A Secure, Reliable, Network Infrastructure with Juniper
Started over a century ago as an infirmary on a homestead in north central Lancaster County, Brethren Village Retirement Community is now a modern, 24x7 healthcare facility. The community has a strong commitment to providing care, services and amenities in three areas of living including Independent Residential Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing.
Sprawling across 153 beautiful acres in Manheim Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Brethren Village is at once calm and relaxing while bustling with activity. The majority of the 850 residents live independently in apartments and cottages, enjoying the social opportunities, healthcare facilities and other support services the community provides. Brethren Village delivers a full spectrum of care, continually meeting residents’ needs as personal circumstances and
healthcare requirements change.
Although the Brethren Village Director of IS, Kathy Myers, and IT professionals, Aaron Ruppert and Karen Gerth, don’t deliver support services directly to residents, they do exemplify those values every day in their disciplined and proactive approach to information technology (IT) management. They help to ensure that the community’s IT systems function smoothly and seamlessly.
Where It Hurt: Outdated Software
As Myers explains, “IT is vital to the community’s operations. Brethren Village’s networked infrastructure includes backoffice accounting, finance, human resources, claims management, personal computers at all of the nurses’ stations, interactive kiosks for charting within the healthcare facilities, as well as point-of-sale systems in a dining room and coffee shop.” Since the community operates around the clock, seven days a week, there’s no room for downtime.
Myers was hired in 1998 to help design and install a network around a standalone UNIX server. Today she and her team have full responsibility for maintaining all of the hardware and software – as well as the copiers, printers and fax machines – that comprise Brethren Village’s networked infrastructure.
She’s extremely proud of the uptime she and her team have been able to achieve – and maintain: “Our uptime is unbelievable,” she says. “We put a lot of time and effort into making sure we test, install and maintain everything properly. As a result, our systems run continually.”
To maintain that high level of availability, Myers, Ruppert and Gerth strive to stay ahead of the game. “Our philosophy is to replace equipment on at least a three-year basis and to make sure it’s going to hold up for another year as we budget,” Myers explains.
She says she’s also a cautious adopter – willing to embrace the latest technologies, but only after they’ve been tested and proven. “We don’t have time to be ‘guinea pigs’ here,” she notes.
Another key to Myers’ success has been relying on others for expert advice when needed: “Given the complexity and change of today’s IT systems, you simply can’t be an expert on everything,” she acknowledges. “So we actively seek out help from others when we’re exploring a new technology or when we encounter technical issues.”
How We Made Better: Support and Infrastructure
One of her primary “go-to” resources is the team at CompuData. CompuData has been supporting Brethren Village for 12 years – and the relationship continued to strengthen when Myers assumed her role nine years ago. Today CompuData delivers 24x7x365 support for all of Brethren Village’s network infrastructure – including SQL, UNIX, Exchange, file and print, and log-on servers. Myers contracts for additional consulting support hours, as well. “That’s where the team at CompuData comes in very handy,” she says. “I can call them with specific issues. They either have the information I need, or they do the research to get answers to my questions. And they’re always very responsive.”
Myers also appreciates the continuity of her relationship with CompuData’s expert systems staff, most of which have been there since before she joined Brethren Village. “Over nine years, you really build a good working relationship,” she says.
Most of all, she appreciates the uptime that CompuData helps support.
“With CompuData, I know our bases are covered,” Myers says. “They help us handle the day-to-day issues and the ongoing upgrades. With 24x7 systems support, they also guarantee that they’ll swap out a server if one of ours goes down.”
“We were looking at functionality… Sage 100 ERP with JobOps hit the key factors we were looking for.”
“We had a lot of little databases tracking a lot of little things, but now they’re all consolidated. That alone is a cost savings.”
How It Made a Change: Improved Performance
CompuData converted the data from the old MAPICS system, including accounting, customer, inventory over 70,000 bill of materials and routings. Schutte & Koerting’s staff completed their training at CompuData’s Authorized Training Center and concluded a very successful conference room pilot program before going live on the new system. Less than three months after the solution was selected, before the ball dropped in Times Square to ring in the new year, the implementation was complete, both on time and on budget.
Increased Effiency, Better Results
“Everyone has adapted to it well,” says Ponticelli. Just a little more than one month post-implementation, the company can already see changes in workflow and operations. “It’s lightened the workload for some of our departments,” she adds, pointing out that many of the company’s previously manual processes have been automated with the new software.
There have been other efficiencies as well. “We had a lot of little databases tracking a lot of little things, but now they’re all consolidated,” says Ponticelli. “There’s one central location for all information about jobs and materials.” This eliminates the need to go to paper files to retrieve that information. “That alone is a cost savings.”
What’s Next: Continued Growth
That confidence helps Myers continue delivering a solid IT infrastructure for Brethren Village’s operations. And it’s the kind of assurance she appreciates as she undertakes upcoming major initiatives – including electronic medical records (EMR), which she plans to implement over the next three years, and the adoption of a document management system to help reduce the burden of paper based records.
As Myers tackles those and other challenges, she will no doubt demonstrate the proactive, disciplined approach that has supported her success to date – and will continue turning to CompuData for comprehensive services and support.