microsoft and working with partners that Microsoft helped us connect with, we can deliver more products without significantly augmenting our staff.”
Problem-Resolution Time Reduced From Days to Hours
With faster support and greater visibility for support issues, API Healthcare has reduced its issue-resolution time from several days to the same day, in most instances. “We get expressed through to a tier-two engineer,” says Peterson. “Usually within an hour, we are well on our way to getting the problem solved. Our clients appreciate the fact that we solicit the assistance of Microsoft for faster issue resolution.”
New Products and Capabilities Win New Clients, Long-Term Success
API Healthcare can now go to market faster with new products and new offerings. For example, the company was able to adopt virtualization technology using Hyper-V™ much faster by using resources from Microsoft. “We won a new client in part because of our efforts with the resources from Partner Advantage,” says Peterson.
During the economic downturn of 2008-2009, many companies, including Microsoft independent software vendors, cancelled or postponed long-term technology investments. In contrast, API Healthcare has continued to invest deeply in its infrastructure and in technology support services. By renewing Partner Advantage, API Healthcare is continuing to invest in its people, processes, technology, and, ultimately, long-term success. “We have to take risks to grow, but by enrolling in a program like Partner Advantage, we essentially mitigate those risks,” concludes Peterson.