Member Mission – what inspires our members: Tobias Larscheid – Managing Director of L21s
In our column Flying Health Member Mission, we talk to innovation leaders from our network to get insights into their companies and projects. In this interview, we talk to Tobias Larscheid about IT platform development in the healthcare sector – how to recognize the best offer and avoid misinvestments.
1. If you had two offers side by side – as experts, what aspects would you look at first? Where is it particularly worthwhile to ask detailed questions (and why)?
“From our perspective, it is crucial that the service provider sees themselves not just as technicians but as professional problem solvers. When comparing offers, it is advisable to find out which service provider has engaged with the substantive expertise of the specific branch. If a service provider only understands technical or procedural details of software development, that could bea red flag. Most IT projects do not fail due to technology but rather due to issues in understanding the subject matter and resulting misunderstandings.”
2. How can I tell if a service provider has calculated fairly and sensibly? Or conversely – are there indicators that raise skepticism?
“We often encounter a fundamental discussion about the billing model with our clients, i.e., payment of a fixed price or variable billing based on effort. Due to perceived planning security and risk shifting, many clients prefer a fixed price. Unfortunately, this often leads to service providers investing a lot of energy in discussions about the scope, and this energy is then lacking in the product. Billing based on effort means that the service provider can fully concentrate on the product, and creative changes to the product are still possible later in the project. Financial planning security can still be achieved through pre-agreed budgets.”
3. How can I determine which service provider is a good fit for one of my projects? What specific considerations apply to the healthcare industry?
“In our experience, it is an added value if the service provider is not a completely generic digital agency but brings specific industry experience in healthcare. This helps avoid the still common situation of having to explain the business model and working methods to external project members for six weeks before the actual work begins. Additionally, especially in healthcare, it is important to allow for innovations and innovative service providers. Due to the high security requirements in healthcare, many projects are consciously not awarded to startups, even though they may be very suitable. We often see the trend where companies choose a large “general store” service provider to create a complete end-to-end solution. While this may be easier to coordinate, it inevitably leads to suboptimal solutions in some areas. It is advisable to select specialized service providers for dedicated areas.”
4. What are the three most expensive mistakes that are repeatedly made when selecting IT service providers in the healthcare industry?
“From our experience, IT projects rarely fail due to technology. The crucial aspect is the interface between subject matter expertise and technology. If there are no functioning interfaces between subject matter and technology, the translation of subject matter into the “language of developers” fails, and projects are delayed, do not deliver the desired results, or exceed the budget. A good service provider should occupy this interface between subject matter expertise and technology and make it easy for the customer to bring their requirements to life in a product.”
The Team of L21s.