When the East of England Collaborative Procurement Hub healthcare organization grew frustrated by the lack of control, flexibility, and mobility provided by its IT systems provider it didn’t just look for a slightly better version of the same-old IT. It wanted to reinvent itself. It needed to move to the cloud for greater flexibility, control and cost savings.
Based in Cambridge, the East of England Collaborative Procurement Hub is an award-winning National Health Service organization that manages procurement of both clinical and non-clinical supplies for various health organizations across the region. It’s a lean, not-for-profit organization of 25 staff members, including just three employees who are responsible for providing IT and business support.
To augment its small IT staff, the Hub used a third party for certain IT services. Not only was this expensive, but Hub IT employees were increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of control it afforded, as it hindered the organization’s ability to function. The Hub also faced challenges around scalability and storage as the business grew. Regulation meant e-mails must be kept for seven years and it was thought that a cloud platform would be the most effective way of meeting those challenges, with the Hub only paying for what it actually used and required.
The Hub engaged with Core, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, to help it determine the best solution. Together, the organizations agreed that with mobility and scalability so important, a hybrid cloud model based on Microsoft Azure would be most effective. The Hub’s large shared drive, which needs to be maintained for seven years and accessed regularly, will still sit onsite but is also backed up to Azure. The Hub is required to keep e-mail for seven years, so the shift to the cloud meant migrating a great deal of data, but the move to Azure was straightforward, with minimal disruption.
The Hub also deployed Microsoft Office 365, a suite of productivity, including Microsoft Lync Online, and its enablement team now uses Windows Intune for mobile device management. All these products are cloud-based, which means that all updates are managed for the Hub by Microsoft. Moving to a cloud-based solution from Microsoft has improved the day-to-day operations at the Hub by providing increased scalability for the organization to grow. It has also improved collaboration, provided more control, and offered substantial cost savings.
Hub employees welcomed tools that let them to quickly reach each other and any information they need, regardless of location. System changes used to have lead times of anything from three days to two weeks with the old provider. Now change times have now been reduced to an almost immediate response since moving to Microsoft Azure. More than 90% of system changes are made within 24 hours.
As a not-for-profit organization, the Hub especially appreciates the cost savings that its cloud-based solution has delivered. Not only did the Hub avoid the capital expense of hardware, but the scalable payment structure of the Azure model has given the Hub the option to add new users as needed.
Learn more about the East of England Collaborative Procurement Hub story and register to attend Future Decoded on 10 Nov. at ExCel London to hear more about technology is helping organisations of all types achieve more.