Health care major focus for Dell exec

Champy sees reform efforts just beginning for federal market

Jim Champy is chairman of consulting for Dell Services, following the computer giant’s acquisition of Perot Systems, where he worked for the previous 14 years. His best-selling book “Reengineering the Corporation” has sold more than 3 million copies since it was published in 1993 and has made Champy an internationally known thought-leader. His latest book is “Inspire!” He recently spoke with Associate Editor David Hubler.

WT: How does the Dell acquisition of Perot Systems accord with the theme of your book that companies succeed when they are inspired to grow? Was this an inspirational move by Dell?

Champy: I believe it was. If you listen to Michael Dell, the acquisition was made because he had a genuine appetite and saw the need to be in the services business in order to provide even better solutions to his customers. In that sense it was very inspired. It was done with the intention of engaging customers and, as I suggest in the subtitle of “Inspire,” getting them to come back and really keeping them engaged. It’s possible to develop an even higher value-added service by being both in the hardware as well as in the services side.

WT: How has the Dell acquisition changed your role within the company?

Champy: One thing has changed dramatically. Perot’s services business was extensive but limited. What we have available to us now is a broader range of services particularly services that have to do with operating and maintaining technology infrastructure. Dell brought about $4 billion in services business into the services organization. So we have a broader range of services that we can offer and additionally we’re more global. Perot’s markets were principally U.S. based and although we had a big offshore capability – about 7,000 people in India – we were never what I would describe as a global company. Now together with Dell we are a global business. That’s a big change.

WT: Both companies were known as excellent marketers. Have you noticed any marketing changes as a result of the merger?

Champy: There is a really well-orchestrated effort to go way beyond just selling a piece of hardware but to provide to customers of Dell an integrated set of both hardware and services particularly around infrastructure. I’ve noticed a lot of emphasis on engaging small, medium and large clients with propositions about managing in a much more efficient and effective way the whole technology infrastructure of the company. It’s no longer just about selling boxes.


WT: What’s your next book project?

Champy: Harry Greenspun, the chief medical officer at Dell, and I just finished a book on re-engineering health care. It’s about applying the re-engineering thinking and work that I did in the 1990s to the delivery of healthcare. It is a rethinking of the fundamental processes in healthcare. I am very hopeful it will make the case for the need for radical change in the way health care is delivered.

WT: Where do you see future growth in the federal contracting market?

Champy: Health care will be very big. We have by no means completed health care reform, we’ve just begun. What government has done, and I think rightfully, is started to fix the accessibility issue. We haven’t dealt with the efficiency of delivery or the quality issues around health care. Those are huge issues and a lot of work is ahead both in government and in the private sector. At some point we have to take on how we’ll make the electronic health care records accessible nationally and even globally. I don’t think we’ll ever have a single system, it’s too expensive and too challenging to do. The answer may be in technology, creating a cloud with powerful search engine capabilities. And government has to get more efficient over time to pay for itself. I think we’re going to see a lot more aggressive redesign of government work. The age of re-engineering isn’t over, it’s just beginning.

Reader Comments

Fri, Jul 2, 2010 tdh

We have by no means completed health-care reform; we haven't even started going in the right direction. Instead, we've set medical insurance on a path of self-destruction, and greatly incentivized waste and bad behavior. Thinking about political matters from the alleged viewpoint of an engineer is nothing new, and it is just as puddle-shallow now as it was a century ago. Little good, and great harm, arises from such pseudoscientific pretense.

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