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Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (TST) provides healthcare for a population of more than 540,000 people. Innovative medical, surgical and specialist services are delivered by more than 4,000 staff working out of the Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and other sites across the region. As one of only 12 Global Digital Examplar (GDE) organisations in the UK, it views access to highly-functional IT infrastructure and applications as a critical enabler of successful service delivery.
In recent years, TST has built a reputation for harnessing technological innovation to improve services and patient outcomes. Ongoing programmes, including migrating paper-based information to a system of Electronic Patient Records (EPR) amongst other NHS-wide initiatives, demand a highly functional and robust IT infrastructure if they are to be successful.
TST had major concerns about its existing infrastructure and software estate’s capacity to meet its ongoing and future operational and compliance demands. In particular, NHS Digital was nearing the end of its current NHS Microsoft enterprise-wide agreement (EWA), so TST needed to source an alternative solution capable of delivering enhanced functionality while maintaining licensing compliance.
Critical Success Factors
“With our existing EWA coming to an end, we were faced with a real dilemma,” said Simon Batts, Chief Technology Officer at TST.
“Changes to Microsoft’s active - passive licensing model meant we could be faced with a huge jump in costs to achieve the functionality we needed going forward. Our challenge was to find a way to cost-effectively provide that functionality, alongside the capacity to migrate to new versions of Windows Server and Exchange technologies. So we contacted Softcat.”
TST and Softcat have enjoyed a trusted, long-term relationship for number of years. As with every Softcat engagement, the team were keen to get to grips with the specific challenge ahead.
“We set up an on-site meeting to establish TST’s particular needs,” said Ian Burgoyne, Microsoft Cloud & Licensing Consultant (Public Sector), Softcat, he continued. “It also gave us an opportunity to properly understand the status of the current infrastructure, servers, clients etc, to help design a fit-for-purpose solution that ensured T&ST gained maximum value from its existing IT assets.”
Over multiple site visits, Softcat worked closely with the in-house IT team to help it understand what licensing options were available. Major improvements to the SQL estate were recommended. It would enable a more cost-effective and compliant licensing model to be adopted, enhance overall functionality and provide a suite of tools to help facilitate staff collaboration. Softcat’s proposed solution would enable TST to implement a new Enterprise Subscription Agreement (ESA) to help minimise ongoing licensing costs, while still levying the Software Assurance benefit for Active - Passive rights.
“Softcat provided comprehensive breakdowns of three types of solution,” said Simon. “We chose to upgrade the SQL estate as it would reduce our ongoing costs, help future proof our IT environment and enhance overall security. The wide-ranging industry knowledge and invaluable advice Ian and his team provides were key to the success of this and every other project we’ve been involved in.”
A comprehensive Microsoft Core Client Access Licence (CAL), alongside additional products, was recommended to leverage existing infrastructure assets. It would provide a much-improved software estate, enhance disaster recovery capabilities and, crucially, deliver significant cost savings.
As with any public sector organisation, TST needs to save money wherever it can. The solution will deliver significant, across the board, cost efficiencies for the lifetime of the agreement.
Just as importantly, however, the improved IT infrastructure functionality will enable TST to stay at the forefront of innovative healthcare. In line with its status as a GDE, it has leveraged an innovative approach to complying with EPR obligations and expected increases in future demand.
TST now has access to a robust IT infrastructure capable of expanding in line with future requirements without incurring additional cost. Asset management, disaster recovery and business continuity have all been enhanced, alongside huge improvements in overall system performance. The introduction of a Microsoft account manager will ensure that all software remains up to date and compliant, as well as providing staff with access to the very latest productivity tools.
And those productivity tools will be critical if staff are to embrace new ways of working and deliver the innovative healthcare the NHS demands. Like many other NHS Trusts, TST recognises that more effective collaboration and knowledge sharing underpins improved outcomes and drives efficiencies. The ability to communicate securely and instantly will enable clinicians, support workers and field-based healthworkers to access the information they need to deliver first-class care from any location at any time.
Benefits at a glance
“We’ve worked with Softcat on a number of projects in recent years and have always had a great working relationship,” said Simon. “Communication is always top notch and we know they’re a trusted provider to multiple public sector organisations.
“We trust Softcat to such an extent that we have introduced them to other NHS organisations, who have subsequently engaged them in similar projects – with results that are just as positive for them as they have been for us.”