Managed IT Services: LeadingAge

Publication date: Apr 02, 2018

Last Published: Dec 17, 2020

Written by: Payam Pourkhomami, President & CEO, OSIbeyond

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Read Time : 8 minutes

LeadingAge Increases Efficiency by Outsourcing IT Support & Infrastructure

By partnering with OSIbeyond as its Managed IT Services Provider, LeadingAge increased its IT operational efficiency. Management at LeadingAge realized that there are challenges inherent in retaining and developing internal IT staff. In addition, it believed that the internal staffing model lacked flexibility and introduced operational redundancies. As such, LeadingAge decided to adopt a managed IT solution so that it could outsource all IT support, and infrastructure hosting and management. This included day to day helpdesk support and system administration, private cloud hosting, and strategic technology consulting.

Since moving to managed IT services with OSIbeyond, LeadingAge has realized several key benefits:

  1. Improved support and training
  2. Enhanced, standardized business processes
  3. Increased focus on strategic initiatives

“We’re on a journey with you all so we don’t feel like we’re doing this by ourselves. For me personally, I spend a lot less time worrying.”  

– Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

Burden of Managing Infrastructure & Retaining IT Staff Challenged LeadingAge

Prior to outsourcing IT functions to OSIbeyond, LeadingAge hosted all infrastructure and systems on premise, managed by internal IT staff. This model required their IT staff to spend most of their time ensuring that systems, applications, and data were available and accessible to users.

“I was spending more time making sure the “boxes” were up and running and that they were patched and everything was sufficient for the applications to run on them. We don’t focus on that anymore. The fact that a lot of our services are now out in the cloud it just allows us to focus on the other things we want to spend time focusing on around business processes and customization of our applications. In general, we love it! …the fact that you guys are handling those things makes it easier for us to be able to focus on the expertise that we have on staff and it’s much of a less headache for all of us.”

Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

In addition to the burden of maintaining on premise infrastructure, LeadingAge faced another challenge around the retention and development of its IT staff. Over the last decade or so, the organization’s structure and the size of its technical support team had been consistent at approximately one FTE for Tier 1 helpdesk support and one FTE as a Tier 2 systems administrator. However, there was not a lot of opportunity for growth in those positions.

“Anyone looking to come to our organization to help out in that position doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to go beyond that position. I think it’s great to be working with an organization where there is growth for that position. It allows that position to be more successful and that was something that we couldn’t offer before.”

Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

Managed IT services enhance Support, Training, and Business Processes

Outsourcing helpdesk and system administration functions to OSIbeyond’s Managed IT Services has prevented service gaps in client care, and LeadingAge no longer worries about employee recruitment, development, or retention. In the past, the organization suffered from employee turnover at short intervals, and staffing instability placed demands on management and impacted end user support, due to lack of support and coverage while the organization attempted to back fill the vacant position. Outsourced managed IT solutions and helpdesk support provide LeadingAge with increased flexibility and support coverage.

“Just having one person in that position, if they’re out we’re really not able to provide the kind of coverage that we need to have. Outsourcing that position gives us flexibility, removing the concern of getting coverage and we rely on OSI to help fill in case it’s needed.”

 Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

By choosing to outsource IT support functions, LeadingAge has elevated the role of its internal IT staff to strategic functions that focus on user training, application support, customizations, and business processes. This helps staff better leverage the applications used by the organization as well as furthering the development of processes and policies. There is a clear demarcation between the IT solutions, the managed it services, and the helpdesk support provided by OSIbeyond, and business application support provided by the LeadingAge internal IT staff.

“I feel the responses to our help desk requests are happening in a much timelier fashion as the OSI team is more focused on the technology support. Our team can come in on that second level and really help focus on how LeadingAge is using the applications and maybe customizing or doing things that are business specific.”

Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

LeadingAge IT Staff Shifts Focus on to Strategic Initiatives

Since outsourcing its core IT functions to OSIbeyond, the IT leadership at LeadingAge has been able to shift their focus onto strategic initiatives, such as developing data security policies, business processes, and better leveraging data and technologies.

“In my specific role in overseeing the technology teams and the new data services team we have, I definitely spend more time thinking about how we leverage the technologies and then how we leverage our data. I don’t spend time thinking about the day to day problems that we have to worry about. Right now we’re working with OSI to help us take a look at our network security vulnerabilities. We’re very focused on that for the long-term. OSI is on the frontline telling us what we need to be doing in the long-term and that’s a big help for me.”

Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

In addition, by outsourcing core IT functions to OSIbeyond, LeadingAge has been able to provide more attractive career opportunities for its internal IT staff. The internal team operates differently by focusing beyond the technology or support side of the operation.

“In our new structure the Director of IT Services can spend more time being strategic and have to do less with thinking about helpdesk issues. We’re now looking to OSI to help us be more strategic…so we’re not worried about the day to day things that we would worry about.”

– Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

The OSIbeyond Cloud Solution

The LeadingAge on premise systems were migrated to OSIbeyond’s eXos private cloud solution. This significantly reduced onsite infrastructure and eliminated the dependency on LeadingAge’s physical offices.  The hosted systems are supported through OSIbeyond’s managed cloud services. In addition, OSIbeyond provides onsite staff augmentation services including Tier 1 Helpdesk Support and Tier 2 System Administration, as well as remote Tier 3 Network Engineers for escalation when needed. Finally, OSIbeyond provides LeadingAge with IT technology strategy consulting and ongoing strategic IT advice to its CTO.

“I don’t have to worry about some areas because I know we have that level of expertise that we just didn’t have before… now it feels like we have a larger staff that’s thinking about it. We know we have a team behind us to think strategically as well as proving that day to day support, so it allows me to focus on other areas of the business.”

– Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

Benefits of Outsourced Managed IT Services Provided by OSIbeyond

LeadingAge now enjoys several benefits from outsourcing managed IT services to OSIbeyond. These benefits include increased IT operational efficiency, improved user support and training, enhanced business processes, and a new focus on strategic technology planning.

“It’s been very helpful because OSI is addressing issues and is really involved in the technology pieces and having someone who is invested in the relationship and really wants to see us be successful, I think it’s going to allow us to rely on OSI for the long-term vs. focusing on short fixes to a problem that may crop up later.”

– Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

 When asked if LeadingAge would recommend outsourcing technology to other organizations in similar situations, Diane Pappafotis said:

“I think it’s a great model and probably fits for a lot of organizations. I would recommend it and I think there is a trend to outsource technology support, especially for organizations our size, in order to better serve our staff and members by focusing on things that are unique to the business.”

– Diane Pappafotis, Vice President, Information & Operations Solutions

About LeadingAge

The mission of LeadingAge is to be the trusted voice for aging. Their 6,000+ members and partners include not-for-profit organizations representing the entire field of aging services, 38 state partners, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research partners.

LeadingAge is also a part of the Global Ageing Network (formerly IAHSA), which spans 30 countries worldwide. LeadingAge is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization focused on education, advocacy, and applied research.

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