Accelerate the Industry Forward
Technology companies often open up their products to create an ecosystem for third party developers. This concept extends back to original desktop operating systems to Apple and its AppStore, Salesforce.com with its AppExchange, Google’s Gmail with its various extensions. Partners, ISVs, or customers who build enhancements to a core technology product are seen as enhancing the “stickiness” of the core platform. Accordingly, IT vendors for other non-healthcare industries have striven to grow the number and intensity of developer advocates in partner and customer organizations. Microsoft, Salesforce, and Apple exemplify the successful use of this strategy. Apple recently had the most profitable quarter in the history of human economic activity in large part because of the iOS ecosystem the company has cultivated.
Contrast this with the conventions of healthcare IT vendors where the prevailing view is that opening up their products increases the risk that its customers could more readily migrate to a competitor. Many fear that the data in their applications, if made liquid, will flow more readily to a competing solution thereby lowering barriers to migration.