“What stood out about Newmind Group was their willingness not to settle on a cookie-cutter solution. You researched solutions to fit the organization, and you discovered and implemented something great for our needs.”

Harry Vijayakumar

Vice President of IT


Samaritas (Formerly Lutheran Social Services of Michigan) is a social services organization located in Detroit, Michigan, where it was founded in 1909 as “Missionsbund” (Mission Federation). Their vision? To provide communities of service that meet the needs of people, upholding human dignity, advocating equality and justice. Today, they support over 1800 employees at 45 locations around the state, providing services such as senior living, refugee resettlement, therapy, and memory care. With so many responsibilities, you can imagine how critical their information technology team is to Samaritas’s goals.

Meet the IT Team

Samaritas’s IT team is composed of 18 employees, and they’re directed by Harry Vijayakumar, a veteran developer and admin, who has since stepped into the role of Vice President of IT. Harry’s team is relatively small for the size of the organization, but they put in a lot of work, from supporting an enterprise-level network that reaches across the entire lower peninsula of MI, to day-to-day troubleshooting end-user devices.

Service Desk Overhaul

In 2014, Harry began seeing a problem with his team’s service desk and end-user satisfaction.

“We had people assigned as a ‘service desk,’ but really it was just an email list, and anybody who happened to see a support issue would respond when they had time. There was no means of looking back at the workflow, or our processes and tools. Nothing. Obviously that leads to low customer satisfaction.” —Harry Vijayakumar, Vice President of IT, Samaritas

Another big priority was finding a window into the service desk data—seeing how and where they could make improvements. Between an improved service desk option, and better data collection about team effectiveness, the search for a solution began.

Selecting a Partner

Samaritas looked at several options for service desks, as well as prospecting in-house staff to take on support issues full-time. After some time, their eyes turned to a Michigan business for the answer.

“In the end, we’re a small shop. We work almost exclusively in Michigan, and Newmind Group seemed interested in local clients, and they turned out to be a good cultural fit.”

Harry first met the Newmind team at a Build IT Together Detroit event in 2013, and after evaluating his options, he reached out in May 2014 and onboarding was planned for the Fall. They reached out to Newmind in May 2014. Newmind began onboarding Samaritas in August 2014 with a test user group and began full time service desk work in September.

“What stood out about Newmind Group was their willingness not to settle on a cookie-cutter solution. You researched solutions to fit the organization, and you discovered and implemented something great for our needs. You’re willing to work alongside us, and learn with us as we grow and staff up accordingly.”

Acclimating With Newmind

When Newmind was brought on board in August 2014, they began handling support tickets immediately, and almost all of them were simple things like password resets. Over the course of the relationship, Samaritas has incrementally increased the number of tickets passed to Newmind Group.

“Over time, we’ve gotten to know Samaritas’s systems and procedures even better. Since we’ve earned that comfort and trust from their team, they’ve extended more authority our way, like administrative access to their medical records systems and cell phone management.”—Luke Schneider, Newmind Group Happiness Engineer

Delivering on Data

As time passed Newmind Group was able to give Samaritas an ongoing breakdown of support issues—the number of password resets, phone issues, hardware issues, so that Samaritas’s IT has a better window into the needs of users. Beyond that, whenever high frequency issues crop up, a meeting is set to handle those strategically with Newmind.

“Newmind has definitely hit all the goals we set out to achieve—We have the right system for reporting, which was big for me, and now that we’re capturing data, things can only keep getting better. Our other goal was to open more time for my own team to focus on high priority, strategic projects, and we’ve met that goal too, as well as shifting some of that problem-solving back to the user through knowledgebase resources.” —Harry Vijayakumar, Vice President of IT, Samaritas

Continued Success

Today Newmind handles between 450-500 tickets from Samaritas every month. As the relationship has deepened, Samaritas’s reliance on Newmind Group has expanded beyond service desk support, including a new ticketing system that meshes well with the Samaritas team, a self-service support portal for users, and video training solutions for Samaritas staff.

“Since Newmind took on most of the bulk level 1 issues, we’ve gotten to take on many new projects—encryption with Social Safeguard, overdue patches for an inventory management solution, upgrading from Microsoft Exchange and Link, and the sheer number of tickets and time spent problem solving for us—it’s easy to see the savings.”

Samaritas staff can now rely on a responsive and quality service desk, and their IT team can focus on tasks bigger than password resets and finicky phones—putting time into value-driving projects that benefit the entire organization.