If you’ve seen the last Gartner rankings for healthcare, you know that Dell once again is ranked #1 WW IT Services for Healthcare Providers, based on 2013 revenue.1 This makes the fourth straight year that we’ve achieved the number one ranking.

I’ve been asked many times lately what Dell is doing to achieve that ranking. The answer isn’t simple, as it is seldom the case that any one factor can propel a company to the top ranking in any industry, much less one as complex as healthcare.

But there is one characteristic that is in the very DNA of Dell Services that has helped us win so many contracts in healthcare: listening. We learned a long time ago that we can’t know all the answers. Each of our customers has a very different set of circumstances, even when they are responding to the same market forces. That means that one answer, or one service, or one product, will never fit the myriad variety of customers we serve.

That’s why we listen first. We don’t offer solutions until we understand the business goals our customers are trying to achieve and the unique culture and environment in which the solutions have to work. Then we set to work finding the best solution for each unique problem.

Listening leads to collaboration, industry knowledge

That attitude is also one reason why we value partnership and collaboration. We work with a variety of industry partners to bring the best available technology to our customers, and we provide support for all system components, whether they are Dell branded or provided by another company.

Listening to our customers has also deepened our understanding of the transformation that is occurring in healthcare. There are six fundamental forces acting on the industry that are reshaping the future: consolidation, capitation, consumerism, coordination, compliance and competition. These are the six Cs of healthcare industry change, and we hear from our customers how each of these forces is acting on their businesses. We have shaped our offerings and services to provide the support and innovation that will help our customers succeed in the face of these changes.

We’ve also learned to listen to the ideas of the new kids on the block, as we did with our recent Tech Innovation Day Series: Healthcare Pitch Days, in which we invited startup healthcare technology companies to pitch their ideas to Dell and Intel. Some of these companies will be our future partners in transforming healthcare and helping our customers achieve their goals.

Listening powers the strong relationships needed for success

This collaborative attitude is not altruism on our part. We learned a long time ago that solving our customers’ problems and creating new opportunities for them earns their respect and creates a stronger relationship. We’re willing to share the opportunity with other tech companies in the short term because the long-term relationship is more important to us. And in sharing the opportunities, we build strong collaborative relationships with others in our industry that can lead to better technology for our customers and, in the long run, an improved information-driven healthcare system that benefits all of us.

While we celebrate our wins and enjoy being number one, we keep in mind that we didn’t carry the full load up the mountain by ourselves. It wasn’t rugged individualism that got us to the top, or blindly following our own ideas. What got us to top and has kept us there for four years was a willingness to learn, to innovate in the face of change and to join forces with others to serve our customers better. We got there by making our customers’ goals our own and doing whatever it takes to help them achieve those goals, and by whatever route worked best for the customer. And that’s a journey that always starts with listening.

1 Gartner, Inc., Market Share: IT Services, 2013, Kathryn Hale et al, March 31, 2014

 

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