Allied Laundry Services Limited is a District Health Board joint venture co-operative created to meet the laundry requirements of 7 regional hospitals and the wider health services community. Allied Laundry’s vision is to be the lowest cost provider of linen services to all customers through linen standardisation and technology innovations. Allied Laundry also services commercial customers with an extensive range of dedicated health care linen products on an as demand basis.
Allied Laundry is the amalgamation of several DHB laundries throughout the lower North Island. The customer was standardising on several key line-of-business applications, however due to their existing mix of IT solutions, their exact requirements could not be determined. This was made more challenging by the fact that their key line-of-business support vendor was not able to provide specifications.
ComputerCare proposed and won a contract for implementing a solution combining a number of Microsoft and Cloud based technologies all built on a three-year support contract.
The solution was built around a comprehensive development plan, which included a mixture of Office 365, Azure, on-premise PC’s running Windows 10, SharePoint and Power BI.
The support agreement was based around our TotalCare support agreement, which is a modular all-inclusive offering on one single monthly bill. Leveraging Microsoft CSP pricing, ComputerCare has been able to wrap the entire solution of Desktops, SharePoint/File Storage, Line of Business Apps (Azure IaaS) through to reporting and ongoing device management into a single monthly bill under the customer TotalCare agreement. The flexible nature of the whole solution has been key to supporting a new amalgamated business that was unsure of its IT requirements.
This particular agreement incorporates:
- Microsoft Office365
- Microsoft Windows 10
- Microsoft SharePoint
- Microsoft Azure
- ComputerCare CloudCover
- Support Monitoring & Autofix Services
- All Reactive Servicing
- Ongoing Strategic Planning
Office 365 has been used for all File Sharing and E-Mails. All files are now stored in SharePoint and OneDrive allowing access from anywhere.
Windows 10 has been deployed to all machines and joined to Azure Active Directory to provide directory services to the network.
Azure has been a key component to the solution. The initial requirements of the application provider called for a single server with a direct MY SQL connection from the desktop to the database. Initial testing found this would not be feasible due to concerns regarding speed and reliability.
With Azure IaaS, we were able to scale and tweak the solution without continuing to invest in new hardware. The solution has since expanded to a MySQL server, a Terminal Server and a Domain Controller all hosted with Azure. The system has scaled with each new challenge presented as software and user requirements changed.
New features of Azure such as Active Directory Domain Services are also planned. This will provide the option of decommissioning the Domain Controller currently supporting the Terminal Server and helping reduce monthly costs.
CloudCover offers replication of on-premise and Azure server backup images to a secondary recovery site. This particular solution sends a backup of the customer server infrastructure to be sent to the Cloud on a regular basis. A Bare Metal Recovery Drive (BMR) can be implemented if a full recovery is required. This solution also allows ComputerCare to power up the customers replicated servers in the Cloud for up to thirty (30) days. In a DR situation, the entire customer server infrastructure can be run from the secondary data centre.
Reporting features built into the software products implemented have not met the customers’ expectations. This has given us the opportunity to bring key data out of their accounting, payroll and linen applications and into Power BI. Visibility of this data is key to meeting the efficiency gains required of this new DHB owned entity. Power BI is therefore being brought into the development plans to meet these requirements. Our internal ComputerCare Power BI development team are bringing together the key business information the customer needs to make informed decisions.
The next stage of development will be a roll-out of mobile devices to all the hospitals to allow processing of digital linen ordering. These devices will be added into the scope of the existing TotalCare agreement and be managed with Mobile Device Management solutions.
TotalCare and the wider market
TotalCare is a very powerful support mechanism that allows ComputerCare to leverage the power of Cloud based technologies, subscription payment models and user based pricing to provide customers with a custom solution. ComputerCare has developed a finance partnership that allows us to incorporate hardware, software and services that would normally not be available using this model. This enables us to provide a total package for all aspects of the custom technology framework of each and every customer.
The main customer challenges addressed by TotalCare were:
- The unpredictability of costs associated with implanting and supporting all aspects of their technology infrastructure
- Leveraging Cloud technologies and hybrid environments to enable operations from any location.
- Defined costs for a flexible and wide range of products and services with the flexibility to adjust to changes in client resourcing requirements and business needs
- A proactive approach to system reliability
- Providing end-users with unfettered and fast access to support without any impact on cost, meaning users get issues resolved quickly, without the need for a client authorisation system and leading to greater levels of end-user satisfaction and productivity
- Access to set of software tools that enable greater productivity and effectiveness in their line of business
- Regular and customised reporting on key parameters of their systems, providing peace-of-mid for the Customer
The business impact of TotalCare to ComputerCare is:
- Easy access to client systems and the tools to allow problems to be properly researched and resolved, sometimes without the customer even being aware of them
- Technical staff being liberated from the pressure of customer costs accruing in accord with the amount of time being spent on a problem. This means issues tend to be resolved to a higher standard and measures implemented to prevent recurrences
- A mandate from the client to be more proactive in maintaining their systems
In late 2015/early 2016, Allied Laundry Ltd underwent a period of dramatic change, including doubling size in terms of production output, and uncoupling from existing support services with the aim of becoming a more stand-alone entity. Out stated goal was to be a leader in the laundry industry through technology innovation.
To assist us in this goal, we engaged ComputerCare to prepare an IT strategic plan to move us forward along the path of becoming independent, but also to utilise technology to improve our workflows and services.
This strategic plan has been implemented, and ComputerCare have been with us every step of the way with support, encouragement and expert advice. They have proved to be flexible and responsive, coming up with alternative solutions to changes that have occurred from third party providers or changes in direction along the way.
From a customer's perspective, ComputerCare are the epitome of a customer focused service. From the wider scope of strategic planning, to discussing operational requirements and solutions, right down to the day-to-day troubleshooting and problem-solving, the team at ComputerCare provide end-to-end service which is at all times professional and responsive.
The IT solutions that have been recommended and implemented by ComputerCare have been effective in meeting our strategic goals. We enjoy the flexibility that the system provides; recommendation such as renting a cloud server rather than purchasing a server have meant that our options are more flexible, and that's directly attributable to ComputerCare's expert advice. The are able to see the bigger picture and wider ramifications, and have the knowledge of a range of possible solutions and are able to recommend the best options for our business. We find this advice invaluable.
Business Support Manager
Allied Laundry Services Ltd.
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