Achieving Cloud Technology Adoption In The NHS
Achieving cloud technology adoption in the NHS
Early cloud project experiences proved invaluable. I know we are not supposed to admit this but we got it wrong on one occasion and that Trust is no longer a customer. That still hurts today but it did put us on the rails to deliver our cloud technologies to around 65% of the NHS workforce that we see today.
We found that top down support was absolutely essential as is the recognition that ‘selling’ a new way of doing something to the end-users is critical to the success. A sound business case underpinned with customer testimonials was created for each Trust. This business case was based on their volumes and current spend, the good news was that typically a return on investment was seen within the first 3 months. Over the past few years Software Europe has built-up a portfolio of methods to promote the service ready for user adoption. These range from posters in key locations to drop-in user sessions and even advertising in the Trust magazines.
We invested a lot time and money into making the service really slick for the user. A direct link to the NHS payroll system ESR was essential for keeping things in sync, payment data up and personal information like roles, cars and position changes down. We also established the need to hide any complexity from the user, some neat design features meant that things like the complex rules about claiming mileage expenses for journeys to and from the office were calculated in the background. We should also point out that the system needed to perform. Not only fast for the user but also from an availability perspective…it seems many Trusts have had some bad experiences in the past. We applied our 14 years of delivering cloud technologies to make performance fast over modem speed connections through to the broadband speeds most of us experience today. But there are still bandwidth challenges so part of Software Europe’s R&D work involves making data movements really efficient.
We also had another advantage thanks to the nature of the cloud model. The projects are ‘self-contained’ which meant that the final objective, a roll-out of Expenses or GreenLight was achievable for the project team without any clutter and noise from other prerequisite projects. A fully hosted service meant that IT requirements and support was not an issue, although we were to find out early-on that IT often liked to review the project – understandably.
In 2010 we achieved ISO27001 certification. Independently audited, ISO27001 offered immediate comfort to those with security concerns. Going further we also achieved the highest rating on the NHS Information Governance Toolkit. These two elements opened the way for fast adoption of our cloud technology within the NHS.
In 2013 a Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed by the NHS for Software Europe’s Expenses Health technology, the purpose was to direct the solution in a way that would benefit the majority. That really helped grow the adoption and confidence within the Trusts.
There is also a very transparent engagement model deployed so trust is high between vendor and buyer. For example we have created user forums within our CRM systems (called Circle) so that NHS organisations can share information and raise ideas with each other about our cloud technologies.
We should also point out that we have been very fortunate to work with NHS project managers who are passionate about what they do.
Neil Everatt, CEO.