“My role as a healthcare technology specialist is to provide physicians and payer-providers with thought leadership around building and implementing unique solutions to help them deliver better healthcare. More and more, this means data-rich applications using real-time analysis, AI, and machine learning. NetApp’s ONTAP operating system and Microsoft’s Azure NetApp Files has eliminated my need to worry about infrastructure and storage – instead I can focus on innovation. That is what our company does best.” Amy Rutt, CEO, Ciracom Cloud
Amy Rutt clearly remembers the moment she decided to start her own business as a technology services provider.
It was 1998 in Washington, DC, and she was attending the Microsoft launch of Windows 2000, where Nathan Myhrvold, then Microsoft CTO, was presenting. There was a question from the audience – “What is the future of the internet?” His reply? “The internet is the operating system.”
For Amy, it was a lightbulb moment. She had been considering starting her own company and this would become her guiding star.
“I was a field technician at the time, working on-site doing system installations and configurations – value-added work for customers. I realized that the internet provided an opportunity to create a new business using a new model – one that was focussed on delivering technology as a service.” Fast forward to 2002 and Ciracom was born, initially delivering Microsoft-hosted Exchange.
“In my head this was the perfect business model,” Amy laughs. “But the reality was much different. Getting those first clients on board wasn’t easy. People didn’t understand the concept and ‘cloud’ wasn’t even a thing yet. But it made me a pioneer in building and selling cloud services. I understand how to wrap value around the technology itself and package up separate pieces to deliver an entire solution. We’ve been 100% focused on Microsoft and have been incredibly successful as a result.”
The NetApp Cloud First Partner Program is a welcome addition to Amy’s Microsoft commitment. NetApp and Microsoft together are providing Amy with a complete enterprise-grade offering for her healthcare clients.
“The technology that NetApp offers on Azure makes it so much easier for us to ensure that our customers get the advantages of both the integrated NetApp and Microsoft technologies. In particular, Azure NetApp Files, which is actually a Microsoft solution, is built and supported jointly by Microsoft and NetApp.”
How Azure NetApp Files Will Help Healthcare Clients Get to Cloud Faster
“What we do here at Ciracom is provide our customers with architectural design and consulting services to move to or build applications on Microsoft cloud services. We’ve got quite a few customers with on-premises NFS-based applications that need re-architecting to move to Azure. With Azure NetApp Files, we are able to easily move their workloads to Azure, without all of the architectural changes. There are obviously huge cost savings, time savings and greater risk reduction for the client. For us, we are better able to help them fully embrace cloud and the subsequent value. It’s fun work and I really enjoy it.” Amy Rutt, CEO, Ciracom Cloud
The Evolution of Healthcare and Cloud
Amy believes that the reason healthcare providers are moving so rapidly to the cloud now has to do with the maturity of cloud.
“Any initial reluctance (around things such as privacy, security, etc.) are no longer a concern, and the solutions themselves have got the right R&D, the right funding, and the right roadmaps to deliver in the cloud. At Ciracom, we are uniquely positioned because we’ve been delivering healthcare-as-a-service for more than 15 years. We have evolved as this industry has evolved.”
Ciracom’s depth of experience with both healthcare and technology has enabled them to take a seat at the table in some of the most advanced healthcare solutions being created today. Amy admits it is flattering to be invited to participate by brand-name technology leaders to help develop and build advanced healthcare offerings using AI and data analytics within products such as Power BI.
To remain innovative, Amy encourages her team to continually challenge what they are doing. “We ask ourselves, ‘how can technology make the physician more relevant to the patient?’ Healthcare is evolving to a more patient-centric model and we are working with physicians who might take a Surface device and meet directly with a patient – either in person or online. The relevance of cloud is that everything that physicians need – EMR records, analysis, research and more – is available, compliant and fully secure.”
Amy admits mobility is just the beginning. “The tools available to us are light-years ahead of where they were even 12 or 24 months ago. We’re doing facial recognition now to eliminate roadblocks for the doctors and we’re really diving deep into the data, using artificial intelligence and analytics to better understand how payer-providers are supporting patient needs.”
Amy continued on to say that NetApp has made everything so much easier because of their ONTAP operating system and cloud fabric architecture. But more than that is NetApp’s direct relationship with Microsoft, and the fact that Azure NetApp Files is simply another Azure service Amy’s clients can consume seamlessly.
“Customers love what we build for them, but the next question is, ‘can you support it for us?’ NetApp Azure Files removes a significant barrier. Ironically, storage is a space that has always been very cluttered in our world. What I mean is, it is not an easy thing to sell or configure. Azure NetApp Files makes it much more seamless for us to deploy and support, and you’re riding on tier-one technology. NetApp is the gold standard for data management; they’re the Cadillac. And to see them create this service with Microsoft and to make that partnership with them, it is just really well-received.”