Introduction

Since its inception in April 2013, NHS Wandsworth CCG has explored opportunities to transform IT service delivery and support as an enabler to improve patient care and team performance. Following early phased deployment of Office 365 for standard applications and corporate email accounts, the local team worked extensively with New Signature and Microsoft to replace their entire patchwork of costly, legacy corporate systems with a future-proof Microsoft cloud IT environment to increase staff productivity and enable clinical teams to work and collaborate across disciplines using secure, mobile working.

The cloud technology changed how we operate and has given our staff an unprecedented agile working experience. New Signature and Microsoft brought skills, vision and innovation. They understood the complexities of working with a CCG local team and what was needed to accomplish our IM&T vision.

The Cloud IT infrastructure has given the CCG a future-proof environment which will support us as we continue to develop new ways to transform healthcare delivery to our community, locally and across South West London.”

Rizwan Malik | Head of Information, Performance & Technology Management | Wandsworth CCG

Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Wandsworth CCG is responsible for planning, commissioning and monitoring the full range of health services for the entire population registered with Wandsworth GP practices, including emergency care, rehabilitation, community health services and mental health. A team of 1,200 spread across a central office and 40 GP practices work with local NHS stakeholders, like hospitals, dentists and pharmacists, to improve health and wellbeing, reduce health inequalities and ensure everyone has equal access to healthcare services.

Our goal was to provide Wandsworth CCG with a best-practice environment with the lowest possible cost of ownership. User adoption has been tremendous and by having access to the best technologies and services available, staff are empowered to learn and develop new ways of working.

Bryan Lloyd | Principal Consultant | New Signature

The Challenge

The strategic IM&T vision of NHS Wandsworth CCG was clear: IT needed to deliver agile, mobile working capabilities that would facilitate staff work life balance and empower teams to work collaboratively and productively from any location. This requirement was to be underpinned with a robust and high availability data platform to ensure business continuity, while reducing the cost of relying on legacy systems.

The existing IT environment was made up of legacy on-premise systems that couldn’t support this strategic IM&T vision. The CCG leads had no control to reshape the legacy environment in need of overhaul and end users found their work impacted adversely by recurrent downtimes. The technology hindered performance and productivity. It made email archiving, collaborative working and device compatibility time consuming and frustrating to achieve. It was time for a change.

Multidisciplinary groups can come together online to share and co-author documents. That encourages a more diverse set of skills on every project, faster outcomes and enables us to keep introducing innovative new approaches.

Rizwan Malik | Head of Information, Performance & Technology Management | Wandsworth CCG

The Solution

With extensive sector experience New Signature recognised the need for a collaborative, phased approach to ensure stakeholder buy-in during the design and implementation phases. Through a series of discovery and assessment workshops with the CCG and their IT support provider, New Signature prepared foundation plans to migrate IT capability from a locally managed on-premise environment to a progressive cloud solution that the CCG would control, allowing users to access cloud services from datacentre to desktop and device.

With the design phase completed, New Signature worked with the local IT team in a joint initiative to migrate all historic data and applications to the cloud, setting up user services and imaging new devices. Working collaboratively with the CCG’s in-house Project team ensured knowledge transfer and equipped them to effectively manage user roll-out and future management of the environment.
The solution brought the CCG’s vision to life – a Microsoft Azure cloud data backbone, securely housing applications and document back-ups, supported by a StorSimple SAN device, and user services delivered by Office 365.

Documents and collaboration tools are securely accessed through a SharePoint Online intranet, while One Drive for Business provides an accessible online location for saving personal documents. Windows 10 Surface Pro devices empower HQ staff to work seamlessly from any location. The solution can easily incorporate Surface Hub devices so that the CCG can begin holding multidisciplinary meetings over video conference via Skype for Business.

In an environment with many critical applications, New Signature’s goal was to minimise user disruption. The new IT environment was set-up using Microsoft’s ‘Direct Access’, so users could continue to work in a familiar way using ‘File Explorer’, even though work was ultimately saved back to the cloud. The result was maximised user adoption and cultural buy-in across all stakeholder groups.
Now live, the CCG are benefiting from Microsoft cloud system management and monitoring support tools as well as guidance for ongoing platform innovation, service upgrades and improvements.

The environment gives us enhanced service and immediate business continuity. We simply could not have achieved the guaranteed uptime SLAs in an on-premise environment.
In the recent cyber-attack, we were unaffected and we have reassurance from Microsoft that we will continue to be protected in the future.

Rizwan Malik | Head of Information, Performance & Technology Management | Wandsworth CCG

Benefits

Mobile Productivity

The HQ staff at Wandsworth CCG can now work effectively from any location without the need for additional and costly remote network connection. Users have unhindered access to all their applications and documents via single device. This will improve user productivity and experience by establishing seamless connectivity from any location to secure corporate business systems and email accounts as well as personal and shared files.
Lightweight and portable devices give users more freedom in their work location of choice. The CCG hopes to attract new talent based on its progressive working environment.

Improved collaboration

The CCG’s teams now work in a far more connected way. Increased mobility through cloud services empower teams to work in across multiple offices, co-authoring documents and reducing time spent on everyday tasks, safe in the knowledge that everyone has access to the most up-to-date information.

Stakeholder management

Collaboration with local CCG Project team to plan migration of IT services ensured a seamless experience for the CCG whilst the increased flexibility, cost-transparency and agile nature of the cloud environment has helped secure the support of internal committees and management. Bespoke user-centric set-up of the new solution has helped Wandsworth CCG secure stakeholder buy-in from day one and a great user experience. High levels of staff advocacy are helping accelerate plans to move other on-premise applications into the Azure and Cloud environment.

Reduced costs

Wandsworth CCG is now benefiting from reduced expenditure on maintaining back-end IT infrastructure or buying hardware – eliminating the need for a local SAN alone has saved hundreds of thousands of pounds in capital expenditure, plus associated depreciation cost pressures – and they can rest assured that every penny spent is based on actual utilisation. Vital internal resources can now be used to support the business in areas that accelerate efficiency and patient care delivery.

As an alliance, we need to communicate across multiple sites. We now use conferencing and live-streaming services to meet as a group, which will give us significant cost savings moving forward.

Iain Rickard | Wandsworth CCG

The Outcome

Extending the Innovation

Enabled and empowered, Wandsworth CCG is now working with all other South West London CCGs to help extend the agile IT and cloud computing solutions to benefit for wider stakeholders.

Enhanced data security

The CCG can rest assured that all confidential patient information transferred via Office 365 and stored in Azure is completely secure. All data backed-up and replicated in the cloud offers immediate business continuity advantage so that if organisation should face natural disaster or cyber-attack, it could continue to work unaffected.

Future-proofed investment

The introduction of the progressive cloud IT environment in collaboration with the local Project team and Microsoft marks the end of on-premise server based upgrade cycles. Wandsworth CCG have a resilient back-end infrastructure that will automatically upgrade at source, continue to evolve and enable the CCG to have cutting edge front end devices of choice for years to come.