NHS Case Study

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  • £10M Savings in the first year
  • 12,000 Employees connected through SharePoint
  • 8% Reduction of time spent on manual tasks

Saving the NHS millions of pounds, our tailored SharePoint solutions provided a fine-tuned migration process, streamlined workflows, and a more collaborative way of working.

The NHS organisations we worked with were able to become self-sufficient in managing these new future-proofed applications themselves – allowing for longevity and for teams to use their time more productively. 

The Landscape of the NHS

One in forty people in the UK work for the NHS

Funded by the UK public, the NHS is a much-loved service that also comes under significant spending scrutiny. Every penny counts when it comes to financial responsibility. Money saved on administrative, operational, IT systems and processes can ultimately help save lives.

Technology is the backbone of the NHS. Given the budget constraints they work within, the NHS are also true innovators when it comes to technology and improving their digital landscape.

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The challenge facing the NHS

The NHS has many moving parts. There are multiple departments and organisations involved, huge amounts of employees and stakeholders to manage, and responsibilities to the public to consider too.

Getting things right is crucial when the consequences could literally mean the difference between life and death. If employees aren’t able to access the information they need, information slips through the gaps, or strong processes aren’t in place – the consequences can be fatal for patients.

One of the largest Units in England is the Midlands and Lancashire Unit (MLCSU) – supporting 50 different Groups in the far north west through to the south midlands.

This unit was in a state of flux; they were the result of a recent merger between two medium-sized Units. On top of this, they were in the midst of bidding for new work within their existing Groups as well as for other Groups too.

However, providing IT support to the Groups was proving tricky for the Unit. Each Group had their own IT makeup, their own challenges, and their own way of managing documents. A solution was needed that was tailored to the NHS’ unique needs and challenges to support all the different Groups in a consistent way.

Surrounded by so much change and the unknown, the question was how can we create a consistent system that streamlines processes and ensures seamless user adoption?

All this is complicated further by the structure of the NHS. To break it down:

  • Each area of the country is supported by a Clinical Commissioning Group (‘Group’)
  • This Group is responsible for taking a budget and assigning how much goes towards different services (such as physiotherapy, IVF, mental health, etc.)
  • Determining these budget allocations is complex and requires large quantities of people data and specialised staff
  • Corporate support is provided to the Groups by Commissioning Support Units (‘Unit’)
  • These Units handle areas such as accounting, human resources, IT, and business intelligence
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Our solution for the NHS

Our long-term partnership with the NHS was designed to deliver real, long lasting benefits from their SharePoint estate.

Becoming part of the SharePoint team, we took the time to fully immerse ourselves in the IT estate, the way all the Groups worked, and the organisation at large. It was also essential to understand what they really needed to get out of their SharePoint solutions.

Our proposed solution? SharePoint Online, a cloud solution that we could adapt and customise to meet the needs of all the different Groups. The next step was to ensure each Group and their staff would see the benefits and embrace this new system.

This was a carefully curated process that looked a little like this:

  • The MLCSU team worked closely with a number of Groups running workshops to discover what their current systems looked like, what they needed, and how to get there.
  • We analysed this content to create a strategy that took into consideration all the Group’s different needs and current systems to ensure safe transition to the cloud
  • Our cloud migrations were planned around project commitments to minimise disruption for the Groups
  • As we mapped out this process, we suggested and developed several workflows that became ‘digital assistants’ for a number of Groups to automate repetitive tasks and save time
  • To let MLCSU be self-sufficient after our solutions were in place, we trained the Groups on how to create and deploy SharePoint sites and provided the Unit with the expertise to repeat the migration process in the future for new Groups

More than just a SharePoint solution, we also provided MLCSU with:

  • A PMO application with intelligent feeds and automated workflows for new projects
  • A self-service annual leave tool that included leave calculations
  • Ways to utilise Planner for meetings
  • A supported rollout of Skype for Business within the Unit
  • The migration of NHS England’s NHS Mail into Exchange Online

The impact for the NHS

The combination of our cloud solution, customised applications, and streamlined workflows has helped provide MLCSU with significant cost savings. As well as the financial savings, the Group’s employees are able to spend less time on repetitive tasks and searching for the information they need – instead they can use their time and energy more productively.

The applications and workflows we developed for the Unit are still in use today, and now they’ve been emboldened to transfer some of their SharePoint workflows into Power Automate, and are starting to experiment with Power Apps.

Now fully transitioned into Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online, Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit have a finetuned migration process to move their Clinical Commissioning Groups across to the cloud.

This allows the Unit to efficiently migrate new Groups they work with to a consistent cloud system themselves, whether they’re migrating from existing SharePoint solution or from classic Windows storage.

Several years into their Microsoft 365 journey, MLCSU has seen an impressive ROI on their Microsoft solutions. Over the next decade, these savings will run into the millions – enabling NHS England, the Unit and the Groups to use the money saved in other – and more directly life-saving – areas.

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