One of New Zealand’s largest Kaupapa Maori disability healthcare providers, Te Roopu Taurima O Manukau, has signed a three-year contract to outsource its entire IT operations to local datacentre and infrastructure provider Revera.
Prior to signing up with Revera, Te Roopu’s IT infrastructure was made up by a number of products, provided by vendors in an ad-hoc manner, says the organisation’s information services manager, Henare Howard.
“The landscape was a bit of a hodge-podge,” he says.
The infrastructure was not robust, it was not supported, and it was coming to a stage where it needed to be replaced, says Howard. There were few in-house resources, so the question was whether to invest in-house and build the infrastructure, or whether to outsource, he says. However, financial constraints meant upgrading Te Roopu’s own IT systems was out of the question.
“The organisation is a healthcare provider, and providing IT was not really part of our core business,” he says.
Te Roopu was also growing after winning additional contracts with the Ministry of Health to provide regional intellectual disability supported accommodation services (RIDSAS) in the South Island, he says.
“We needed to engage with an organisation which covered the same geographical areas that we did,” says Howard.
Te Roopu’s entire IT operations, including servers, core applications, client management, HR, financial applications and databases, migrated to Revera’s Auckland datacentre in July. The deal also includes support services and helpdesk. A virtual private network connects the offices in Kaikohe, Auckland, Hamilton, and shortly, Christchurch, with mobile broadband, providing remote access to field staff, says Howard.
But cultural fit was the main factor for choosing Revera, he says. The companies were a similar size, which appealed to Te Roopu, he says. Revera also seemed innovative and willing to deliver solutions that would fit, he says.
The solution is especially beneficial for Te Roopu’s field staff, who are travelling around the country, says Howard. Previously, staff would write documents by hand in the field and bring notes back to the office to enter the information electronically. The remote offices around the country didn’t have access to the main server, he says, they just had all the documents on their own PCs. Now, staff are able to work remotely.
“We really have moved light-years ahead in terms of getting all the information in one place, backing it up and mitigating a number of risks,” he says.
As part of the new infrastructure, Te Roopu’s computer hardware consists of 60% laptops, compared to 20% before the project, says Howard.
The laptops have greatly improved the work/life balance for the staff, says Howard. The tools allow staff to log on and work on the road or at home, instead of working late in the office or coming in on weekends to go through the backlog, he says. The new infrastructure has enhanced productivity, accuracy and timeliness of data, as well as staff satisfaction — things that were difficult to measure prior to the project, he adds.
Te Roopu pays a monthly fixed price for Revera’s services, which gives the organisation a good idea of exactly how much IT is going to cost for the next three years, says Howard. Anything on top of the monthly fee will be project-related, he says.
The majority of the organisation’s around 400 staff are caregivers and only 60 are headoffice or mobile workers, says Howard.