We visited the offices of Isosec to speak to their Co-founder Marc Poulaud about their mission to transform and mobilise healthcare through the use of technology.
So, tell us about Isosec?
We’re a software products company that provides software to the NHS. We’ve been going since 2004 and initially we sold our products to the centre of the NHS. Over the years though, their power and influence has changed and budgets got pushed from the centre out to the trusts, so we’ve had to be flexible in how we operate.
Our main product works with smartcards which clinicians within the NHS use to access patient records. The software allows clinicians to log on very quickly and work in mobile environments, for example busy A&E departments. It’s all about productivity and efficiency.
What is it that you think makes Isosec stand out from other similar companies?
We’ve worked with the NHS for many years so we understand them and how they use technology in such a way that it allows us to create really great software that they influence and develop with us. Typically, the NHS is serviced by very large software providers who produce huge applications, whereas we hone down on specific areas to really understand how certain products should function to create software that does exactly what it should do and ultimately works really well.
How has the company grown since 2004, after all technology is constantly changing?
That’s one thing that we’ve had to really keep on top of. When we were originally dealing with the NHS it was quite difficult to grow our business as we only had one main customer, to whom we constantly had to sell new ideas. When the money began going out to the trusts that gave us a better opportunity as we had more potential customers. We saw a great opportunity and started a proper business plan to tackle the NHS and grow as a business. Since then, over the past three or four years, we’ve been achieving a 60% growth year-on-year.
Are there any projects that you’ve really enjoyed working on?
Part of our technology is aimed at getting rid of paper as a lot of NHS staff are more comfortable making paper notes. Our current product, MIA takes paper-based processes and dematerialises them in a great little app so they can input their work on an iPad. MIA synchronises all patient and observation data, which can be made throughout the day, with their team and their personal appointment list. The product makes things much more efficient and has the potential to save the NHS millions of pounds which is very exciting with their current financial pressures.
Our biggest reference customer is Imperial College London where it’s being used by the midwifery team. MIA saves each midwife 5 hours a week and will hopefully save the hospital £2.3m every three years. We have a great relationship with the team and always enjoy working with them. It’s a really exciting time to be involved with healthcare at the moment, and being able to contribute to the environmental side of things is something we’re really proud of.
What are your plans for growth in the future?
We have specific financial targets to maintain our 60% growth, which we’re really focusing on. We’re also looking at a roadmap for our existing technology; how we’re going to take what we’ve got and evolve it to do new and better things in the future.
Obviously you work closely with the NHS, but what sort of strategic partners do you look to do work with?
Well we’re a partner led organisation so we don’t sell our products directly to the NHS. We will in some instances where we have long term relationships, but we have some great strategic partners, like Block Solutions, Innov8 and Precise Biometrics who are essentially our solution providers: they take our software and combine it with other software products to sell overall solutions.
When it comes to your move to Blackfriars, why did you decide to move from Warrington to Manchester city centre?
It coincided with the period when the NHS were starting to push authority out to the trusts, which changed the way we needed to operate. Before we moved to Blackfriars, we were at Sci-Tech Daresbury which was great as it had a real technology campus type feel about it, but it wasn’t really a commercial place. We felt that with our new strategy, we needed to be in a more vibrant area. That’s why we chose Manchester! We wanted to be in the centre of the emerging business culture and innovation as well as close to the Universities.
What made Blackfriars stand out to you?
We looked around a lot of places in Manchester and we didn’t really like a number of the places that we saw. When we saw this space at Blackfriars, we fell in love with the building. It’s such a great location and it’s just a beautiful building - we’ve got a great space within it with a ping pong table, beanbags, a football table, we do LAN gaming - our workplace culture is really important to us.
You mentioned the universities, do you do a lot of work with them?
We have done. It’s been useful for our projects that are not time critical. When we want to work on new concepts, we look to universities - it’s a way of us identifying some keen young people with fresh ideas who are ultimately are going to be looking for work. That’s a big challenge for us as a small organisation - to find really talented individuals and get them early enough. If you’re a large organisation you attract a lot of people as they often want to go work for large companies.
What is your favourite thing about being based in Manchester city centre?
I think it’s the vibrancy of the place. I’ve been here as a child, I came to college here, met my wife here - it’s such a diverse and colourful city.
Have you got any favourite places in Manchester?
Part of the great thing about Manchester is that there are so many different areas and places to try. As a company, we always try to go somewhere new but we do have our old favourites. One of the places that I think is really great is a cocktail bar called Apotheca - I like the feel of it. Or as a student I used to go to a microbrewery called the Lass O’Gowrie. Manchester has so many different places that you can go to which all have a different vibe and feel. I get a real buzz walking down Deansgate or Market Street; I love walking around and seeing the beautiful buildings, it’s an exciting place to be.