As we hit the end of July, it seems that the summer slowdown is in full effect. For every ten emails I send out I get back at least six “out of office” replies. As with any organization focused on building and supporting a client base, it’s hard not to get a little anxious in August when calls aren’t returned, contracts aren’t processed, and just about everything grinds to a halt.
The smart thing to do, of course, is to ride that wave – take a vacation, turn off the phone, and relax knowing that the odds of a client emergency is that much lower during the long, hot days of August. But I never claimed to be all that smart.
Instead, I long ago figured out that summer time was the best time to double-down on platform maintenance and new feature development. With clients conveniently away, our technology teams can focus nearly 100% of their time on new features, bug fixes, and longer-term project planning. As a small company, it’s hard to overstate how important it is to have that mid-year break to assess what’s been accomplished on the tech side to date and what more needs to be done to meet our calendar year goals.
Our tradition of the ‘summer build’ goes back to the long summer of 1999 when my partner Bob Kyle and I spent the entire three months sitting in front of our computers, using the slow Internet connection we had at our small San Diego office to enter transactional details into an old MS Access database. That database ultimately grew up to become our first SaaS data product – PlacementTracker which still is going strong today as part of Informa Financial Intelligence.
I learned two important things that summer – one is that I really did not like manual data aggregation and two is that a good chiropractor can really be a life saver when you’re sitting slouched over a computer screen for 10+ hours per day. Fortunately in the years since, we’ve been in the position to build great teams of analysts and tech people who can execute ‘summer builds’ much better than I ever could.
This year’s summer build at Advera is very much in the spirit of the annual tradition – unsexy, back to basics, operational efficiency improvements. The teams will be working on a number of admin functions that will speed our ability to collect, optimize, process, and display our ever growing clinical and real world evidence data sets. Clients won’t see the results right away on their front end interface, but the changes we implement during this year’s summer build will enable us to deliver them more actionable intelligence in an even more timely way.
We’re excited for the relative quiet of the next few weeks to help undertake these important projects. And for those of your heading off to a fun, relaxing summer vacation – we’ll still be here when you get back, ready and raring to go!
Brian M. Overstreet, President, Advera Health Analytics, Inc.