A leading healthcare technology company needed strategy and technical support in building an effective Operations and Maintenance Team for one of the largest Federal institutions in the country. Given the nature of the contract, clearance, and onboarding, there was the difficult problem of initially having enough security cleared resources ready and available to support the hundreds of thousands of users across the country. Another issue was making sure resources who were new to the federal institution were able to transition quickly and effectively picking up processes and government technologies along the way. The strategy and timeline for building and managing the team was ultra-aggressive and could be divided across several phases.
- Identifying Experienced Key Resources to Retain in the Program
- Knowledge Transfer and Retention of Information
- Operational Readiness and Handover
- Building an Effective Operational and Maintenance Team
- Lessons Learned and Refining Our Processes
- Building Relationships and Trust within Government Leadership
Identifying Experienced Key Resources to Retain in the Program
The first phase was to determine positions that were crucial to delivering exceptional value and delivery to the client. By the nature of these strategic positions, the program’s viability could hinge on the selection of the proper people to man these positions. Along with the technical aptitude and critical thinking skills, these resources must be able to wear multiple hats and think quickly on their feet. They must also be able to weather the constant pressure of serving a demanding institution without withering or being overwhelmed.
Simply put, these types of resources are tough to find. Part of the skill lies in identifying these exceptional resources and still providing the institution results at a great value. The healthcare technology company must also be able to make money as well, so it takes a delicate balancing act to satisfy both ends of the equation. This is where our company was able to establish a competitive advantage through our relationships with exceptional talent and the trust that we have built with them over the years. Also, with our knowledge and experience of the program, we can identify the key strategic positions to fill to be cost-effective.
Knowledge Transfer and Retention of Information
At the start of the contract, there is a period reserved for the transfer of information from the incumbent company to a new company. Our team was tasked with being operationally ready to support 12 plus national applications with over 100,000 users in a little over a month time period. Combine this with the fact that much of the team had not yet received security clearance to work and you had a high-pressure situation in which our group had to utilize its experience and work ethic to get around a temporary resource shortage. Knowledge transfer information was retained, and a curriculum was devised with quality controls to bring on new resources to foster a consistent level of knowledge and to be effective immediately upon receiving clearance. This curriculum was ever changing and could be utilized throughout the life of the contract as new resources were on-boarded.
Operational Readiness and Handover
The Operational Readiness Review (ORR) schedule of each application was adjusted and modified according to the readiness evaluation of our team. Our team was able to successfully communicate proposed schedule changes to the incumbent team and federal leadership with the full confidence of both groups. Even with the schedule adjustments, our team was still able to meet the original final ORR date without a hitch. It was a monumental achievement and a first for this federal CRM program regarding the number of applications handed over in such a short amount of time.
Building an Effective Operational and Maintenance Team
Before the final ORR date, our team had already put together a tiered support process for our O&M team. This process was created to easily integrate and fit into the current federal institution’s newly minted tiered support process. Utilizing this new process and new ticketing system the team set about working within this system, so our internal operations were efficient, and information and tasks were not duplicated across boundaries. This created seamless communication and responses to issues raised via the institution’s ticketing system. External reporting was developed and delivered to management to demonstrate our team meeting or exceeding expected SLA agreements.
In addition to supporting the ticketing system and applications, our team was tasked with supporting integrations across the enterprise. This meant coordinating and bringing together as many as 70 different services across the institution each with different POCs that managed these endpoints. Coordinating deployments and being aware of whether application related services were going to be up or down were part of the responsibilities of our team. Our team was the first line of contact for assistance across the CRM enterprise. This meant creating relationships with our integration partners or continuing existing ones making our team the central communication hub for CRM issues 24 by seven days of the week.
Lessons Learned and refining our processes
As the team matured and procedures were learned and repeated sometimes mistakes were made, or inefficiencies were recognized along the way. Our team created an iterative process to transfer new information or lessons learned across the group. Our goal was to demonstrate to the institution that our team was always in a state of learning and always made an effort not to repeat the same mistakes. Although certain team members had a primary application to support all members of the team were cross-trained across all program applications. This ensured that there weren’t single points of failure and resource scheduling remained flexible. Also, the onboarding process became more streamlined and repeatable as new resources were added to the program.
Building Relationships and Trust within government leadership
Weekly meetings were established with institutional leadership to voice concerns and updates from both sides. Maintaining clear lines of communication was of utmost importance to be transparent and available for any questions or issues that may arise. As trust built between our team and leadership, we were brought into enterprise planning discussions with other partners creating new institutional opportunities for our client.
Results come in!
At the end of the period of performance, our team was graded utilizing the Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan (QASP). This is the key Government-developed surveillance process document applied to Performance-Based Service Contracting. Our team received high marks, and this was an indication that our hard work and strategies paid off. We were able to deliver a cost-effective and value-added group for our client and federal institution allowing our client to continue their federally contracted option for another year, a great success story. This concludes our case study of building a cost-effective federal operations and maintenance team that delivers great results. Now, what can we do for you?