CodeBlue has taken on board the 320 seat Blind Foundation IT infrastructure in just one month, implementing a service desk and integrated remote monitoring service to achieve a service desk resolution rate of better than 85 percent in the first month of operation.
According to the tech company, the Blind Foundation’s infrastructure is relatively complex, required to support the delivery of essential services for the 11,700 Kiwis who are blind or have low vision.
Currently the foundation has more than 300 full time and part time staff work from 15 offices around the country, supported by more than 2000 volunteers.
Around 155 of the staff are blind or have low vision requiring the use of specialised software to support their use of computers for their daily work processes.
Highly specialised applications include teaching materials and exams produced in braille for hundreds of blind children. From guide dogs to talking books, home help, mobility services, counselling - the cradle to grave services require a highly sophisticated and unique IT infrastructure.
The Blind Foundation’s head of IT, Bruce Walton, says the business drivers behind the switch to CodeBlue were around the requirement for a more integrated, proactive and comprehensive outsourced support service able to span the foundation's entire 320 IT seat infrastructure including workstations, servers, networking and software applications.
“We had an incumbent service desk provider doing our help-desk and ticketing,” Walton says.
“But we wanted a more comprehensive service spanning server and network support in a proactive way.
“We looked at proposals from five different suppliers, including the incumbent. On paper, all of them could have met our needs.
“So in making our decision we drilled down into the details, such as the size of team, size of organisation, the people, and the technology in use.”
According to Walton, CodeBlue was running best practice technology in terms of help-desk and knowledge base.
“We wanted to move fast with just a month between signing the contract and going live,” Walton adds. “So we didn’t give them much time and they had a lot of work to do.
“We had little documentation and they had to build their knowledge base pretty much from scratch.
“CodeBlue did a remarkably good job evidenced by a completely seamless cutover. We had no fall out or any real issues arising from cutover process - which we were nervous about only giving them a month to get it done.
“It’s been a high workload and they’ve coped admirably.”
Walton says delivering level one support for all the Blind Foundation's software applications required CodeBlue to work with the foundation's accessibility advisors on braille interfaces, and to invest considerable time in understanding specialised applications such as the foundation’s Razor’s Edge fundraising software and Aurora library software used to manage the digital library of talking books.
In addition to the specialised applications, the foundation is a sophisticated user of Microsoft applications including SharePoint, AX and CRM.
With the immediate support issues sorted out, Walton says he will be engaging further with CodeBlue in developing a three year strategic plan - this will include a cost-benefit analysis around moving in house servers to the cloud.
CodeBlue will also contribute to a major new development still under wraps for launch later in the year. This will see the foundation deliver a desktop and tablet application that will give blind users instant mobile access to news and magazines as well talking book content.
“Our mission is to empower and support people who are blind or have low vision so they have the same opportunities and choices as everyone else,” Walton adds.
“We equip people with the skills needed to participate fully in society, which includes support in living independently and getting around, help with technology, ways to continue reading and communicating, and advice on staying in or looking for work.
“Technology is becoming more and more important in supporting existing services and enabling new services.”