25 January, 2022

Cohere, hypergrowth, and us

In January of 2020, before we knew the true impact Covid-19 would have on the world, we were approached by healthcare startup Cohere Health. At the time, they were a small operation working out of a coworking space in downtown Boston. They came to Tech Superpowers to help build out their IT infrastructure and assist with their new technology deployment.

In January of 2020, before we knew the true impact Covid-19 would have on the world, we were approached by healthcare startup Cohere Health. At the time, they were a small operation working out of a coworking space in downtown Boston. They came to Tech Superpowers to help build out their IT infrastructure and assist with their new technology deployment, and work in a co-managed IT partnership.

What began as a small project quickly turned into the most extensive technology deployment in TSP history. As of January 2022, we will have onboarded hundreds of users and helped facilitate growth at Cohere as they’ve grown from a small startup to a well-reputed force in the healthcare IT industry.

Large scale new technology deployment

Cohere Health provides digital prior authorization solutions for health insurance plans, facilitating collaboration between plans and their network physicians and members. In just over two years, the company offerings were used by tens of thousands of healthcare providers across all 50 states.  This level of business growth can be challenging to manage effectively and requires a high level of coordination and collaboration. Cohere brought in TSP to help with all managed IT services from cybersecurity to help desk, but our most significant task was facilitating new technology deployment and onboarding new employees.

Getting your technology squared away early is important to the success of any startup. Why? Check out our blog on the Importance of Early Tech Consideration.

Onboarding creates logistical challenges

Onboarding new employees requires more than just shipping a laptop out. Not only do we procure and deliver machines for each new employee at Cohere, but a TSP IT expert also sets up the new device with all of Cohere’s software and security configurations. Additionally, each new hire gets a one-on-one onboarding session to give them their password, get them logged in, and ensure they know how to reach out with any questions or concerns.

While new technology deployment is familiar territory for us at TSP, the scale at which we onboarded employees for Cohere created a logistical challenge, especially given the challenging conditions of the pandemic. The logistics of getting all of these devices out the door and delivered to each user’s home ahead of their start date was a huge undertaking, only made more difficult by the delayed shipping times and in-office restrictions created by the pandemic. However, by relying on our process-driven workflows, we met our goals and exceeded them. In fact, in our busiest week, we onboarded a total of 40 users successfully, with each user being shipped their own Mac!

Process-driven coordination leads to success

To solve the logistical challenges posed by large-scale technology deployment and Covid-19, we relied on our tried and true processes and workflows as well as our relationship with Apple to procure the right machines.

Technical Coordination

The difficulty in onboarding this many new hires during a period where our ability to be in the office physically setting up machines was made easier by utilizing our trusted support software stack and project management strengths. Thanks to services like Jamf, we can remotely deploy software and client-specific configurations. Our technology partners and their services allow us to deploy a unique package to each new Cohere machine that contains all of the necessary software and settings for their devices without having to set up each computer entirely from scratch. This ensured that each computer was ready on day one while meeting the organization’s heightened security requirements of working in the healthcare industry.

Procuring the right machines

The company’s co-founders wanted to build Cohere’s infrastructure around the Apple ecosystem. At TSP, we’ve been working with Apple products since our very beginnings, so we understood the strengths and limitations of their devices when selecting the right machines to fit Cohere and its employees. In addition, choosing the appropriate computers is very specific to each organization’s culture and how their employees work. For example, Cohere’s employees utilize a dual-monitor system which helps their team keep important information easily accessible. Choosing machines that supported this capability was integral to their success.

When the new Apple M1 devices were launched, they didn’t support dual-monitors, which are critical to Cohere’s internal workflows. Our Apple Business Manager relationship proved critical for securing last-generation Intel-based Macbook Airs and Pros that ensured Cohere employees could continue using their dual-monitor solution. Apple Business Manager not only continues to help us to procure machines for new hires, but it provides us with a direct line of communication with Apple for any strategic planning or hardware issues we might face.

While Cohere is committed to using macOS throughout their business, not all employees were familiar with Apple and using their machines. To help familiarize new hires with their new computers, Jason Ross, a senior engineer at TSP leads group Mac training sessions. These sessions highlighted the differences between macOS and Windows and helped new employees become more comfortable with their devices.

TSP has enabled Cohere Health to rapidly and effectively scale the onboarding process of new hires including the procurement, configuration, and distribution of end-user devices. The partnership has enabled in-house IT and Security the ability to focus on strategic initiatives and key results. - Jared C. / Cohere Health

Transitioning to a co-managed approach

Just as Cohere has grown and evolved, so too has our relationship with them. In only three years, Cohere has grown from less than ten employees to over 500. That number now includes an internal IT team that works closely with us. While we initially handled nearly every aspect of IT, we have since handed over services such as Tier 1 help desk support. This transition has allowed us to focus on onboarding and offboarding and hardware repairs and replacements when needed and assist Cohere with high-level strategy and planning for the future.

At TSP, one of our greatest strengths is the ability to pivot and adapt. This strength, coupled with our commitment to helping our clients succeed, proved to be critical to our success with Cohere Health. Where other MSPs may have tried to convince their client to keep every piece of IT outsourced, we understood the benefit of a co-managed IT relationship for both TSP and Cohere Health. This co-managed approach has allowed Cohere’s IT team to take on a more direct user-support role while leaving us to work more on the back end of things.

They keep us busy, and it’s never been contentious. It’s been a true partnership. - Max Furst, TSP Director of Operations

Setup for success

Thanks to a dedication to process-driven coordination and a successful co-managed IT relationship, we set Cohere up to not only meet their growth but be prepared for the future. At TSP, we pride ourselves on our ability to put the needs of our clients first and, through this, have set up numerous businesses for successful and manageable growth. So, whether your organization is just starting out or has been thriving for years, contact us to see how we can help you bring your IT services to the next level.

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