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When it comes to technology, constant change is a fact of life, and companies that fail to keep pace are quickly passed by. That is certainly true of the medical equipment technology (MET) industry, where several trends are reshaping the market and forcing MET companies to rethink key aspects of their business to remain relevant and thrive.
One of these aspects is product software, which has become increasingly important to the functionality of medical devices and a strong competitive differentiator. MET companies will need to change their perspective, and how they approach product software development, if they hope to compete in todays—and tomorrows—ever-changing market.
In this paper, we explore three important actions MET companies can take to transform product software development from an onerous burden to a driver of value and growth.
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Traditional manufacturing companies in the medical equipment industry face substantially changed market conditions. The days of annual growth rates exceeding 10 percent appear to be gone, if not forever, then certainly for the foreseeable future. Further aggravating the plight of these companies are steep cost cuts in public healthcare systems, agile new market entrants and fierce competition—not to mention several market trends that promise to fundamentally alter the rules of the game.
The vast majority of companies in the field of medical equipment technology (MET) have a strong and successful background in hardware development and manufacturing, as well as more recently in hardware and software co-design in which software is seen primarily as an “enabler” of the hardware.
However, as the MET industry becomes more software driven every year and software continues to evolve as a product itself, MET companies must find a way to gain greater competencies in professional software development if they are to remain competitive.
In Accenture’s view, it is time for MET companies to rethink how they develop product software. Based on our work with MET companies around the world, we have created an approach that can help companies build a robust capability for developing software that more effectively meets customers’ needs and, subsequently, increases the overall value of their products.
Regardless of how a company is positioned in the market, continuous improvement in software development is a key aspect to survive and be successful. Suggestions include:
Aligning their R&D process to their corporate strategy, companies can dramatically improve software development productivity.
Using an optimized software development process tailored to the actual current needs, and reusing best practices within software development, companies can define the right balance between quality, time and cost of software, as well as ensure adequate access to required capabilities.
Defining and applying new business models (such as open source software, cloud-based solutions, and modularization of software packages though Module Care), companies can transform product software from a “necessary evil” into a powerful driver of value and growth.
To be sure, any one of these actions, implemented independently, can have a positive impact on a company’s software development operations. However, while none of the recommendations relies on the other for success, the greatest returns will come to companies that can adopt all the actions.
November 21, 2012
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