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New cloud-based IT service – higher quality at low cost

Attain, one of the UK’s fastest growing health and wellbeing support services firms, engaged us to help procure a new cloud-based IT service.  We helped them to select and contract with a new supplier and ensure the new, high quality, low-cost service was smoothly implemented, all within four months.

Project background

After years of strong growth, since it was founded in 2011, Attain had reached such a scale that the existing, small IT support provider was no longer able to provide a good enough service. Attain’s senior management team needed to identify, select and contract with a new IT service provider, taking into account a range of complexities and needs, including the need for compliance with health-sector-specific information standards and to ensure robust cyber security protections.

Monro Consulting was engaged to give practical advice and guidance to the project sponsor and his team, from the requirement stage through to selection of a supplier and successful implementation.

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Key problems and challenges

The core existing IT service was provided by an IT support company mainly focused on micro-SMEs, such as shops and other high-street-style businesses. This was causing a range of problems including: complex communication and control challenges between Attain and the various suppliers, the need for the SLAs and OLAs to be refreshed. Also, the Attain Operations Manager was finding it very difficult to monitor the current supplier’s activities and progress. The Attain management team realised it needed some expert external help.

Our solution

Getting Started
The first step in the process was to pick up the existing requirements gathering and market research work and in parallel help the Attain sponsor to establish a new team to deliver the project. We guided this relatively inexperienced team in how to review, restructure and refine the requirements, our guidance ranging from how best to maintain the repository of requirements through to identifying key market trends to be factored into the procurement.

Building momentum
Having established the core team and put a solid requirements foundation in place, we helped Attain to expand and deepen the range of IT suppliers to be considered. .

We guided the team in how to carry out initial research on these suppliers, and then how to consider and, in some cases, restructure the requirement. For example, the eventual requirement statement was broken into discrete sections, allowing the market to respond to some or all the service categories. We also helped the team to develop a full draft project plan, including key target milestones for implementation.

From Long-List to Short-List
We worked with Attain to establish good contacts with the long-listed suppliers, to set up initial exploratory meetings to gauge the competence and interest of the suppliers, and to ask an initial set of key questions. We also helped to prepare the formal request for proposal (RFP).

BAFO, Selection and Implementation
Following a series of focused site visits with the top three suppliers, and after a thorough desk evaluation, scoring and weighting of the three BAFO proposals, the joint team held a final BAFO review and selection meeting. This BAFO process proved very successful and enabled the Sponsor to select the preferred supplier with the unanimous support of his team.

Following ratification and sign-off by Attain’s board, the selection was announced, the negotiations completed and the contract signed. The selected supplier quickly engaged with Attain, picked up ownership of the implementation plan, and then worked with the core Attain implementation team to transition to the new service. The full implementation was completed on time and to the satisfaction of the Attain team.

Results

As a result of this work, the Attain team have been able to specify, procure and implement a new, highly professional IT provider to run all their IT services, all within four months from start to finish. Attain has achieved a good, competitive price – well within the average IT service cost typically quoted by IT market research companies.

Attain’s new IT service is fully ITIL and ISO 27001 compliant, and reinforces alignment with the required data and security standards for the UK health market. The core of the new service is cloud-based, with Attain now maintaining minimal on-site IT infrastructure.

“Monro Consulting helped us to deliver an excellent and very competitively priced new IT service on time”. 

Struan Coad

Director and IT Sponsor, Attain

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