Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCH) is a community and specialist services provider based in the North West of England. Through providing mainstream and specialist care to vulnerable people in community settings, it strives to bring care closer to home and support independent living. It achieved Foundation Trust status in 2014.
A high-performing and flexible IT infrastructure is integral to its efforts to transform how it delivers services. With its help, BCH aims to improve health outcomes and promote wellbeing as part of its five-year Quality and Place Strategy. The strategy, formulated after close consultation with the local community, is its response to a desire for more integrated and coordinated community based care. Robust, reliable IT infrastructure and Digital enablement will be essential to its success.
- Leading community healthcare provider
- Focus on delivering close-to-home services
- IT critical to transforming essential service delivery
BCH relied upon an ageing datacentre infrastructure to deliver essential services. Although fully functional, it was becoming increasingly difficult - and expensive - to maintain. It was also hampering the ‘cloud-first’ strategy that BCH wanted to pursue going forward.
Joshua Eckersley, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at BCH, approached its existing infrastructure provider to investigate how improvements could be made to both improve functionality and reduce ongoing cost and maintenance.
“I wasn’t happy with the amount of time the IT team were spending remedying errors each week. I also wasn’t convinced we were getting the value for money that health service provision demands,” said Joshua. “Our cloud-first strategy was a significant driver too. I needed to understand how we could make the most of our on-premise infrastructure while exploiting the many advantages that cloud offers. Having spoken to our provider, I wasn’t happy with the cost or complexity associated with updating our existing kit. That’s when I reached out to Softcat.”
Critical Success Factors
- Provide capabilities to achieve BCH’s cloud-first strategy
- Reduce ongoing infrastructure management complexity
- Reduce ongoing costs
“One of the first things we did was a general health check on the existing infrastructure,” said Kasim Khan, Softcat Datacentre & Cloud Specialist. “It clearly illustrated that BCH wasn’t getting the performance or value from what it had in place. With a good understanding of what it was hoping to achieve, we were able to recommend an alternative solution based on a 50/50 blend of Nutanix and Rubrik technologies. This would enable BCH to scale out applications to the cloud through a hyperconverged infrastructure – effectively a private cloud offering to deliver it’s forward-looking strategy.”
Softcat organised a workshop and delivered multiple demos. This highlighted how the proposed solution would make full use of cloud capabilities and provide the functionality and scale BCH needed. It enabled BCH to ensure the scope and sizing was correct and fed into the Trusts business case.
“Softcat’s input and extensive vertical knowledge helped me create a strong business case for the proposed solution,” said Joshua. “As soon as the business agreed to the proposals, Softcat rapidly facilitated the procurement. It then worked alongside both Nutanix and Rubrik to implement the new technologies. It was a truly seamless process with minimal downtime or disruption, which considering the restrictions in place due to the COVCID-19 pandemic, was remarkable really.
“The support we received throughout the implementation process and beyond was exemplary. Softcat, Nutanix and Rubrik all collaborated closely with the configuration and migration elements of the solution. It meant we were fully operational and able to extend enhanced mobility and flexibility to our remote workers when we needed it most.”
- Infrastructure health check to understand current state
- Identify suitable technologies to deliver a hyper converged infrastructure
- Provide sector-specific information to underpin business case
- Close collaboration with vendors to implement solution
Dave Smith, BCH’s Assistant Director responsible for IT services, says “The solution will help underpin our cloud-first strategy, and provide access to the improved functionality, resilience and speed of response a health service environment demands. It has significantly reduced the time it takes to maintain essential services using a single dashboard for infrastructure management, backup, and recovery. Data migration and cloud integration is now much simpler and more efficient, and it’s managed to reduce our total cost of ownership (TCO) considerably.
“The new technology is helping to mitigate ongoing risk and is helping to reduce our carbon footprint too. Our previous solution took up a whole rack, which has now been replaced by two tiny boxes using significantly less electricity than before. All in all, Softcat has helped to implement a 21st Century solution that extends the life of our on-premises technologies, while facilitating access to the undoubted benefits of a hybrid cloud.”
Benefits at a glance
- Enhanced functionality, resilience, and speed of response
- Simplified infrastructure management through a single dashboard
- Reduced total cost of ownership
- Facilitates the BCH cloud-first strategy
“There are two main reasons why we choose to work with Softcat,” said Joshua, “trust and effective communication.”
“Softcat genuinely engages with clients to truly understand their needs. It then recommends solutions based on real-world experience of what works effectively in particular settings. That knowledge, combined with the professionalism and reliability it brings to every engagement, gives the confidence that the solution will be the right one for each scenario.
“That close collaboration doesn’t end once the solution has been implemented. Softcat specialists are always on hand for advice and guidance – it’s like having a highly-skilled extra member of the in-house team on board.”