Nerdio x Rimo3: Faster Time to Value for Enterprise Migrations to a Cloud Workspace

Eddie Powell, Vice President, Global Alliances, Rimo3

We’re excited to announce our newest integration and partnership with Nerdio to help customers easily move on-prem applications to Azure leveraging Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) or Windows 365,  Microsoft’s fast-growing, desktop and application virtualization services. As only a handful of software providers chosen by Microsoft to be included in their Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AAMP), it was obvious from day one that our technologies were complimentary, with both companies solving some of the biggest challenges in migrating on-prem enterprise applications to the cloud.

With Rimo3’s ability to automatically import applications directly from Microsoft’s SCCM (Config Manager), test those applications for AVD suitability and multi-session capability, modernize those applications, and export those applications right into Nerdio’s management plane, it helps solve one of the biggest obstacles large enterprises have to contend with: getting years of legacy applications with unique customizations into a format that is compatible with today’s modern management planes like Nerdio Manager for Enterprises. Once those applications are in Nerdio Manager, they can easily be deployed, managed, and optimized in AVD or Windows 365. The integration demo video is available to watch here.

As more and more customers look to move their applications to the cloud, one of the biggest concerns they have is that of not knowing if or how those applications will perform. The risk of simply moving those applications to the cloud and hoping that they work is a recipe for disaster and not one that most organizations are willing to take. Because of this uncertainty, many migration projects never get off the ground, choosing to maintain the status quo and keeping those applications running on-prem – however costly and inefficient that practice may be.   

This is where Rimo3 comes in. The Rimo3 platform can assess all of an enterprise’s applications in a matter of hours, provide insights into just how those applications will perform in the new cloud environment, and eliminate the risk of those applications failing prior to actually moving them, and thereby saving the customer considerable time and money. In addition to providing valuable insights pre-deployment, the Rimo3 platform automatically converts those applications into a modern format so that they are ready to move into the new environment. Nerdio can then take these newly formatted applications – having the confidence in knowing that they will run properly after having been thoroughly tested by the Rimo3 platform – and easily migrate them into AVD or Windows 365 where those applications can be managed and optimized to provide the end-user with the best performance possible. Our CTO, Samit Halvadia, recently discussed this in more detail with Nerdio CEO, Vadim Vladimirskiy, on the Rimo 3 Podcast.

This is why the partnership makes so much sense – two innovation leaders working together to make replatforming to the cloud as easy and valuable as possible. Rimo3 and Nerdio make what would otherwise be a series of time-consuming, risky, and complex set of actions into an easy, 3-step process – Plan, Migrate, Manage – allowing customers to take advantage of the cost-saving and security benefits of running applications in Azure on AVD or Windows 365. Customers have been asking for this integration and it’s finally here. Together, we are simplifying the move to AVD and Windows 365 making it easily accessible to everyone and helping enterprises achieve their mission with a modern, scalable, cost-effective approach to cloud-first IT.

Eddie Powell, Vice President Global Alliances, Rimo3

Eddie has spent over 25 years in sales and business development in the tech industry. He started his career in sales and sales management at AT&T before working in South America building indirect channels for Lucent Technologies. He spent six years at Citrix in strategic alliances before turning his sights to working with early-stage start-ups and tech incubators. He most recently spent time in the financial services industry while at Microsoft and mobile banking application startup, Kony, which was acquired by Temenos.

Eddie received his MBA from Thunderbird, where he met his wife, who also shares his passion for international travel. They have two children and live in Austin, Texas where they enjoy camping, boating, and attending live music shows.

The Case for Change – Remote Work’s Impact on Healthcare in the UK

Guest Blogger  

Craig Pickford, Solutions Architect, Block

The events of 2020 changed the world as we knew it. Overnight organisations had to drastically adapt as new ways of working were adopted at a breakneck pace, and for most, that pace of digital change has remained as we enter the second half of 2022.

At the forefront of the pandemic, Primary Care organisations across the UK were faced with the dilemma of keeping staff isolated and remote, whilst continuing to provide effective and safe care for the patient populations they serve.

Back then the concept of remote working for general practitioners (GPs) wasn’t entirely new, but it wasn’t exactly commonplace either. Many of the existing solutions, whilst good enough for emergency or occasional use, were just not up to the task of providing effective ways to consult and diagnose from a distance all day long.

NHS organisations that had deployed virtual desktop solutions prior to the pandemic were best placed to act quickly, with staff able to work from home and use their own devices to securely access clinical systems and data. But the continued success of these solutions also brought fresh problems; capacity was soon bursting at the seams, and due to the worldwide chip shortage, long lead times for much needed hardware meant that organisations couldn’t bolster capacity quickly enough to meet demand.

With challenges at every turn, a change in approach was needed, and it was needed fast – step forward Block’s Primary Care Workspace.

Delivering a Better Primary Care Workspace

Built on Azure Virtual Desktop and powered by Nerdio, the service has true elastic scale and already provides over 6,000 GPs and surgery staff across the UK with fast, simple, and secure access to core clinical systems. Designed initially as a pure remote access solution, it continues to drive Primary Care innovation, enabling patient services to be delivered in new ways leading to better clinical outcomes.

Based on personal preferences, patients can now choose to speak with a GP in-person, or over a video call, with the latter often resulting in quicker appointment times, faster diagnoses, and more timely treatment. GPs and support workers are benefiting from improvements in work/life balance as homeworking is now seen in many cases as a win/win for both staff and business owners. Today, due to parts of the workforce operating remotely, the number of appointments per day is no longer restricted by the physical space within a practice meaning more patients can be seen each day – the theoretical capacity of each practice is endless.

The functionality provided by the service has never been more valuable than in remote areas of the UK, where finding and retaining trained medical staff has been problematic for years. Now, with the Primary Care Workspace these practices can deliver improved patient services and choice by rethinking their recruitment strategies, unrelated to where staff live.

Supporting UK GPs

This change in approach was needed, At the height of the pandemic in 2021 almost 30% of all GPs in England felt so overstretched by the demands put on them that it was affecting their wellbeing, and therefore they were considering early retirement. By offering the ability to work remotely using effective technology solutions, we’re not only seeing many GPs continuing to work, but many more have come out of retirement part-time, working remotely to assist with the growing health and social care challenges we face as a nation.

And there is additional value being realised at an operational level too. Developed by Block, a self-service portal is enabling Practice Managers and administrative staff to onboard new users, assign access to applications and scale out additional desktop capacity themselves in a few clicks. What could previously take several days, can now be done in just seconds. As staffing levels across different regions have diversified, the ability for practice staff to onboard locums and agency staff in this way is reducing delays in accessing systems, vital to providing safe and effective care and managing surges in appointments.

The Nerdio Advantage

With far fewer technical issues and faster resolution times the desktop experience has never been greater. IT teams are gaining more time back into their day, freeing up valuable time to drive further positive change. The automation features provided by Nerdio, from their cloud-based Azure management platform Nerdio Manager for Enterprise, are streamlining once-mundane tasks including Windows patching and clinical system updates. They’ve centralised the deployment of VDI via Azure meaning that it’s far easier to deliver and guarantee successful change for every user. Automating security and patching is giving IT, and management, the assurance that they remain compliant with NHS standards such as the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT). And advanced monitoring capabilities give valuable insight into system performance, allowing the service to adjust dynamically to provide sufficient resources when needed, and to reduce them again when they aren’t.

And the list of benefits doesn’t end there. By leveraging Nerdio’s auto-healing capabilities, Block has built a catalogue of digital workers that continuously check the environment, instantly putting back into place anything that falls out of line. This fortifies our promise and allows us to provide a user experience that is far greater than can be achieved from a traditional PC, or any other solution.

Not Just Better but Greener Too

As our service supports any device, we’re also seeing customers rethink their device strategies, with some promoting BYOD, and others repurposing older devices. This approach not only reduces the overall costs of running their GP practices but is helping to extend the total life of their PC and laptop estates and minimising the environmental impact of ordering new equipment every few years.

Block’s Primary Care Workspace is an all-encompassing cloud-based virtual desktop service designed alongside some of the largest Primary Care organisations in the UK. This new, better way of delivering clinical systems and services to GPs, wherever they are, is helping to transform Primary Care in the UK, supporting new models of care, and driving better patient outcomes.

About the Author

Craig Pickford

Solutions Architect at Block

Craig is responsible for the development of Block’s Workspace propositions and services, liaising with clients, vendors and peers to ensure solutions meet requirements and deliver intended outcomes. Craig has been helping NHS organisations adopt and realise the benefits of virtual desktop solutions and other Workspace technologies since 2012. He has a diverse range of technical knowledge and skills, specialising in VDI for Healthcare, Identity Management solutions, Mobile Device Management, and public cloud (Azure and AWS). Craig also has a wide set of technical certifications within VMware, Cisco, Microsoft and AWS domains. You can find (and connect with!) him on LinkedIn.

Guest Blog: MSPs – Stop Giving Away Free Consulting Services

By: Lane Smith, CEO, Digital Maturity Advisors

Do you find yourself offering free consulting services to your customers? I’m talking about actions such as scoping out the project, maybe even doing some technical design architecture, working with third party vendors, and really trying to understand the customer’s business needs well before you ever give them a proposal for the technology solution that they want to implement.

If so, you really are like most MSPs who are facing the challenge that technology has become increasingly complicated over the past few years, yet the relationship between the customer and the IT provider hasn’t really changed. During the sales cycle, customers expect you to provide these services for free to ‘earn’ their business. Quite honestly most MSPs don’t know how to ask to get paid for this and don’t have time to debate the “why”.

The problem really boils down to that by doing all of the design and scope work upfront, you are pulling a lot of your engineering resources and engineers’ time away from billable services. Additionally, in the back and forth of bringing on a new customer and progressively understanding their environment better, it’s common to end up with scope creep. Where, once again, you’ll find yourself delivering services for free because it’s hard to go back to the customer and tell them you missed something and need more time or money.

What is even worse, of course, is if you don’t win the deal at all. In this instance not only have you wasted all this engineering time, which results in less billable hours, but you have also spent valuable sales time which takes away from closing other opportunities.

So, the harsh reality is that by giving away services for free, your MSP now has less resources to support new sales efforts, you are not getting the proper billable utilization out of your technical teams, and across the board you are lacking the time and resources you need to grow your business.

Let’s look at six steps to take in solving this problem:

1. Make It Clear You Don’t Give Away Services for Free

Yes, I know, easier said than done, so let me give you an example of how to approach this. Next time a customer or prospect asks you for a technology proposal here is an example of what you can tell them.

“Great, we are excited to help you with this project and I know in the past that we, and our competitors for that matter, have always just presented you with a proposal on request. However, as technology has gotten more complex, we need to step back and really understand the business drivers that are encouraging you to make this move. This involves speaking with your employees, understanding their challenges, uncovering what tasks they are doing that will leverage this technology.  Ultimately, we want to gain a clear understanding of your goals for this project so that we can ensure we deliver you the proper ROI and outcomes.

2. Focus On the Business First, Then the Technology

I am sure you have heard the phrase people, process and technology. MSPs tend to focus their time on the technology phase from a billable perspective and give away for free any work they do for the customer regarding the people and process phases of an implementation. By focusing first on the business (the people and process phases) you immediately elevate yourself above your competitors and more importantly can help your customers make the right technology decisions.

3. Always Kickoff the Project with the Key Stakeholders

You want the person that pays the bills in your first meeting and you want all their influencers in that meeting as well. This is when you’ll uncover the outcomes that they desire, what they really want to get out of this project, and any perceived roadblocks or things to watch out for. Take your time. Make it a 60-minute meeting, or even make it two or three 60-minute meetings if needed. Many times, you are going find that when you get in there, they don’t really know exactly why they want to implement the solution they just know they want to do something new and something different as they are trying to grow their business.

4. Have Another Discovery Meeting with as Many End Users as Possible.

For example, if you are going to be implementing Azure Virtual Desktop, try and meet with at least 5-6 people that will be using the solution. Someone from accounting, HR, sales, operations, marketing, etc. Meet with as many people as you can so that you can truly understand the expectations of everyone involved. You want to get as many points of view and perspectives as possible. You will find that these employees will give you insights into their challenges that the executive team doesn’t even know exists.

5. Deliver a Discovery Document

This document will include a clear vision, timeline, list of required resources, goals, ROI expectations and ultimately a detailed scope of work and proposal for the technology implementation project.

6. Charge Them for The Services You’ve Provided

We refer to the above five steps as a Dx Discovery Workshop (Dx – Digital Transformation). Based on the size and scope of the project our Certified Advisors are charging from $2,500 to $7,500 for this effort. Remember this is money normally left on the table. 

By following these six tips you are no longer giving away free consulting services. This results in higher bill rates and billable utilization, more time for your sales team to focus on the right customers. Not to mention, you have shown your customer you actually care about their business and are not just looking to make quick money from their technology needs. Additionally, you have a clear plan so when you do implement the technology project there is less opportunity for scope creep and ultimately, you’re going to deliver higher value, and higher ROI to that customer.

What I have covered here today is just one component of implementing Digital Transformation services for your customers. At Digital Maturity Advisors, we offer the framework and blueprints, provide the applications needed and have a complete training and certification program designed to help MSPs learn, implement, deliver on these services. Connect with me on LinkedIn or download our eBook 5 Disciplines of a Future-Proof MSP for MSP business advice.