Consolidate Moves "Back to the Future" Discovering That Progress® OpenEdge® is Still the Right Choice for Customers
An unstable system in a hospital environment is a recipe for disaster. In fact, there are few other environments where reliability is more critical. “When you are dealing with people’s health and well being, there is no room for error,” explains Einar Rasmussen, CEO of Consolidate AS. For 20 years, Consolidate has relied on Progress® OpenEdge® as the platform for its tremendously successful Merida healthcare application. Used by almost all Norwegian hospitals and one of the largest hospitals in Denmark, Merida tracks medical equipment and inventory. Today more than 5,200 people use Merida to manage medical equipment with a total value of more than $ 1 billon and handle 50,000 work orders each month.
Rasmussen attributes much of the application’s success to the stability, flexibility and low total cost of ownership associated with OpenEdge. “Over the years customers have put their trust in Merida because the system is totally reliable. It never fails and that is one of the most important things to our customers—they know they can trust it 100%. We have very few requests into our support group regarding Merida.”
The stability of the system is due in part to its ability to integrate well with other technologies, explains Rasmussen. “There are numerous other IT systems and platforms in a hospital environment that Merida must integrate with. It is not enough for the system to stand on its own. It must also connect efficiently with other systems to deliver the functionality and reliability our customers require.”
With most hospitals employing few, if any, in-house IT professionals, the ease of maintenance of Progress OpenEdge is a tremendous advantage, says Rasmussen. “Having a system that requires very little, if any, maintenance saves our customers both time and money.”
The flexibility and scalability of OpenEdge also give Consolidate the freedom to evolve its solution and business in the direction that best meets its needs. “Rather than being constrained by technology, OpenEdge actually gives us the freedom to do what we ‘want’ versus what we ‘can’.”
Millions Spent and Customer Satisfaction on the Line When a New Microsoft Platform was Set to Replace OpenEdge
“Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” Rasmussen can attest to this fact. When he and his partners launched Consolidate, they also secured the rights to Merida. Though the Progress-based application was a tremendous success and customer satisfaction was very high, the previous owners of Merida felt that the 20-year old solution needed to be replaced by a new platform. During the last year prior to the acquisition they undertook prototyping different technologies and eventually decided to replace the Progress OpenEdge platform with Microsoft .NET.
The New, Incoming Management team of Consolidate AS
With the launch of his new company and his recent acquisition of Merida, Rasmussen expected to deliver a state-of-the art, brand new solution to his customers based on Microsoft .NET. He soon found that the new Merida application lacked the reliability, flexibility and ease of maintenance so critical in a hospital environment and that Merida customers had come to expect. “There were too many issues with functionality and stability. Customers weren’t leaving us yet, but they were certainly considering it because they just didn’t trust our solution any longer.”
Realizing it needed to make a change, Consolidate reviewed its various options. “After testing the possibilities internally and to the market, we realized that the legacy and business processes that were supported in the previous, OpenEdge-based application were of huge value to our customers and at the same time hard to replace,” says Rasmussen. “Based on our company’s needs and our customers’ requirements, we determined that Progress was the best choice for our roadmap, and a well qualified decision was to modernize the Merida application using the OpenEdge platform as a part of our future solution.”
All of Consolidate’s Merida customers are now on the newest, modernized version of the OpenEdge-based solution, and Rasmussen says customer response has been very positive. “For the last year we have been focused on driving customer satisfaction. In fact, we held our customer conference just a few weeks ago and customer satisfaction has substantially improved since moving back to OpenEdge.”
A Word of Advice to Other Progress Partners. "Be Careful"
Rasmussen has advice to other Progress Application Partners considering a move away from OpenEdge: “Building a brand new system from scratch with a new technology sounds exciting but it can be a very dangerous thing to do. Be careful. There should be very good reasons for changing platforms, not just because you want to play around with a different technology or new bells and whistles. This is your business, and any changes need to be done so with serious consideration and valid reasons. If you are just looking for new functionality, a new user interface (UI), etc., that can be accomplished by modernizing your application with Progress OpenEdge.”
Consolidate has re-discovered a valuable long-term partner in Progress, says Rasmussen. “Progress fits our long-term goals and meets the demanding and changing needs of our industry. They have been a trusted, strategic partner of ours for close to 20 years, and we hope the relationship continues for at least another 20.”