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.