With its latest announcement that it plans to enter the construction and CAPEX sourcing realm, MedAssets is expanding the definition of what it means to be a GPO in healthcare (or any field, for that matter). The centerpiece of this agreement is relationship with Attania, a specialist provider in the market. According to the announcement, "with this new agreement, organizations utilizing MedAssets Capital and Construction Solutions gain access to ... [a] solution suite for enhanced visibility and financial control of construction and renovation projects across all stages -- from planning and predictive analysis to management."
The four components of the Attania solution focus more on project visibility and management than sourcing. Budgeting and planning are at the core. But MedAssets also notes that they will "provide sourcing decision support via a comprehensive healthcare capital equipment catalog that includes detailed product information, room templates and MedAssets contracts ... [as] MedAssets Capital and Construction Solutions are part of the company's national group purchasing organization portfolio and field data expertise."
The blurring of lines between GPOs, BPOs, consultancies and software providers is something that procurement practitioners need to be increasingly aware of. While we are not familiar with the Attania solution and its ability to be configured to support any industry-specific requirements in healthcare construction and CAPEX spend, in general, one of the value proposition of BPOs that deliver platform as a service (PaaS) capability is an ability to configure solutions beyond the level that software companies typically do directly. This can include not only specific workflow definitions, roles and compliance requirements, but also specific templates, supplier lists, supplier catalogs and related areas.
We suspect the success of the combined MedAssets and Attania offering -- and whether it hits critical mass in the industry outside of the captive MedAssets members/users -- will hinge on the degree to which the solution is ultimately configured and managed for the healthcare market. As Tom suggests, we'll be watching. As will the industry.