Blind Foundation Case Study 2017-06-06T02:30:44+00:00

BLIND FOUNDATION

“CodeBlue had the trio of technologies and capability we wanted: Service Desk, Remote Monitoring, Knowledge Base. There was a good fit culturally. In terms of size, capability and culture we decided that CodeBlue was right for us.”

Bruce Walton, Head of IT, Blind Foundation

This achievement is particularly significant in the context of the Blind Foundation’s relatively complex IT infrastructure, required to support the delivery of essential services for the 11,700 Kiwis who are blind or have low vision.

The Blind Foundation has more than 300 full time and part time staff working from 15 offices around the country, supported by more than 2000 volunteers.

Around 15 percent of the Blind Foundation 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.

“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.”

Integrated, proactive, comprehensive outsourced support

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 Blind Foundation’s entire 320 IT seat infrastructure including workstations, servers, networking and software applications.

“We had an incumbent service desk provider doing our helpdesk 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.

“CodeBlue was running best practice technology in terms of helpdesk and knowledge base. They had the trio of technologies and capability we wanted: Service Desk, Remote Monitoring, Knowledge Base. We looked at the way they structured their teams. We liked their service desk structure, where a pod with a team leader would be responsible for our site. We looked at larger vendors, but we just wanted to know that there were four or five people focused on our business. Their remote monitoring and onsite maintenance capability was well up to anything else we have seen. There was a good fit culturally, in the sense that we are not a big corporate. So in terms of size, capability and culture we decided that CodeBlue was right for us.

“We wanted to move fast, with just a month between signing the contract and going live. 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.”

Delivering level one support for all of the Blind Foundation’s software applications required CodeBlue to work with the Blind 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, CRM and Software Dynamics.

Planning ahead

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 world-leading desktop and tablet application that will give blind and low vision 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. 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. We look forward to CodeBlue’s contribution to our IT journey,” Bruce Walton says.

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