Matt Corbishley – Director of People & Performance at Ashgate Hospicecare
Ashgate Hospicecare is an independent charity that provides care to patients with a life-limiting illness and their families across North Derbyshire. Their specialist team support thousands of patients every year in their own homes. They have a Day Hospice for up to 16 patients per day, four days a week, a 21 bed Inpatient Unit providing 24/7 care and a range of therapy and support services on site. All of their services are provided free of charge to patients and their families.
“Ashgate Hospicecare is a multi-faceted organisation and rely on IT to ensure our patients and families can access our services and to provide appropriate care and support based on up to date information. Like any other retail business, our shops rely on electronic POS equipment too. There isn’t really any aspect of the organisation which does not depend on reliable IT support. As a charity, it is incredibly important to us that we are as efficient as possible, and we recognise that IT is a vital enabler to achieve that.
AAG provide us with a support desk, server maintenance and secure back-up systems, onsite technical support and are now working with us on developments such as making best use of Office 365.
We have a very small IT team onsite who are supported by AAG both in the operational delivery and maintenance, and longer-term planning and development aspects. We opted to take advantage of using AAG technicians on site rather than our own directly employed staff. This has proven to be a cost-efficient way of providing first and second line support and ensures we always have technical support available regardless of holidays or absences. It has also enabled us to provide out of hours onsite support when needed for our Inpatient Unit team.
System downtime across any part of the organisation could have a significant impact for our patients and families, as well as for supporters, shoppers and of course our staff and volunteers. Our Inpatient Unit is a 24/7 operation and we rely on IT for our electronic prescribing and clinical systems. There are of course back up plans and contingencies in place should those go down, but downtime always means increased use of time and money to keep things going.
The increased focus on cyber-crime and GDPR compliance mean that cyber security and data assurance are key areas for us. Our business is caring for people, so responsiveness is very important to us. If there is an IT issue, we need to know it will be addressed promptly to ensure we can continue to deliver the outstanding care that we are known for. It is increasingly important that we have something more than a straightforward, transactional relationship too, so we look for strategic partners who understand our vision, who can look at the big picture and work alongside us, providing expert advice to help us achieve our goals. We also love the fact that AAG get so involved in supporting the charity through our staff awards events and fundraising events, such as golf days.
AAG’s IT Support has, without question, increased efficiency throughout our entire organisation. The biggest difference has been in faster resolution of first and second-line issues through the onsite support, backed up by the service desk.
AAG have helped us to mitigate or eliminate a number of risk areas around IT, most notably in supporting us with onsite support and out of hours support for our Inpatient Unit. Because their technicians have worked with us onsite, they have been able to understand how we work and address issues as they arise or even spot them before they become a problem.
The team at AAG have been incredibly responsive and have really taken the time to understand our business and have even created new or bespoke services for us to fit our needs. We also have a great Account Manager who is proactive and available when we need to discuss anything.”
CYOD: Slimming World orders 5,000 custom-built tablets & 4,000 laptops
Following an intensive consultation period, AAG IT Services researched, designed and commissioned 9,000 bespoke mobile devices featuring the Slimming World branding and a bespoke application package. They are used by Slimming World’s Consultants at their 12,000 weekly group sessions, which offer support to 700,000 members in the UK and Ireland. A Microsoft Office OS underpins it all delivering a powerful, personalised experience every time.
After comparing their needs to what was available on the market, nothing quite seemed to fit Slimming World’s requirements and the costs quickly escalated. An off-the-shelf product could not provide them with a branded device containing their desired connectivity and in-house applications. CYOD offered everything Slimming World needed to have a fleet of tablets and laptops that worked to make the business more effective in supporting their customers.
The process of developing the devices involved identifying and testing numerous different hardware options, visits to the manufacturing plant and extensive due diligence. The chosen design features 4GB RAM, a 64GB hard drive, 4G capability and an Intel reference design. AAG’s consultative approach, which involves the client in all stages of the design and build, has given Slimming World complete confidence in the deployment of their 9,000-strong fleet to their UK franchisee base, with AAG providing ongoing support for repairs, spare parts and full replacements. Since the initial rollout, Slimming World has placed two additional orders with CYOD for 3,000 devices and AAG continues to manage weekly returns across the entire Slimming World estate.