IT Operations on a New Basis / Full Service Outsourcing for NRD
Stuttgart, 07 March 2006 – With the help of All for One AG of Oberessendorf and AC-Service, the Nieder-Ramstädter Diakonie (NRD) in Mähltal will be putting its extensive IT system on an entirely new footing. Here the design focus is on the full outsourcing operation of a widespread application landscape in AC-Service's Outsourcing Service Center for a total of some 750 users, whom this social welfare company employs at its 20 community support facilities and locations in the states of Hessen and Rhineland-Palatinate. The cornerstones of this IT-operations overhaul, concentrating primarily on increasing the value that IT contributes to corporate growth and development, stem from a strategy assessment undertaken by the Diakonie Group, which works mostly in serving and assisting the disabled, together with the consulting company Horväth & Partners of Stuttgart.
The first step in implementing the IT concept is to set up a new systems landscape using a total of 18 Intel servers from Hewlett-Packard within AC-Service's Outsourcing Service Center. The heart of the application side at NRD will be All for Social, an integrated set of complete solutions for social service organisations' business processes. Considered the market leader, it will serve NRD as a client information system, an assistant for helping the disabled, a personnel office and in handling the entire services accounting and invoicing effort, to name just a few. Besides All for Social another 7 standard and 14 specialised applications will be transferred to the server farm in AC-Service's Outsourcing Service Center. The standard solutions are predominantly PC applications for office use, which in the future will be operated using Citrix Metaframe technology, All for One AG's SAP industry solution for social service organisations with the modules for financial management (FI), controlling (CO), asset administration (AA), sales & distribution (SD) and treasury (TR) for some 50 users in the accounting department, as well as an exchange system for e-mail traffic. The 14 specialised applications, which will also be run from the Outsourcing Service Center, include solutions for facility management (building materials and key control) and clinic administration (identification and invoicing of medications; overviews of coverage afforded by health-insurance providers), as well as accounting software for donation management, asset management, timekeeping and much more. A Backup Service Center will also be incorporated into these IT operations to ensure that this broad application landscape is also available in emergencies. This second AC-Service data center, situated in an entirely different geographic location, is where redundant IT infrastructures are constantly running that can immediately take over the tasks of the primary Outsourcing Service Center in an emergency. The wide area network (WAN) for communications between the individual NRD locations and AC-Service will use virtual private network (VPN) connections. Here is where MPLS (multi-protocol layer switching) technology comes into play, which also uses economical Internet-protocol-based connections to deliver guaranteed bandwidths and high security standards. Just like the IT operations, the WAN is also configured redundantly to assure continued availability in emergency situations.
»The biggest things this new IT operations concept does for us is increase the value that our IT can contribute to the company's growth and development and it lets us use more of our own personnel resources in creating process-oriented procedures and workflows,« reported NRD board member Walter Diehl, who continued by observing that »Since many social service organisations are now facing the task of having to reassess their strategy, and will inevitably need to take a hard look at information technology, the industry will certainly be keeping its eye on this key project.« Uwe Schneider, director and head of the Social Division at All for One AG added, »With the performance center being established jointly by All For One AG and AC-Service, we want to position ourselves as a complete process service provider for social service institutions and be their one-for-all source for a well-tailored, all-inclusive range of software, operational and process services.« »This NRD project will send an important signal to other social service organisations,« summed up Herbert Werle, chairman of the AC-Service AG board of directors.