Healthcare Foodservices Management

Client: International industry leader in Catering and Industrial Food Services Management Software
Team Members: Kurt Milam (working for fecher GmbH)
Industry: Healthcare, Catering, Industrial Food Services Management
Service Areas: Web-based applications, Outsourcing / Offshoring
Software: ASP.NET, SQL Server 2000, AJAX, JSON, SOA, HIS, HL7
Hardware: PCs, Touch Screen Terminals, Receipt Printers, PDAs

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Background:

The client, an international leader in its segment, wanted to expand into the profitable healthcare and hospital food services sector. Its existing, web-based software application had to be augmented in order to meet the complicated needs of customers in that sector.

Problems:

  • The client:
    • needed to ensure that new development did not affect its existing software or customers adversely
    • wanted to maintain a degree of confidentiality during the early development phase
    • lacked sufficient internal development resources to build the additional functionalities required to service the healthcare / hospital sectors while maintaining existing software
  • Time constraints made it infeasible to build a large enough and capable team from scratch
  • Heavy competition in the sector required that the client get its product to market as quickly as possible, and that it have something to show its eager potential customers even sooner

Solution:

Build the expanded functionality into a set of add-on modules, outsourcing the entire development effort to an external team.

Kurt Milam served as software architect and project leader for two years for a team of software engineers and testers located in Romania. Our team followed an iterative and incremental development process. We worked closely with the customer’s healthcare industry experts to determine and define requirements. Mr. Milam was also responsible for database design, user interface design, training team members in advanced techniques (particularly AJAX, javascript, JSON, CSS and other web-related techniques). We researched important technical and business questions and wrote whitepapers on them. We built prototype AJAX web controls which were incorporated into existing software, as well as into the new healthcare modules. We devised and implemented workflows and protocols which helped to improve quality while cutting down on development time.

Before the end of our second year on the project, our team had also begun coding directly on the customer’s core modules, introducing new features and functionalities that were made available to clients outside of the healthcare and hospital sector.

Results:

  • Our iterative development process:
    • allowed the client to demonstrate working features to potential clients soon after development began
    • allowed our team to respond flexibly to fluidly changing requirements
  • The client now has a fully functional module that:
    • integrates seamlessly with their existing core software, as well as with standard Hospital Information Systems
    • can be flexibly customized to meet the special needs of its various customers
    • is completely internationalized (including support for Arabic and Cyrillic scripts)
    • is already used by hospitals on several continents to manage foodservices operations
    • was developed more quickly and at a lower cost than the client could have managed had it built a team locally from scratch
  • The client continued to work with the original team of trusted offshore software engineers, who are now familiar with the client’s core software system, as well as with the healthcare module they developed, more than three years after the project began