Last week E-Health Insider published quite a long interview with Gary Cohen, the CEO of IBA Health which has all but completed its takeover of iSoft.
11 Oct 2007
Gary Cohen, the Australian chief executive of IBA Health, has good reason to celebrate - IBA Health is now poised to take control of Britain's iSoft.
In an exclusive interview he spoke to E-Health Insider last Thursday, the day iSoft shareholders almost unanimously accepted IBA Health’s bid that will see the company taken over by its far smaller one time rival.
It’s an audacious move that will propel IBA Health – at various stages written off in the takeover battle - from being a company with revenues of less than £40m a year to almost £250m, and going from 700 staff to 3,500. “David conquered Goliath,” he jokes.
It’s a personal triumph for Cohen who five years ago saw IBA shut out of the NHS market with the introduction of the NHS IT programme, and sell its UK operations. Now he is poised to take control of his one time greatest rival and, with the merged IBA/iSoft, will be at the centre of the NHS IT project.
“If you look at process of iSoft that started a year ago we were nowhere, they didn’t even rate us, we were not even on the short-list. When CompuGroup came in we were written off and nobody from the board or the advisors gave us a hope in hells chance of coming back. Yet look at the end point,” says Cohen.
He acknowledges that the really tough battle – to integrate the companies and deliver the Lorenzo product – has only just begun. It was the cost and delays in developing Lorenzo that cost iSoft its independence.
“We’ve got to be honest and demonstrate that our position is earned. We’ve got to show people we can do it, use the acquisition of iSoft as the beginning of a journey,” says Cohen. He stresses that IBA and iSoft are an excellent fit, both having deep health domain expertise and strong experience in “socialised medicine”.
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Now, without wishing to put a jinx on things Mr Cohen is dead right when he says the battle has just begun – to get these companies integrated and working as a coherent whole is a huge job of itself – to say nothing of the challenge faced in getting a workable version of Lorenzo out the door.
There is however another problem Mr Cohen needs to attend to – now that the battle has been won over iSoft – and that is to repair IBA’s working relationships in Australia.
As previously disclosed I am a small IBA shareholder and I am less than impressed when I consistently hear reports of IBA Health being un-helpful, uncooperative and lacking customer focus with Australian clients of a number of different sizes.
It could be it is only the unhappy who get in touch, but I think IBA would be well advised to do a careful review of its customer satisfaction levels. From what I am hearing they may not like what they find.