As both a chief financial officer and a chief administrative officer, Sal DeTrane occupies a unique role. For his company, MedeAnalytics, DeTrane leads the strategy, operations, finance, and organizational development functions. As a strategic architect, DeTrane is focused on developing the strategic plan, aligning operations with that plan, and maximizing the return on growth investments.
MedeAnalytics is a leader in cloud-based financial-performance analytics software for the healthcare industry. The company is centrally positioned within the healthcare economic landscape, aggregating disparate data from—and delivering actionable insights to—more than 1,500 hospitals, payers, and employers. This value proposition is particularly relevant as the healthcare industry undertakes a major reimbursement model transformation over the next decade.
Prior to joining MedeAnalytics in 2004, DeTrane was the founding managing director of Nucleus Partners, a venture capital and catalyst business. At Nucleus, he advised MedeAnalytics’s board in both business strategy and development initiatives in 2002, as an investor.
Since DeTrane’s involvement, MedeAnalytics has grown its revenue forty times over as the company realized its strategic plan and achieved key milestones. “The entire team is very proud of the business growth and diversification we have collectively achieved over the years and the positive impact we have on healthcare businesses each day,” he says.
DeTrane believes that organizations in all industries can benefit from applying analytics and enterprise performance management (EPM) solutions to improve operational execution of their strategy. Much like its clients, MedeAnalytics makes investments, operates the company, and refines its business plan based on actionable intelligence. Its approach to managing performance includes analyzing and monitoring its key operational and financial data and related plans with an eye toward continuous improvement.
A Reliance on Data and Systems
“We need data to assess whether our strategic plan is working and what refinements are required,” DeTrane says. Sophisticated operating analytics and EPM plans play a major role in aligning MedeAnalytics’s strategy with the execution of its software business model. The company utilizes a number of cloud-based software entities that form the basis of its enterprise resource planning (ERP). These software packages are used on everything from sales, marketing, client engagement, and accounting to engineering. “We use and aggregate data from these systems to run our business and provide financial and operational visibility into future performance,” DeTrane says.
As his organization leverages leading cloud-based IT systems for its ERP, DeTrane feels that MedeAnalytics also practices what it preaches relative to performance management and analytics. In fact, the company leverages its own analytics platform as well as a recently acquired EPM solution to aggregate business intelligence and monitor the execution of its operating plans.
Strategic Architect and Operator
Several progressive organizations are looking to a single leader for key strategic, operational, and financial leadership roles. Along with their CEOs, CFOs are often held equally responsible for strategic and operational success and failure. At MedeAnalytics, DeTrane engaged with the CEO in addition to the broader executive team to develop multiyear strategic plans for the past twelve years. DeTrane and the executive team look out at least two years to consider market, solution, team, and operational plan considerations relative to their business.
Inadequate growth planning prevents many organizations from realizing potential value. Common pitfalls include lack of prioritization, cross-functional alignment, innovation, and requisite investment. A 2013 Corporate Executive Board poll for CFOs at midsized companies found that 72 percent of CFOs believe their company’s current strategy will not enable it to achieve its long-term growth goals. So, translating strategy into operational plans that result in targeted outcomes is both art and science, DeTrane says, which he’s executing at MedeAnalytics.