CodeBlue’s IT Roadmap will put the Child Cancer Foundation on a clear path to a stable, secure, remotely accessible network that enables greater mobility, efficiency, productivity, and cost savings to boot.
Since arriving at the Child Cancer Foundation two-and-a-half years ago, Chief Executive Robyn Kiddle has been on an ongoing journey with CodeBlue to transform the Foundation’s IT and create a flexible networked environment that will enable CCF staff to work more securely, efficiently and effectively no matter where they are in the country.
Her first day is one she’ll never forget, Kiddle says.
“When I arrived, it was panic stations,” she laughs now. “We had a really slow network, old servers, and only Auckland was networked, nowhere else. Wellington was in trouble; it looked like we might lose our data at any moment. One of the first items of business on my desk was a quote for urgent work to be done for Wellington. And I thought, wow, that is expensive! But it seemed like it had to be done.”
“I’d come from a corporate environment where the whole company’s IT was securely networked. So I talked to CodeBlue and asked if things would be better if we were completely networked. The answer was ‘yes’, of course. And we started talking about an IT Roadmap to improve our technology back then.”
Child Cancer Foundation supports children with cancer and their families. CCF’s National Support Office is in Auckland. It provides support for Business Development Managers in Auckland, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Christchurch, and a key network of Family Support Coordinators across New Zealand, the majority of whom work from home and travel to see children and families in their homes.
Family Places in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin offer a place of relaxation for children and their families to come and visit Family Support Coordinators, or just get away from the hospital environment.
The Family Support Coordinators use a combination of desktop and mobile computers for work and all use CCF-provided mobile phones. At the outset the disconnected, disjointed environment, plagued with security holes and patchy backup processes including reliance on individuals backing up their own machines, played on both CodeBlue’s and Robyn Kiddle’s minds.
In early 2016 CodeBlue’s service contract with CCF came up for renewal. Having demonstrated a commitment to work with CCF to get their IT systems in better order, the contract was renewed. Work on a comprehensive IT Roadmap to chart a way forward began. CodeBlue spent several months working with CCF to establish immediate and future business and IT requirements.
“We sat down with CCF and really listened to what they needed and wanted. We designed the IT Roadmap to fit. There was a lot of consultation,” says CCF’s CodeBlue Account Manager Stephan Potgieter.
“Something I really appreciate about working with CodeBlue is that they can explain things in plain English,” Kiddle says. “We don’t want to hear ‘technalese.’ If I’m going to get people on board with spending money on technology for the organisation, I need to be able to explain what it is, why we need it and the benefits it will provide, simply and effectively, without technical jargon.”
CodeBlue presented three options to transform CCF’s IT, outlining the benefits and risks of each. The solution CCF has chosen to proceed with is not only the most cost-effective one, Stephan Potgieter is comfortable it’s also the right one. “It’s definitely the right solution for them at this time,” he says.
The solution, incorporating HP technology and Microsoft server hardware and applications, is designed to provide a secure, flexible, networked environment; remote access; agility and mobility; efficiency gains; will be cheaper to run; easy to use; and simple to manage.
The first step is to replace the old servers in Auckland and Wellington with one centralised server in Auckland, where all CCF information will be securely stored and accessed. In time, as current equipment becomes obsolete it will be replaced with thin clients to create a secure remote desktop environment, which will be easier to access, manage and monitor. It will also result in a more productive network, with fewer overheads.
The thin client protocol will help make CCF’s frontline Support Coordinators’ jobs much easier, Kiddle says.
“Our technology needs are quite basic, really. Talking to CodeBlue, we realised we don’t need portable devices for our frontline staff,” Kiddle continues. “Their mobile phones are sufficient for calling, texting, and accessing information if they need to.”
CodeBlue has also provided CCF with HP Elite x2 tablets. These fully-featured, enterprise-grade business tablets are light and far more transportable than heavier, more cumbersome laptops – a bonus for the largely female staff – and will enable true work-from-anywhere mobility.
“The x2s will be used by staff members that need to travel – our senior leadership team will be the main users – allowing them to be more mobile, efficient and productive. For example, if someone is travelling to Wellington, they will be able to login to the network, and work remotely, wherever they are,” Kiddle says.