Providers of Critical Healthcare Solutions
Horizon Strategic Partners provides award-winning mobile healthcare solutions on a global scale. In September, Horizon’s CEO and Joint Founder, Mike Northall, was awarded the title of CEO of the Year for 2018 by CEO Monthly Magazine. On the back of this well-deserved achievement, we spoke to Mike to see how he has spearheaded this innovative firm towards impressive growth.
The NHS has had a turbulent history in the implementation of new IT solutions. Plans to create the largest single “civilian” IT System to connect all parts of the NHS were abandoned at a cost of over £11 billion in 2011. As a result, NHS Trusts were encouraged to develop or acquire smaller scale IT Solutions that better suited their individual needs. Following this change in approach, Horizon Strategic Partners started working with local NHS Trusts to provide IT Solutions that were cost effective, simple to implement and easy to use; the overriding objective was to create mobile application services that improved communications amongst clinicians and between clinicians and their patients.
Mike was keen to emphasise that Horizon, though small if measured by number of employees, has a truly global reach, with over 200,000 users in North America, Australasia, Europe and Africa. Horizon is capitalising on the rise of mobile devices and applications in the healthcare sector that can deliver vital and up to date information when and where it’s needed. Their products range from MicroGuide™, an application dedicated to improving adherence to medical guidelines that is now used throughout the NHS and overseas, to MediEmo, a fertility treatment management platform that provides emotional support for women undergoing IVF treatment.
“Our vision is that -within three years – we will have created a community of over one million clinicians worldwide using MicroGuide™ on a daily basis.”
To start the interview, Mike took a moment to detail his early career path leading up to Horizon’s launch. “I started Horizon ten years ago with Ian Williams. Ian and I had worked together at CSF Group where I was Joint Founder and CEO and Ian was our CTO. I sold the product and services division of CSF to Logicalis in 2006 and backed our managed services business in to Cantono, a listed technology business, a few months later.”
Originally a graduate of Sheffield University, Mike started his career as a salesman for Burroughs Machines, an American Computer Company; “It was a baptism of fire. After a short sales training course, each day I would drive to trading estates on the outskirts of Sheffield and knock on doors trying to sell Burroughs range of calculators to reluctant FDs. Once I’d sold ten calculators I received further training and then called on larger companies to sell accounting machines. During this time I needed to understand business finance and so I enrolled with “The Rapid Results Correspondence School” and studied accountancy. This led to me moving to London where I worked at Avon Cosmetics European Head Office as a cost analyst. Working in Knightsbridge was certainly in stark contrast to pounding the streets in Sheffield. I really enjoyed my time at Avon, but I still thought IT was going to provide better career opportunities, and so I reluctantly left Avon and ended up working at IBM for six years where I trained to become a systems engineer.”
“Before I started CSF Group with two friends I also worked at Atlantic Computers. I joined as a computer leasing salesman and ended up running Atlantic’s UK Brokerage Division. I truly believe that the different skills I developed in a variety of roles in these very different types of company was the perfect preparation for starting my own business in 1990.”
Mike believes success in business is based on a combination of hard work, luck and talent. Bad luck was certainly to play a part when he and Ian initially launched Horizon under the name of Horizon Super Yachts. “After working at Cantono, we set up a new business, Horizon Super Yachts, importing yachts from Taiwan to sell to high net worth individuals in the City. As they say in the business, “timing is everything”, and we couldn’t have picked a worse time – it was 2008, and in the midst of the global financial crisis, and unsurprisingly not many people were interested in buying £1 million yachts.”
After “the yachting fiasco”, Mike decided to go back to what he knew best and rebranded the business as a technology company and changed the name to Horizon Strategic Partners. The rest is, as they say, history.
In his closing comments, Mike offers some insight into the key to Horizon’s success: “I think the key to our success has been that the senior management team has worked closely together for so many years, we know and play to our respective strengths, we get on well and respect each other and we all have the same ambitions and vision for the business.”
Contact: Mike Northall
Company: Horizon Strategic Partners
Address: WestOne 114 Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 1BA, UK
Telephone: 0113 388 4895