50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2021
The Silicon Review
“ILLUMISOFT is the place where business knowledge meets technical expertise.”
Today, it is vital for entrepreneurs and technovators to combine their ideas, expertise, and business knowledge with technology to bring to the market a solution that is competent. But an innovator shouldn’t have to worry about the technical aspects of a product. Kansas City, Missouri-based ILLUMISOFT excels at delivering ace custom-made software, web and mobile systems that produce great value for such innovators.
ILLUMISOFT is the place where business knowledge meets technical expertise. To achieve this, the company works tirelessly to understand a client’s requirements to deliver software that speaks their business’ language. The company’s solutions are well known across industries but even more so in the healthcare sector. Its custom-made solutions are legitimately helping firms beat the competition.
In a brief interview with us, Dan Prince, Founder and CEO of ILLUMISOFT, talked to us about the importance of getting to know the clients to make the best custom software possible. He also spoke about the approach of the company when it comes to delivering innovation. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
Interview Excerpt: Dan Prince
Q. ILLUMISOFT is a custom software development company dedicated to helping healthcare providers and clinical researchers integrate technology into their operations. What are the greatest challenges in this endeavor?
The greatest challenge when you are providing technical services that depend on knowing the details is figuring out what the details are. While you might not think it could be that difficult you need to keep in mind that the person asking for the technology probably does not know what technology is out there or how to decide which to use. A lot of times they know exactly what they want but haven’t thought about all of the different aspects of achieving it. We have to help them with that. We consider it our job. It really takes an investigative approach that is unintuitive for most people.
Once we can tell our clients what they want and why they want it – in a better way than they can present it themselves – then we’re almost ready to get started building it. But getting there takes a lot of digging. It takes risking sounding like you do not understand – by asking the question that is supposed to have an obvious answer. To overcome this difficulty, we have developed a pattern that we follow while onboarding a new project. For our people, service is the absolute most important thing. You cannot provide service unless you truly understand the client.
Q. What are your focus areas?
We focus on building affordable mobile apps, web apps and, data integrations for the healthcare sector. We tend to provide mobile-first designs and follow published user interface best practices. We like to say “we’re building apps to last.” We do not design our solutions to fit a specific pattern; rather we think building the right solution to fit the problem is a better approach. That’s why we are a custom development shop rather than a product shop that provides off-the-shelf-software.
The best solutions are the solutions that solve the problem simply, efficiently, and without failure. Most off-the-shelf software are designed to satisfy a spectrum of users. When you do that you have to make sacrifices in simplicity.
You might say, “But custom software costs more.” That’s true. However, when you have people with the level of experience necessary, you can accomplish a lot more with a lot less. To truly know the value, you have to measure the cost of the custom software against a lot of other factors. We believe, for the buyer that wants what they want and won’t settle for some solution that is only close to what they want, custom software from an experienced provider can be very affordable.
Q. ‘By combining your business knowledge with our expertise in software development, we can create effective solutions tailor-made for your business.’ Would you like to elaborate on this a bit more?
When someone comes to us for a solution, they usually share what they want to build. A web site, a mobile app, a platform, etc. Rarely are we told how that solution fits into the company’s goals or long-term vision. By digging deep into your request, we are able to discovery “why” you want to build the “what” that you are asking us for. When we know who you are, why you want something, and what you want, we can easily identify no-brainer additions and add-ons that come with little or no cost and improve your idea so significantly that it’s hard to imagine the solution without them.
Q. How do you help your clients break the ‘sucking sound of the core’? And what strategies do you suggest to encourage innovation?
Everyone is different, but most of our clients are able to recognize a good idea when they imagine it. In our efforts to discover the details behind what the client needs, we also need to identify what the client doesn’t need. One tactic we use is to expand on the request until they say, “No, we’ll save that for the next version.” For instance, if they ask for a login screen we will make sure to ask them if they want a ‘Forgot password’ ability. If we don’t ask, how will we know? As we discover their solution and lead the vision beyond what was requested there are many times when the additional feature is needed, or welcomed. When you get enough features working, people begin to expand their idea about what is possible.
At ILLUMISOFT, we support innovation by including ourselves in the discussion. We’d like to think that we help the innovators think beyond where they are capable of thinking, if not just a bit.
Q. Forming and managing innovation teams is overwhelming. That said, how do you keep your decision-makers focused?
Getting the right people together and arranging them into a functional innovation team is challenging. But it can also be really fun. If you find the right people, put them in the right kind of mood, and make it safe for them to think and speak their minds – I’ve been amazed by the innovation possible. Moderate that output with some vision and feed it back to them and you’ve built an iterative growth enabling mechanism. How do you keep decision makers focused? You stay in close contact with them. Find out where the team is at and share your feedback.
Q. Could you describe your typical management style and the type of employee that works well with you?
I just treat people like people. I like to see what people do well and reward them for that. If I think they are able to do something well, I offer them the opportunity to do it. I share my naturally high expectations but I am never disappointed when they are not met. I simply show gratitude for what was accomplished. I like to work with people that are modestly confident. I appreciate when that confidence comes from having learned that they can accomplish far more than for which they give themselves credit. I appreciate people that give it their all. But, the effort has to produce results. It’s ok to fail, but failure should be tempered with hard work and research.
Q. What new endeavors is your company currently undertaking?
We are just wrapping up a three-year diabetes study and are turning our attention towards building a modern remote patient monitoring solution with all the bells and whistles. We will be collecting data from a variety of “wearable” devices and other in-home healthcare data collection devices. The project is a large one and expected to take from 1-3 years to complete. Some other projects we’re getting underway soon include VR/AR training solution for healthcare application including a training editor/course builder.
The Leader Upfront
Dan Prince, Founder and CEO: Dan Prince is a proud member of the Cherokee Nation and a 26-year veteran in computer technologies. He is a graduate from Missouri State University and a father of four sons. Dan has spent his entire career perfecting the ability to bring technology to life. He started ILLUMISOFT in 2014 after a previously failed attempt to start a software company in 2010.