Social care group Ambea is the largest care provider in Sweden. To bring order to an IT function that was generating high costs and low delivery quality, Ambea chose to outsource IT management and support to Enfo. According to the Two-Speed IT concept, Enfo now takes care of basic services, allowing Ambea to focus on supporting and developing business in agile, innovative and operations-related ways.

Enfo has both breadth and depth in key areas, such as Business Intelligence, integration and mobility. The journey we've taken has led to our IT department now being seen as a creator of possibilities in the company. 

Christian Sundell, CIO, Ambea

As a result of the Enfo collaboration, user satis-faction has increased from 2.7 to over 3.7 on a 4-point scale. At the same time, IT costs have decreased by 40 percent, of which about 20 percent derives from outsourcing to Enfo. But most importantly, now there’s time to support the business with development and innovation.

“By sorting out our IT, we’ve gained opportunities to create business value. Previously, we only had time to solve problems,” explains Christian Sundell.

“Marathon and sprint” create opportunities

Ambea divides its IT activities into two areas according to the bimodal IT model, or Two-Speed IT. The first part can be compared to a marathon – it includes basic IT services that simply have to work. The second part is like a sprint. Here are the more operational and value-creating services that require swiftness – working with agility and innovation. “Enfo manages the marathon part for us, and we focus on development for our operations. It’s an advantage that Enfo has both breadth and depth in key areas, such as Business Intelligence, Integration and Mobility. The journey we’ve taken has led to our IT department now being seen as a creator of possibilities in the company,” shares Christian Sundell.

To understand needs within their business, Ambea works according to the PM3 governance model, which means that the IT department and operations cooperate closely with development, specification of requirements and follow-up.

“Everything is spinning faster today, and it’ll be even faster tomorrow. We in the IT department need to be out there in operations to see for our-selves how it really looks,” says Christian Sundell.
Ambea invests heavily in growing its business, both through startups and acquisitions. An important part of the IT department’s mission is to support these processes.“As Ambea grows, IT work has to happen fast, and deliver high quality. We usually don’t get much advance documentation about new operations. And the operations are often in different locations. During the autumn, we started IT production at 34 different addresses in just one month. We succeeded with the aid of Enfo,” says Christian Sundell.

Transparent partnership yields better resultsA key to why the Enfo collaboration works so well is that we work together as a single IT department. Christian Sundell says this is ex-tremely important: “We’re completely transparent with each other and don’t keep secrets – it’s not ‘us vs. them,’ which means Enfo can provide better help.”

An example of the close relationship is that Enfo now supports Ambea by working together on the guiding principles of a new IT strategy.

“It’s good to have someone come in and round up our ideas – someone who creates structure, who understands and challenges us,” shares Christian Sundell.


Digitalization - a vital part of strategy

In the new IT strategy, digitalization will be an important part. The goal is to drive both increased productivity and increased quality with digitalization. One way is to use so-called security technology for customers, and mobile functions for emloyees.

Digitalization is also important for attracting employees. According to Christian Sundell, fore-casts predict that as early as 2020 the care sector will be lacking between 120,000 and 200,000 personnel. And employees will want to work with technology they’re used to, such as mobile phones and tablets, rather than today’s stationary PC stuck in one room.

An additional aspect is that the next generation of customers are accustomed to having internet access and will set higher demands on the IT environment in their housing when they’re old.

“We’ll have to meet expectations,” says Christian Sundell.

Wanting to solve the welfare challenge

With an increasingly older population and a declining proportion of working age, digitalization is necessary to avoid a rise in national costs leading to future tax hikes.

“We see it as our mission to help solve the welfare challenge. If Swedish society is to continue offering a high level of social care, we have to handle an aging population and large investments, as well as succeed in attracting qualified staff,” asserts Christian Sundell.

Growing together

Christian Sundell describes Enfo as “competent, collaborative and precise.

”“The management and owners put very high demands on us. We have to have a partner that can meet those demands,” he says.

“We’re growing together with Enfo. We had to run a lot in the beginning and be felxible. Enfo did too. Now, we’ve pulled ahead and Enfo is reinforcing itself to catch up with us for management and governance. We’re also sat-isfied with the technology. There’s a palette of value-adding functions within Enfo,” Christian Sundell concludes.

The Ambea Group is one of Sweden’s largest private care providers. Among the subsidiaries are Vardaga that offers care for the elderly, Nytida that helps people needing social care, as well as the staffing companies Rent-A-Doctor, Rent-A-Nurse and Care Team. All in all, the group has 12,000 employees, of which 11,300 work directly with care.


Christian Sundell is happy to share his top three tips for others on the verge of outsourcing their IT departments.

1. Think holistically – short-term should always support long-term
Many focus on their IT staff’s needs, which leads to specifying for the wrong requirements. Specification should be based on the core business. And don’t forget that IT consists of a lot of suppliers, not just your own staff. Everything is connected.

2. Use models for specification
Then you’ll pull it off. You can’t just say “we’ll take IT and move it over there.” When you outsource the work, you no longer have insight into how it works – that’s when you need to specify requirements.

3. Think through governance
Think in terms of governance and management. How will you control the outsourcing? And of course, follow-up is important.