I found the Forum on June 15, 2022, moderated by Lisa and involving many of our top administrators, very interesting. One particularly interesting part—at least to me—was the presentation by James Craig, who heads up the Kendal-Crosslands Information Technology (IT) Department.

I have had a general sense of some of the things the IT Department does, but never knew much about the details. James Craig did an excellent job with a nearly hopeless task: describing the enormous scope of the IT department in under 15 minutes. Given the time limitation, it was impossible for Craig to go into much detail. I decided it would be valuable to expand a bit on the information he presented, and that’s what this blog post attempts to do.

Craig explained that the department consists of just three people: Craig himself, DJ Burgos, and Rich Groves.  In addition to supporting the four KCC communities, they have now taken on IT responsibility for Barclay Friends, the Kendal affiliate in West Chester.

The focus of the presentation was the equipment and software that the IT Department is responsible for. First, Craig described the equipment the IT department supports for KCC staff.  It includes 263 phones, 42 cell phones,145 computers, 94 laptops, 54 tablets and 63 printers. There are also 307 “IT devices”, mostly the gear that supports our WiFi and internal internet.  

The software that makes it all possible. Next, Craig turned his attention to the heart of his presentation: the software. The array of software involved in running our communities is staggering. It’s a significant task just to list the names of all the software products we use.

Craig started with the products that staff members use to do their specific jobs. These are:

  • Horizon (for scanning our barcodes to track the meals we consume)
  • Sara (for monitoring our doors and generating calls if we don’t open them)
  • SingleWire (for generating campus-wide phone calls to relay urgent messages)
  • WorxHub (for managing facilities and maintenance processes)
  • Security Expert (for controlling the locking of doors into the Center)
  • TekTone (for calling nurses and aides in the nursing and assisted-living areas)
  • AccuTech (for limiting wandering)
  • Sage (for tracking our finances)
  • Cisco Jabber (for instant messaging, voice, and video communications)
  • Cisco AnyConnect (for Facilities workers using tablets in their jobs)
  • AccuShield (for front desk sign-in and medical screening)
  • VHI (for physical therapy management)
  • Fastlook (for access to CAD documents, such as blueprints)

Next, Craig reviewed the software packages that are common to all Kendal affiliates. Some of these are specifically for the IT department’s use:

  • Service Desk (for logging problems, prioritizing them, and assigning them to staff members)
  • Endpoint Central (for managing large numbers of devices, including desktop, laptop, and mobile devices; for deploying software updates and operating system versions)
  • Cisco AMP (for virus protection)
  • OpenDNS (for limiting which websites users can visit)
  • Cisco Call Manager (for managing our phone systems)
  • Netwix (for data and infrastructure security)
  • VPN (for secure remote access to our internal network)
  • DUO (for confirming the identity of users and restricting what software they can use)

Other Kendal-wide packages require local staff support, including:

  • MatrixCare (for medical records)
  • Ultipro (an employee timeclock system)
  • KCC website (kcc.kendal.org, the marketing website)
  • Intranet (internal web for staff)
  • Office 365 (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations)
  • FRX (for financial reports)
  • Board Effects (for briefing packets for KCC Board meetings)
  • KnowBe4 (for training staff about potential security problems)

Additionally, Craig listed the following recent or current software implementation projects by his department:

  • Office 365 (“cloud-based” word processing, spreadsheets, presentations)
  • MS Teams (chat, videoconferencing, file storage and sharing)
  • SharePoint (access to shared files)
  • Cohesity (disaster recovery)
  • Firepower/DNA (“firewall” management to prevent unauthorized access to internal networks)
  • SDWAN (redundant internet with multiple links to the outside internet, so that a single connection failure does not cut off internet service)

I think you will agree that this is an amazing list. We are indeed dependent on computers for many aspects of our lives. Every item of hardware and software listed above is, in some area, absolutely essential to the functioning of Kendal-Crosslands.

Craig finished his presentation by talking about the summer intern that is being hired to help residents with issues related to computers, phones, the internet, and their TVs. This could evolve into a permanent position. 

Although James Craig did not get into this topic, I can’t end without noting that many more pieces of computer technology are handled directly by residents, without the involvement of the IT department. That is true of the KRA website, the many resident-initiated Zoom presentations and meetings, and facilities provided in the auditorium by the Sound and Light team. At many retirement communities, residents would expect these things to be services provided by the administration. Here, the residents take that responsibility themselves.

Note: I am indebted to James Craig for reviewing this post for accuracy, prior to publication.