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The existing SAM solution needed to be adapted according to the changing needs of SDHIS, and to reflect changes to the NHS.
SDHIS had already implemented Snow’s Software Asset Management (SAM) tool after the NHS Enterprise Wide Agreement with Microsoft came to an end in 2010. At that time, regional procurement offers meant attractive pricing for local implementation of Snow. Prior to this, an ineffective collection of spreadsheets and paper-based forms were used for reporting on SAM processes.
Until the end of the Enterprise Agreement, NHS Trusts had been able to use some Microsoft products for free. With its demise however, they needed to identify what products they had and those which were in use, or represented good value. Bearing in mind the economic climate and the financial implications for a public sector healthcare organisation, a more rigorous approach to SAM was needed to drive efficiency and cost savings.
The initial contract with Snow was for three years, with the option to extend. At the end of the initial period, a decision had to be made on whether to extend the existing contract, and how best to continue to manage software assets and procurement.
Going forward, SDHIS aimed to develop and improve the accessibility and flexibility of its software assets and databases.
While Snow had so far been successful in generating reports and ensuring accountability, there was a need to make the decision to either continue with an existing hosted Snow solution or instead to opt for a hosted system in the cloud – an option which had not previously been considered. A supplier was required to implement either decision.
Ultimately, SDHIS opted to move from a hosted system in Trustmarque’s data centre to an environment hosted on Microsoft Azure, enlisting Trustmarque to re-architecture the existing solution.
At the close of the provisional three year contract with Snow, SDHIS opted to modernise and move into a single-tenanted hosted environment. With the help of Trustmarque’s architectural IT services, and with Trustmarque’s recommendation, SDHIS migrated from its original platform towards a hosted service with the Microsoft Azure platform. Upskilling was a vital part of the project, and involved training new Snow users across the estate.
A key driver which pushed the HIS towards favouring the hosted option was that it would allow them to deploy Snow across the entirety of the software estate – enabling reports to be centralised in one repository. In addition, it could provide further reliability and resilience. Trustmarque created a solution that met the changing needs of SDHIS at a suitable cost, in line with the initial contract set out by the Commodity IT Hardware and Software agreement framework (CITHS). This involved re-designing the existing solution. Close collaboration with the Trust was realised in order to understand its requirements, to enable informed decisions and to set out clear time frames.
About South Devon Health Informatics Service
South Devon Health Informatics Service (SDHIS) is a shared service provider delivering an IT Service to the South Devon health community, including South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (SDHFT), Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust (TSDHCT) and South Devon and Torbay CCG. The health community includes a number of community hospitals, Health Centres and circa 50 GP practice sites, with around 5,000 PCs and 8,000 user accounts.
SDHFT runs a general hospital, Torbay Hospital, serving the South Devon area. Its services are funded through Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), who determine the healthcare priorities for their local population. Torbay Hospital serves a local population of around 300,000, with the additional 100,000 seasonal visitors. The biggest part of the Trust’s work is emergency treatment – over 70,000 patients a year come through Torbay Hospital’s Emergency Department.
The remit of the IT Operations Manager, Dave Hayes, is to deliver IT infrastructure and manage the IT support teams covering desktops, servers, networks and telephony. The Health Informatics Service provides services to the acute and community bases over a shared network and, in addition to this, provides IT support to GP Practices.
“The support from Trustmarque, in particular the help and advice when it came to how best to work the system, has been invaluable. We worked closely so that between us any issues were resolved. Hopefully we’re helping out other clients in laying out the path towards best practice.”
Dave Hayes, IT Operations Manager, South Devon Healthcare FT
The success of Trustmarque’s implementation can be partially attributed to its capacity to supply both Snow and hosted services, giving SDHIS the choice between implementing changes within the existing infrastructure or making the transition to a stable and resilient new hosted platform.
Trustmarque was selected by virtue of its abilities as the best at procuring and deploying the services best suited – in this case, a hosted Snow solution. Having used Snow for a number of years as part of their ever-maturing SAM practice, SDHIS were able to work closely with Trustmarque to migrate from their existing multi-tenanted environment to a single-tenanted, cloud-based environment.
This ultimately allowed them to move their SAM maturity towards advanced practice and to take advantage of developments within the SAM Snow tool itself. Trustmarque was able to set SDHIS up with a revised structure to fit their evolving shared service provider model, allowing them to report more accurately on their growing assets.
The Snow tool is now a key part of their advanced IT strategy and allows the Trust to report with confidence.
“Working with Trustmarque on Snow has been a great success. The organisation has
demonstrated a real commitment to us – it’s a two way relationship and we’re hoping we can actually develop best practice for Snow product deployment between us.”
Dave Hayes, IT Operations Manager, South Devon Healthcare FT