When you’re competing for a lucrative contract, being the lowest bidder isn’t always a lock. The key to winning the contract is to provide the potential customer with the most efficient solutions with the least number of headaches down the road. What may be cheap today could cost the customer plenty down the road in troubleshooting and downtime.
That selling strategy is just how Mark Parianos and his company, Innovative Data Solutions LLC, won not only the biggest contract in his company’s seven-year history, but the largest project of its kind in the industry.
Bedford Height’s-based IDS provides credential verification services primarily for doctors and other health care practitioners. A statewide organization, called the Minnesota Joint Purchasing Coalition made up of groups representing healthcare companies, hospitals, and physicians, formed to standardize the credential verification process for the state. The effort is to streamline the credential verification process, which can be a time-consuming process now that several doctors practice in different hospitals and are covered by disparate health care plans.
After interviewing 16 companies, IDS was the clear winner, and it wasn’t because it was the low bidder.
“The bottom line was technology,” says Parianos, IDS president and chief executive. “Of all the competition, we were the only one that could prove concretely that we had the technology in place to produce a successful process.”
Here’s how IDS’s technology helped win the big contract.
IDS is a paperless company. If a paper document enters the mix, it’s digitally scanned and stored into a database so it can be accessed online. In an industry where 10,000 doctors will produce seven-and-a-half tons of paper a year, eliminating paper would clearly make the process more efficient. By the way, IDS uses OnBase software for its internal document management, created by Rocky River’s own Hyland Software.
Walk the walk
Members of the Minnesota coalition were impressed with the fact that IDS was successfully using the credential verification software and could point to case studies of current clients.
“Some of the competitors were a little propriatary with things like client lists and customer complaints,” Parianos says. “We were very forthcoming. We said, ‘This is who we are. Like us or don’t like us.’ And I think they enjoyed that honesty.”
IDS employees were not only trained on how to use the company software, they understood the entire process. The employees understood how the data travels to and from the customer, not simply what a manual tells them. That kind of knowledge translates into faster and more effective service, Parianos says.
The credential verification contract includes all of Minnesota and regions in Iowa, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota. So far, more than 40 hospitals and health care plans signed up for IDS’s services. More than 200 organizations are expected to join.