Mark Cameron, COO, VantageMed
The New Reality for Customer Engagement
How He's Done: Cameron, 51, joined VantageMed as CIO in early 2005, and three months later was promoted to chief operating officer. He still oversees internal information technology at the health-care software vendor, as well as product development and customer services. It's a big job, especially in a turnaround situation.
VantageMed had purchased 26 companies from its inception in 1995 to 1999, "but did a poor job of integrating them," Cameron says. "There were a number of areas where we were spending too much money. We had to figure out how to best apply resources and where we didn't need resources."
The "we" refers to Cameron and VantageMed chief executive Steve Curd. The two have worked together for 20 years, starting in I.T. at American Airlines in the 1980s. They also teamed up in the late 1990s at HealtheonWebMD, where Curd was COO and Cameron oversaw technical services. Three months after Curd took over as CEO of VantageMed, he coaxed Cameron aboard.
Cameron and Curd combed VantageMed's product line, looking to kill unprofitable software and services. They culled products built on older server technologies, for example, and reduced the line to Windows-only software. In 2005, the last full fiscal year reported, gross margins on software topped 63%, up from 49% in 2004.
Yet, VantageMed is still looking for its first profitable year. "We took it on to turn it around," Cameron says. "We've got everything positioned properly. Now, we'll do what we need to grow."
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