Heads up for ECM, BPM & BPO software executives by Mark Edwards, CEO - Document Boss

Nice to be a "Smart Arse" (At least now and again)

22 February 2016



Nice to be a "Smart Arse" (At least now and again)


It would be great to be able to do a virtual show of hands to see those people in our sector that remember some of Document Boss’ rare predictions.  It's an infrequent occurrence for us to be forecasting "what will be" because we prefer to leave that to the crystal ball gazers, whilst we analyse what is actually happening NOW! My experience and perspective is that most business predictions fall way short of any degree of accuracy to make them of any real business use.  However, there are a few forecasts that we have predicted accurately in recent years.


Health Tech is HOT!


The growing strength of the Health tech sector has been one such prediction that we got right.  That may not make us a Nostradamus but we were accurate several years ago in saying this would be among the more exciting up-and-coming industries.  Not just in our sector either; health tech can compete with high flying technology sectors such as virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) - just with less hype. The digitisation of healthcare pathways and the recording of events along those pathways, coupled with the data collection that is, as a consequence possible, is of massive importance to all healthcare providers and patients.  The impact of the complete digitisation and recording of healthcare pathways creates traceability, control and analysis which, in combination with wearable computing devices, will have a positive influence upon the provision of healthcare services and a seismic effect on our ability to monitor and control global health.


M&A Deals in Health Tech Have Risen Significantly


VCs have definitely taken notice of this growth opportunity and, as a consequence, have been pumping cash funding into start-ups to the value of just under $8B over the past few years. Over the past 12 to 18 months, M&A activity has noticeably increased for the past few quarters, with healthcare being the most active of any of the technology acquisition sectors monitored.  Neither is this trend towards healthcare acquisitions a minor statistical blip. To illustrate: in 2010, 62 health tech deals were completed - Not an insignificant number.

However, fast forward to 2015 for comparison, and the number has jumped to 265 completed deals. Also of significance is that, if we look at quarter by quarter figures for 2015, we can see that deals increased throughout the year, with the last two quarters showing the greatest number of completed deals, all of which indicates a strong growth trend in this sector for 2016 and beyond. 

Many of these deals have been for software technology companies dealing with healthcare for electronic health records to point-of-care clinical solutions to billing, cost recovery and compliance related applications Significant regulatory, technological and social demands are driving a wave of consolidation that shows no sign of stopping, or even slowing down. Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) vendors have been battling in an over-crowded sub-sector for some time. Some of these companies were originally DM vendors that specialised and gained a niche. Now they are looking to find competitive space and differentiate themselves via technology acquisitions that can supplement their offerings in a synergistic, additive strategy. 

Strategic buyers such as the EHR players, private equity firms and some document service providers with an unprecedented amount of available cash, are now hungrily pursuing deals in the health tech sector as they know that the demand on healthcare organisations across the globe will not relent.  Greater efficiencies in the healthcare sector must go hand in hand with an increased adoption of technological solutions that provide improved, holistic pathways of care in hand with increased efficiencies.  If you are currently considering your options in the area of healthcare Information management, then we would be pleased to hear from you. It's an exciting sector that is hot and will get hotter. 


Voice Technology


Our other rare prediction was for the increased development and adoption of voice technology for the information management vendors.  The massive increases in video and audio file storage and retrieval have precipitated the creation of an inevitable hothouse growth effect for this technology sector, although it is still relatively slow when compared to health tech M&A, which has exploded. 

The management of content is now multi-channel and multi-source. Audio and video are two additional sources of content and data that need to be managed with all the same objectives as managing a simple WORD document. Particularly in the “ECM”/Information Management ecosphere, the missing piece of content to be properly captured, processed, analysed, accessed and stored, is voice and audio communications.  Converting speech to text and processing this with the same ease and accuracy as documents and other content is likely to become the new frontier for this sector

"Voice Tech" may currently be on the nursery slopes but it will become an important and pivotal technology for the broader Information Management sector over the next few years as the volume of audio and video storage increases.  So….watch this space and remember - You heard it here first!

Boss M&A Whispers