Improving lives with technology – HSE lighthouse project

The ‘Lighthouse Projects’ are in the clinical disciplines of the chronic diseases Epilepsy, Haemophilia and Bipolar Disorder. The epilepsy Lighthouse project is a partnership between a number of organisations – RSCI, HSE, eHealth Ireland, Epilepsy Ireland, Beaumont Hospital and Ergo. There are many positive outcomes and benefits for patients as well as healthcare professionals associated with using information technology within health.

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The Challenge

Providing Individualised Services and Care in Epilepsy (PISCES) is a Lighthouse Project with a number of partners including HSE, eHealth Ireland, Epilepsy Ireland, RCSI and Beaumont. In the past there was no way for patients, academics or clinicians around Ireland to record their medical details electronically which created numerous problems.

The Solution

The PISCES Project is about using technologies to promote a model of precision, proactive and personalised healthcare for the more than 40,000 people with epilepsy across Ireland. The solution developed is an Electronic Patient Record (EPR) and Patient Portal App focused exclusively on the needs of epilepsy patients. The patient portal is a mobile-first, cloud-based solution. No matter where care is delivered, information can be collected, added to the care record and accessed by the care team regardless of geographic location or care setting. The project also involves the development of a BI solution which enables clinicians to securely use aggregated patient data to analyse and gather insights for the wider patient community to inform future care and population health.

“I think it definitely is a step of independence for a lot of people that don’t have that at all. They feel like they are kind of controlling in some way an illness that you can’t control at all.”

Clinicians now have a streamlined view of patient information through the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) – a single source of truth where all patient medical information can be recorded and accessed from anywhere nationwide. As part of the EPR, genetic data can be easily interpreted, and documenting decisions and agreed actions has been simplified.


Technology support allows erie non-profit to serve the community

Paul Lukach, Executive Director of the Crime Victim Center of Erie County, is the first to admit it: he and his employees don’t pride themselves on being technology savvy. That’s why the company needed a trusted IT provider to help it reinvent its operations and ensure that computers and systems work seamlessly, allowing thus 44-year-old non-profit to concentrate on serving people and protecting the community in times of crisis.

With so much at stake, they turned to NanoSoft Solutions to handle their IT needs. NanoSoft not only created detailed plan to upgrade MCMS systems, but when an old modem died over a weekend, putting in jeopardy the MCMS e-mail capabilities, it was NanoSoft who came to the rescue. As Christopher Bell from MCMS says:

“We don’t pride ourselves on being technologically savvy, our job is to serve people in times of crisis.”

It’s that 24 hour/7 day a week support and commitment to service that keeps the MCMS from worrying anymore about their IT.


Tips to make your workforce a security front line

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Cyber security is something that is constantly on our mind here at Unit. This is because, according to Bloomberg, cyber security related issues costs companies around $400 Billion a year on average.

One of the easiest ways to curb these losses in your business is to train your employees to create a more secure email environment. Staff plays a crucial part in the security of your company, and employees who are unaware of the onslaught of cyber threats are a liability to the safety of your company’s data.

It is therefore of utmost importance that they are always up-to-date on the best procedures to keep the company safe.

In an effort to save you and your company from the horrors of a cyber-attack, here is a list of tips that help safeguard your business.

  • Never open links or attachments from unknown persons.
  • Don’t respond to emails that request a password change and require you to divulge personal information — no matter how official the source appears.
  • Ensure antivirus and anti-spy software is updated on your computer.
  • Encrypt any emails containing sensitive data before sending.
  • Don’t use your company email address to send and receive personal emails.
  • Don’t automatically forward company emails to a third-party email system.
  • Create strict standards for company-related Mobile Device usage

Mobile Devices have become an important tool of the workforce, and with them comes another wave of cyber threats. Making sure your employees have password-protected devices, encrypt emails, and download approved security applications to help keep the mobile data safe is very important.

Unit offers Mobile Device Management that will help with many of these safety features, including the ability to remotely wipe mobile devices. Contact us for all your security or Office 365 needs.

Scan & index manager delivers productivity at beaumont hospital

Beaumont Hospital is a large academic teaching hospital 5km north of Dublin City centre. They provide emergency and acute care services across 54 medical specialties to a local community of some 290,000 people, while employing over 3,000 staff.

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The Challenge

An inefficient filing system at Beaumont hindered healthcare workers who needed to be able to access patient records quickly and easily. Staff reverted to keeping paper records that were stored off-site. If a doctor or nurse needed to see them for a returning patient or if they were needed for a legal claim, then the file had to be physically retrieved from the archive and collected by courier; a time consuming process.

The Solution

With Ergo’s Scan & Index Manager documents were digitised and indexed in Microsoft SharePoint for easy search and retrieval. Implementation was risk-free and well planned because Ergo built the system at its headquarters first, replicating the Beaumont environment off-site before deploying it into the hospital.

“Ultimately, we wanted to get rid of the paper trail and totally trust Ergo to help us do it. Everything we have scoped and asked them to do they have delivered.”

The implementation of Ergo’s Scan and Index Manager system has delivered tangible productivity gains and cost savings for Beaumont Hospital. Doctors, nurses and administrators have robust systems that enable them to retrieve files in around 10 seconds compared to 30 minutes with the old system.


Partnering with IT provider helps erie manufacturing company thrive in 21st century

Berman Bedding, Inc. has been in business since 1912. But when this mattress manufacturer started producing medical pads in the 1950s, it realized the need for efficient technology solutions to keep its factories humming. Operations have changed drastically in the last 60 years, and when Berman President Robert Unger realized he couldn’t be the company’s IT guy anymore, he called CMIT Solutions

With so much at stake, they turned to NanoSoft Solutions to handle their IT needs. NanoSoft not only created detailed plan to upgrade MCMS systems, but when an old modem died over a weekend, putting in jeopardy the MCMS e-mail capabilities, it was NanoSoft who came to the rescue. As Christopher Bell from MCMS says:

“I called CMIT when I was no longer good enough to be the IT guy for the company”

It’s that 24 hour/7 day a week support and commitment to service that keeps the MCMS from worrying anymore about their IT.


5 creative ways to address gaps in IT resources and talent

In a recent Indeed survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers and recruiters, more than half (53 percent) of respondents have hired tech talent despite candidates not meeting the job description requirements. That may be a good thing for businesses in need of IT resources to fill gaps in their talent pool. While that alludes to the fact that businesses are working hard to meet their needs for IT talent in what must be creative ways, here are five of those ways that businesses can employ to fill the gaps in IT resources and talent.

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#1: Training People with Transferable Skills/Hiring Recent Grads

Businesses can meet their IT needs by training people within the organization who have transferable skills: for instance, an IT-savvy employee who can learn a new computer language to meet the job requirement. Bringing interns into the organization is a perfect chance to feel out a cultural fit—their ability to learn and adapt and measure how they’d work with the existing team.

Another way that businesses can fill tech roles by turning to internal training to fill talent gaps is by hiring college graduates with two- or four-year degrees in computer science or even technical trade school graduates. This requires growing them into the level of mid-level techs who bring value, which can take a year or more.

#2: Support and Mentor Programs

Companies having a hard time finding tech talent should create a mentor program and work with more junior IT team members to put them on a skills track. The first six months of the mentor program is an investment, with team members learning new skills quickly. At the six-month or one-year point, they begin creating value for the company but still need the advice of senior leadership to grow and to avoid pitfalls.

#3: Internal Training, Certification

If you have competent IT generalists but need them to have specific training, it can pay to invest in the certification training that they need as long as they have the aptitude and ambition and are a good fit for the company long-term. The potential downside is that investing in IT personnel training doesn’t always continue to pay off, as they may leave at a certain point and take the training that you provided with them to another, higher-paying job.

#4: Sharing IT Talent with Other Businesses

Another approach that may be possible is that other, non-competitive businesses that you work with, such as vendors or businesses operating in the same building, may have part-time tech staff that you can work with and whose consulting-time costs can be shared with their employer. This may be feasible if your business is relatively small and its IT needs are basic.

It does present some drawbacks, as they may not be available when there is a problem, even though they may be on call. Other challenges are, they may be IT generalists rather than specialists, so they may not have the skills to handle more complex IT needs.

#5: Strategic IT Staffing Through Augmentation.

All of these solutions can be quite costly, and depending on your IT needs, it may be a long time before you see the return on investment at some type of break-even point. In today’s digital era, IT needs are a combination of current network and IT system maintenance, monitoring, and management. Additionally, it is about IT strategy development and implementation for technology solutions that will meet future business needs. This is true regardless of the size of your business, so with part-time IT staff or even in-house IT personnel, their skill sets and numbers may not be sufficient to effectively bridge the IT resources gap.

Gaps in IT can lead to major problems in terms of network downtime, slow business technology processes, and cyber attacks due to poor security patches and software update scheduling. With today’s deadline-driven IT demands and time-compressed project cycles, the ability to augment a core IT staff with on-demand advanced-skills professionals can dramatically increase a company’s competitive advantage.

By having an external managed IT services partner (MSP) to deal with day-to-day IT support, as well as long-term evolution, the organization can tap into highly skilled IT consultative support. The best of these MSPs provide a broad and interconnected suite of services that are bolstered by an understanding of how to develop and fulfill a defined IT strategy that is aligned with business goals and culture.

The support of an MSP can effectively bridge the gaps in IT personnel, as well as tool needs for monitoring, maintenance, security, and vendor relationships for the inevitable investments in new IT solutions. The right MSP can provide all of the specialized personnel you need, when you need them, under a set price contract that can be adjusted for expanding or temporary needs. You also get a consultant that can help you develop a sound IT, cybersecurity, and virtualization strategy to prepare your business for future needs in ways that foster agility, growth, and flexibility.

The top 13 benefits of proactive managed services vs reactive break-fix

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) have to juggle many priorities and daily demands. Acquiring and retaining customers. Avoiding inefficiency. Delivering excellent customer service. Managing costs. Hiring employees. Meeting government regulations. Keeping current with industry trends.

Technology can help SMBs streamline their processes, improve employee productivity, and maintain a competitive edge. But technology comes with its share of challenges, especially as mobile devices continue to take over and computing needs rapidly change.

That’s where managed services come in. Defined as specialized IT support delivered according to a clearly described service-level agreement over a fixed period of time for a low and predictable cost, managed services are the safest bet in today’s tech environment. Especially when compared with reactive or break-fix IT services.

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Stability and Expertise

Predictable IT costs. Managed services convert variable IT costs tied to the break-fix or reactive mode of support into the stable costs of proactive support. This allows business owners to budget effectively and pay what they can afford on a set schedule rather than getting hit with unexpected bills when tech problems arise.

Legitimate training. On top of hiring and training an IT staff, the cost of ongoing education and certification can break a small business owner’s bank. And if you’re not well versed in the IT world, how can you ensure an IT employee is actually qualified? Don’t let undertrained tech “experts” fool you into thinking they can solve all of your problems.

Real-world experience. And while certifications are important, so is experience. Leading managed service providers encounter very few problems they haven’t seen before, while an in-house IT employee often remains narrowly focused on a small set of problems. You’d rather an experienced doctor solve your physical ailments, right? The same goes for an IT support team.

Reduced Risk, Leveled Playing Field

A safe bet. Since market trends, government regulations, financial conditions, and technologies all change quickly, every business investment carries a certain amount of risk. Working with a trusted MSP that can assume and manage much of this risk for you is a major advantage that comes with specific industry knowledge and years of experience.

A real competitive edge. Most small to medium-sized businesses can’t afford to match the strong in-house support services that larger companies enjoy. Working with an MSP, however, gives small companies enterprise-level solutions by providing the kind of access and expertise that large companies enjoy. Managed cost structures and economies of scale like that can give your company a major advantage.

Compliance that counts. Is your firewall capable of fending off attacks? Do you audit your workstations and servers regularly? Has your company implemented PCI security standards and worked to maintain those standards? Small to medium-sized businesses have more ways than ever to handle commerce via credit and debit cards, e- commerce, wire transfers, and more. But with this increased transaction sphere comes a stronger need for due diligence. Employing a managed services provider allows your business to minimize the risks associated with maintaining client data and other sensitive information, the misuse of which can cause serious harm to your business.

Break-Fix: High Cost, Low Value

“Hey Margaret!” Many small firms deal with IT this way: relying on a non-IT employee to handle day-to-day IT problems. Margaret never asked for this role — it just evolved in her direction. But the impact of her being asked to fix co-workers’ urgent issues is not often calculated; nor is the likelihood that her lack of formal IT knowledge can lead to more expensive repair bills in the future.

“I got a guy.” Small companies that have recognized the flaw in the “Hey Margaret!” support strategy attempt to solve the problem by engaging an experienced technical support specialist on a part-time, fixed hourly rate basis. Yet the “I got a guy” guy may maintain upwards of a dozen part-time clients in order to make a decent living, and he may not always be available when a business owner absolutely needs him. In this scenario, the company does get a more technically competent solution. But it’s also at the mercy of an independent operator with competing demands for his time and attention.

“Call in the Geek Squad!” Since the business owner usually only sees the “I got a guy” guy when there is a problem, mayhem ensues when frantic calls go unanswered. Then, the business owner has no choice but to open the yellow pages and look for help, often settling for the first company that can respond to the immediate need. While these techies may indeed provide relief for failed hard drives and other desktop issues, they often do not have the skills to support complex networks or understand a business’ specific needs.

“Hire an IT person — pronto!” When the lack of immediate availability becomes an issue (or when the “I got a guy ” and the “Geek Squad” fail resolve to an issue), the business owner finally decides to hire an in-house resource that can respond to user complaints. The new hire is immediately handed a long list of issues to resolve. Unfortunately for both the internal IT resource and the company, the list never gets shorter and the internal IT support is forever in “react” mode, responding to the most severe problem and seldom getting ahead.

Managed Services: Low Cost, High Value

Proactive approach = resolution before crisis. Monitoring and maintenance software can identify problems before they affect employee productivity. And everyone can rest easier knowing that resolution occurs before situations turn into “white-hot” emergencies.

Uniform application of the optimal resource. The lowest-cost, most highly credentialed resources are applied to recognized issues first, while bigger problems are escalated to higher-skilled resources tin a fluid and seamless manner so that resolution can be quickly achieved.

Fast response regardless of priority. With multiple levels of on-site and remote IT support available, problems can be addressed simultaneously rather than in sequential order. The proactive approach also ensures the ultimate in responsiveness: resolving issues while they’re still disguised and before they’re detected by the end user. The immediate impact is improved productivity; the longer-term impact is a more tech-literate staff that’s better able to leverage the company’s technology investment.

The Final Word

None of the issues faced by small to medium-sized businesses — relentless competition, technological complexity, the never-ending need to do more with less — are going to disappear anytime soon. So the value of a high-quality, low-cost solution to these issues will only grow. That’s why CMIT Solutions has spent years tailoring a variety of managed services that can help boost efficiency and productivity for your business.

Proactive IT support takes the complexity out of technology by providing comprehensive support at one flat-rate price — no surprises.

The break/fix approach to IT support has not only failed to meet the needs of SMBs, it has damaged the relationship between technicians and the small businesses they serve. Small businesses feel vulnerable because they don’t understand their technicians’ jargon-heavy language, heavy workload, and unpredictable costs. Meanwhile, technicians feel overworked and under appreciated, locked in a loop of repetitive, high-stress tasks as they run from one crisis to the next, unable to work on more satisfying projects that could offer lasting value to the business.

Only a radical change in IT support philosophy and delivery can make the break/fix model obsolete and deliver greater efficiency and productivity to SMBs at a lower, more predictable cost. Technology is integral to the success of a small to medium-sized business, and CMIT Solutions understands that.


Dynamics 365: a game changer for dairygold operations

Located in the rich fertile Golden Valleys of Munster, Dairygold has a long and proud history of producing quality-assured, sustainable gold standard cheese and dairy ingredients. With three imperative divisions that drive and support our farmers and business, Dairygold are able to offer clients and consumers full traceability, unrivalled quality and product excellence.

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The Challenge

The central focus of a new CRM system was to allow Dairygold to improve customer and supplier relationships. The Co-Operative was previously dependent of on field staff returning to the office to file a paper-based records of customer interactions.

The Solution

Designed and delivered by Ergo, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) components in Microsoft Dynamics 365 were identified as the best way to meet Dairygold’s requirements and to garner a better understanding of farmers and their needs. The new CRM system provides Dairygold with relevant information in a timely manner helping to overcome some of the challenges the teams have encountered when working remotely in rural Ireland.

“CRM allows us to improve the service and support we provide to our member owned and controlled supplier base. It has helped to increase customer satisfaction levels and to strengthen our relationships with farmers”

Ergo’s CRM solution has allowed Dairygold to record important items of information, enabling a more enhanced service. All the information is uploaded directly by their staff from any location, solving the challenge of working with customers and suppliers in remote areas.


Monroe county medical society makes one call for IT

The Monroe County Medical Society provides support to their physician members and in turn the hundreds of patients those physicians serve.

With so much at stake, they turned to NanoSoft Solutions to handle their IT needs. NanoSoft not only created detailed plan to upgrade MCMS systems, but when an old modem died over a weekend, putting in jeopardy the MCMS e-mail capabilities, it was NanoSoft who came to the rescue. As Christopher Bell from MCMS says:

“When we have a problem, I make one phone call and pretty soon we don’t have a problem anymore”

It’s that 24 hour/7 day a week support and commitment to service that keeps the MCMS from worrying anymore about their IT.