Elekta’s move to a cloud-centric solution
Learn how 10th Magnitude partnered with Elekta for a Managed Services Solution using automation plus Azure to deliver products in real time and dramatically improve customer experience.
Elekta’s Precision Radiation Medicine is revolutionizing cancer care. Bringing together science, technology, and clinical intelligence, Elekta works closely with clinicians towards a future where everyone can benefit from precise and individually tailored radiotherapy treatments. To give millions of patients the chance to live more moments that matter, Elekta collaborates with clinicians and partners around the world.
10th Magnitude is thrilled to be one of these partners. Elekta and 10th Magnitude are working together to deliver more value to their customers faster by moving to the cloud and accelerating Microsoft® Azure® adoption. Elekta needed a managed services team that understood the cloud, was deeply skilled in Azure, and could help build a roadmap for their journey.
Elekta’s primary challenge
Elekta’s move to a cloud-centric solution was driven by the need to reduce their data center footprint and speed innovation within the company, quickly delivering and demonstrating business value to customers. They wanted to expand globally, which could not be done with their existing data center. They needed a consistent footprint on which they could build across the board, and step one was committing to Microsoft Azure as their cloud platform of choice.
They also needed a skilled managed services team to greatly enhance the user experience by creating straightforward documentation and structured workflows.
Elekta wanted a platform to deliver applications everywhere – to get oncology software into the hands of as many people as possible. For this to happen, design consistency was a must and they needed a platform to create the value needed to penetrate these global markets.
According to Chuck Martin, Director of Global Cloud Solutions at Elekta, “If we were to build data centers everywhere we would have silos in different environments, with different contracts. This scenario would not be manageable at all. We had to use a large public cloud provider to achieve what we wanted to. Our main challenge was the fact that we did not have the skill set in-house to do that. We had the vision and strategy, but this was driven by a small number of people. We needed a managed services team that knew cloud, knew Azure inside and out, and could build a roadmap for our cloud journey. And, we had to break through the limitations of our existing system, to give end users more control of our system.”
So, Elekta talked to 10th Magnitude’s managed services team to help with crucial service issues like, “How do users get to the system? How do they start the system? And then, how could Elekta measure and manage it?”
Elekta’s users are clinical users. They know how to use the application, but they don’t really know IT. So, the managed services team helped Elekta create user-friendly documentation and a structured workflow to allow a clinical user – someone with little technical knowledge – to log into the system, see the resources that they have access to, and easily start and stop a machine.
There were two use cases, clinical users and internal trainers, who needed a workshop-like environment and the ability to see all machines, as well as start and stop them.
According to Martin, “In either case, now users don’t have to contact Elekta. Instead, they send an email, specifying their problem to the 10th Magnitude team who responds and deals with each issue quickly. This automation has saved Elekta a ton of time and effort in training.”
"We needed a managed services team that knew cloud, knew Azure inside and out, and could build a roadmap for our cloud journey. And, we had to break through the limitations of our existing system, to give end users more control of our system."Chuck Martin
Director of Global Cloud Solutions at Elekta
What was Elekta’s vision of success? (And how did 10th Magnitude help bring it about?)
Consistency and the power of Azure. With a cloud rollout, there’s often quite a bit of variation between customers without the ability to automate; this is due to changes in configuration over time, and these changes make it more difficult to troubleshoot. What might be fixed for one customer may not be fixed for another, or issues could arise because of the configuration differences. When you’re talking about thousands of global customers, that’s a significant problem.
With Elekta’s global rollout of cloud services for commercial and training products, design had to be consistent from one region to the next. For true success, they needed to have consistency across the board and drive stability in value and in penetration of international markets.
On the service side, Elekta had to make a decision of whether they were going to bring that in-house or outsource it to a services team. Azure was the driver. And it required training and a level of continual learning that Elekta—a medical device company—was not accustomed to doing.
They realized that success was going to be slow if they went in-house. Finding a team that knew Azure inside and out and also had the highest level of support was critical. So, Elekta looked to 10th Magnitude for full managed services.
According to Martin, Azure expertise was a must. “That was one of the biggest draws with 10th Magnitude – that they only do Azure. Many service providers do it all, but they don’t excel in any one platform. 10th Magnitude focuses on one solution (Azure) and they do it extremely well. Honestly, that was probably the biggest draw with them. Yes, they are nice people, but they were also a major Microsoft Partner and were winning awards with Microsoft for their level of Azure support, service, and delivery.”
What was Elekta looking for in a managed services provider?
A deep bench. Elekta needed to take their U.S. model global, minimize data transfer, and have security and global oversight. But they were also looking for something else in a managed services provider. This included leadership and guidance around navigating Azure.
“It’s about skillset and people in the service team, and 10th Magnitude had that in spades,” Martin said. He added, “They knew Azure inside and out. But their deep bench was the chief asset. The depth of talent within the company was extremely important of course, but we needed a first-rate team we could continually reach out to. And 10th Magnitude’s leadership is exceptional.”
Martin continued, “While working with the managed services team, there was this huge added benefit – the professional services area of the company is like an extended bench to quickly get issues resolved.” He admired 10th Magnitude’s ability to assemble a top-notch service, delivery, and operations teams, not to mention the expertise of the professional services architecture team. Martin noted, “In the event of a major problem that’s a showstopper, you’ve got a lot of depth to rely on.”
Additionally, Elekta was impressed by 10th Magnitude’s service automation. Martin said, “Communicating with the team directly was a big draw. For many needs, I don’t need to open a service ticket but instead reach out to them with a question, and I usually get my answer back within a few minutes. That was huge!”
"While working with the managed services team, there was this huge added benefit – the professional services area of the company is like an extended bench to quickly get issues resolved."Chuck Martin
Director of Global Cloud Solutions at Elekta
About Elekta’s vision
But what did Elekta envision when they decided to work with 10th Magnitude? What did they hope to get from the partnership?
According to Martin, “My own personal goal is to get the clinical applications for oncology out to as many users in the world as possible without technical complications. In cities like London or Sydney, this is relatively easy because you have all the tools and resources you need. But if you’re in Northern Africa or India. it’s a different story.”
Clinics in that part of the world require technical access, resource access, and access into that same system. It’s particularly problematic if they’re in a remote region and the oncology physicist is 200 miles away. It could take him at least a day to get there, which brings progress to a grinding halt.
The ability to connect all those resources together and get the necessary assistance from a different city, ensuring that patients are treated in a timely manner, is critical. You need access to the application, access for human resources to be able to connect into that same system, and to be able to help you wherever you’re located.
These areas may have the technology piece, but there’s not the ability to bring in skilled resources at the level needed. So, you need a system built to easily connect these people so patients in remote regions can be treated with the highest quality available. As Martin said, “I want to see that happen.”
Elekta and 10th Magnitude: Working toward a vision of the future, together
“With the scale and compliance that Microsoft Azure has, we’re able to take advantage of many issues we couldn’t address in the past,” Martin said. Before, Elekta lacked the resources to handle issues related to security, patient health information, protection of that information, and penetration into new markets.
10th Magnitude is providing global support for Elekta from its 24x7x365 operations center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 10th Magnitude operations center provides proactive monitoring and security escalation for infrastructure, application, and platform issues.
10th Magnitude has also helped Elekta get out of a single deploy. To get all of their technology working in one bubble through the power of Azure. And to use cutting-edge deployment methods to be able to deliver that in any region.
Right now, that translates to over 50 regions in the world, from Europe to India to Australia to Japan. There are data centers everywhere, and they keep making more. Access won’t be a problem if it’s consistent across the board. Martin said, “We do it one time, and we deploy to many. That’s the goal.”
Elekta is utilizing 10th Magnitude’s Managed Services customer portal for provisioning and automation of lifecycle operations for their infrastructure in Azure. 10th Magnitude worked with Elekta to develop service automation to deploy new environments — Elekta leverages this with technical and non-technical staff to support business functions in an on-demand fashion.
"10th Magnitude is providing global support for Elekta from its 24x7x365 operations center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 10th Magnitude operations center provides proactive monitoring and security escalation for infrastructure, application, and platform issues."
Elekta needed the mix of automation plus Azure to deliver products in real time and dramatically improve the customer experience. 10th Magnitude Managed Services helped design and implement a secure, scalable, virtual data center, to keep pace with the demands of Elekta’s ongoing business and help meet their future goal.
10th Magnitude’s managed services portal offered them a robust environment for their users, partnering with them to create a real-world solution to showcase their products. The managed services team helped deliver a better overall experience.
10th Magnitude wanted to also look a bit beyond services to something different. If a company is supporting an application with managed services, there’s almost always a need to build something else or extend it. And if an extension is required, it usually involves a bit of creative thinking.
So, how does 10th Magnitude stack up against other managed service providers when it comes to strategic approach? Chuck Martin offered this closing comment…
“Follow-up is one thing, but follow-through is another, and 10th Magnitude certainly follows-through. Their managed services team is always thinking through solutions. Out of the box strategic thinking (vs. simply tactics) for long-term success is a good way to explain it. You usually don’t get this with a larger company. 10th Magnitude doesn’t just want to close a ticket – they want to bring you the best long-term solution they can.”
“And they know Azure, what it does, and the best way forward. We don’t have to explain everything to them. Their skill set and “getting things done” ethos opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.”
Elekta – Using Automation plus Azure to Dramatically Improve the Customer Experience
Elekta – Pushing the Boundaries with Automation, Azure, and the Cloud
10 Commonly Asked Managed Services Questions
Podcast Episode 2 – Speed, Agility, and Disruption with Managed Services
"That was one of the biggest draws with 10th Magnitude – that they only do Azure. Many service providers do it all, but they don’t excel in any one platform. 10th Magnitude focuses on one solution (Azure) and they do it extremely well. "Chuck Martin
Director of Global Cloud Solutions at Elekta