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Case Study: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Providing Licences to Deliver Innovative Healthcare Services

One of the largest and most respected trusts in the UK, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) delivers care through its hospitals: Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie. It’s committed to ‘improving people’s quality of life through innovative and sustainable healthcare’.

IT plays an essential role in delivering both high-quality healthcare for the local community and helping to support its activities as one of only five UK academic health science centres and a teaching hospital with a worldwide reputation. With more than 9,000 full and part-time staff, 1,000 beds and a turnover of £780 million, it’s recognised as a centre of excellence, with many specialists being acknowledged as leaders in their field.


teaching hospital


staff and 1,000 hospital beds

One of only five

UK Academic Health Science Centres

The Challenge

Mobile working and access to the very latest ‘enabling’ technologies are key elements of CUH’s innovative eHospital digital transformation. It recognises that the very latest communication tools are essential if it is to attract new staff to the hospital and provide the agile working environment that will help clinicians and support staff make the most of their talent and provide the very highest levels of healthcare.

An existing three-year Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (ESA) was drawing to a close. During a review, it became apparent there was a very high cost associated with the current agreement and it wasn’t clear exactly what the Trust was licensed for. It was also apparent that the existing agreement wasn’t aligned with its future vision or the business outcomes it was hoping to achieve. When combined with a pressing need to reduce costs throughout the Trust, CUH recognised that a new agreement was required that could fully support its innovative vision for future IT provision, and deliver significant financial savings.

Critical Success Factors

  • Reduction in licensing costs
  • Creation of agile technology environment
  • Support future mobile-working vision

The Solution

Understanding exactly what the Trust needed was the first step. The existing ESA meant that many licenses were already in place as part of the original government allocation, but it was important to gain a clear overview of what was and wasn’t needed to help right size a new agreement. It was also critically important that the agreement would ensure the Trust had access to the most up-to-date licences and software. Recent high-profile ransomware attacks that badly affected not just the healthcare sector, but businesses around the world, has brought home to many the necessity of maintaining the very latest software and operating system versions to help minimise the risk of disruption to vital services resulting from such attacks.

Softcat provided free-of-charge consultancy services to help identify the Trust’s particular needs. On-site workshops were held with the IT team to profile staff and discover exactly what technologies would be needed by individual staff members based on current usage. “Prior to bringing Softcat on board, we carried out an extensive staff consultation to help identify our specific needs,” said Zafar Chaudry, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “Once Softcat became involved, they worked closely with Microsoft to secure the right type of agreement and ensure significant public-sector discounts for our licensing requirements.”

Individual users were surveyed to identify what they saw as essential productivity tools to enable them to prepare for the future working practices the Trust was committed to implementing as part of its vision for the future. “We needed a delivery partner that would work with us on a long journey,” said Zafar. “Ian Burgoyne and the rest of the Softcat Microsoft team are some of the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever worked with. They don’t just try and sell you things.  They take the time to listen, understand your needs and then recommend the right technologies. It meant the final decision was in our hands and we knew what licences could help us achieve all that we hoped for moving forward.”

The Trust now benefits from an ESA covering Enterprise Mobility and Cloud suite technologies. With the increased flexibility brought by the solution, the Trust can provide a different suite of technologies to suit each individual user, enabling every one of CUH’s 9,000 users to access the technologies they need to confidently carry out their duties. It’s a solution that satisfies the needs of both individual users and helps support the Trust’s eHospital strategy of leveraging the latest technologies to improve healthcare delivery.

Solution highlights

  • Free-of-charge consultancy to identify specific requirements
  • Scoping exercise to identify cost savings
  • Identification of licences needed for strategic forward vision
  • Circa 23,000 Microsoft licences provided as part of the ESA

The Benefits

Ensuring that the Trust only paid for the licences it needed to facilitate its forward-looking IT strategy was the main focus of the project. By identifying specific needs and rationalising the scope of the ESA, the Trust was able to make significant cost-savings and ensure that it had the productivity tools needed to realise its vision. The project helped ensure that over-spending on unnecessary licences was a thing of the past, while simultaneously delivering essential tools, such as Microsoft Office 365, that would make the Trust a more efficient and attractive place to work.

“Staff members used to say that the technology at work was better than what they had at home. In recent years, it’s become apparent that what they use at home was more up-to-date than what they used at work,” said Zafar. “With Softcat’s help, we’ve turned that situation on its head and can now provide the right productivity tools, at the right price, to give our clinical and non-clinical staff what they need to realise our vision.”

Softcat worked closely with the CUH IT team to answer any questions and construct a robust business case that convinced the Trust of the suitability of the proposed solution. The ESA is fully managed by Microsoft, ensuring that the Trust can improve healthcare delivery using the latest communications technologies without wrestling with the complexity of software licensing.

Benefits at a glance

  • Significant software licensing cost savings
  • Reduced licensing management complexity
  • Technologies in place to support Trust’s strategic future service vision

Why Softcat?

CUH chose to work with Softcat for many reasons, but most importantly, it was convinced that Softcat would ‘be there for the long haul’. As Zafar was keen to point out, “In my experience, many providers are in it solely for the bucks. It’s particularly important for NHS providers to bring on board delivery partners that are fully engaged with the vision of the organisation. We’re determined to enable our staff with the tools they need to work efficiently and leverage technology to deliver the high-quality healthcare we’re committed to providing. With Softcat, we’re confident that although it hasn’t been an easy project and this is just the start of a long journey, they’ll be there when we need them.”

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