FBIT: What do you think are the things that differentiate your company's suite of eClinical solutions?
MW: We do have best-in-class point solutions. Our Trident product, which we just released, is a landscape changer. It's a configurable product versus programmable. It can get studies up in two weeks versus eight to 12 weeks. And I think the fact that GSK has committed to it enterprise-wide is a pretty clear message that it's something different, because they scour the entire market. Our CTMS product, which is driven through Office-smart solutions, where you use Microsoft Office tools under a controlled environment and then serve up information through SharePoint is getting a tremendous amount of traction in the market.
So individually the pieces are very good, but what we're finding more so is that more of our vision is what is bringing people in. To give you an example of how real this is to us, I brought in a chief technology officer last fall, Garry Johnson, and he came from Dendrite, where he was the CTO. So he understands how you develop technology. We have an EDC development group, we have a CTMS group, an image development group. But ultimately, the question is how can I say with a lot of confidence that I will have the converged product that I'm going to need in two years. Well, I've done that because I've said, "Okay Garry, you tell me how we should be organized such that you can show me a product roadmap that show's me getting there in two years."
Basically, we've taken 25 percent of our people, which is all the technology people we have, and they all report to Garry Johnson. They still work on vertical applications, but because he is standardizing a lot of the tools and applications, we're going to end up with centers of excellence that will basically ensure that we get to the converged solution, which will be the huge differentiator when you go forward.
FBIT: What's your philosophy about making acquisitions at this point, and what if any plans do you have to grow through buyouts in the foreseeable future?
MW: At this point, we have everything we need from a functionality standpoint. With that said, we do understand the cost to acquire customers. So if a given company or whatever became available, we would look at it, but we wouldn't look at it from "I need the technology," I would look at it more from, "what would it cost me to take that customer business versus buy somebody that already has that business." But the beauty is we have done what we've needed to opportunistically. We've bought some tremendous assets for very reasonable prices and structured the deals such that everybody stayed involved and everybody's on board. And now issue is just to drive that home and to get the products out there.
If you get below the Medidatas and Phase Forwards, which are very large, there is an amazing number of very, very small players that are for the most part point solutions. And we do not believe that there is going to be a meaningful market for point solutions in probably three to four years from now.
FBIT: What's your favorite business book?
MW: "Good to Great" is a good one. Actually, there's a little history in that book where one of the companies written up was Circuit City. Alan Wurtzel was the son of Sam Wurtzel, who started a little thing called Wards TV in Richmond, VA, which became Circuit City. It ultimately went bankrupt. But they were included because they initially accelerated beyond everybody in electronics. But the reason I know that is because my great uncle, who my youngest son is named after, he and Sam Wurtzel opened the first place to repair TVs in 1953 in the back of his garage. So that's why that book comes to mind.
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