South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, which provides healthcare services in northern England, needed to produce an IT service improvement programme. Working with Microsoft® Services, the trust carried out an Operations Strategic Review (OSR), and, as a result, has reduced the number of critical situations resulting from infrastructure downtime from eight to one. The return on investment from using Microsoft Premier Support Services proactively is estimated at almost 400 per cent over three years.
With a reputation for being proactive and innovative, South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust provides high-quality healthcare at hospitals in Middlesbrough and Northallerton in the north of England. The trust employs more than 250 consultants, a total work force of 7,000 and manages a budget of around £409 million (U.S.$475 million). However, in 2007, the volume of reactive calls from users with IT problems, service failures, and a poor perception of IT management within the organisation led the trust to improve its IT infrastructure.
Sue Thornburn, Head of Information and Communications Technology, South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, says: “We have a complex environment through past investment in disparate systems. We were only part way through implementation of remote desktop management tools to manage upgrades automatically and reduce time and expense. There were seven domains—now reduced to two—and an estate of around 3,500 user devices. We had literally run out of data centre space and power in our computer suites and needed to look urgently at a strategy for installing virtualisation technology.”
Thornburn decided she needed to develop a service improvement programme with proactive support from a reliable partner. It was imperative to back it with a reliable business case to ensure senior managers were persuaded that improving IT efficiency and service availability for the servers and desktop estate was a necessary priority. Thornburn says: “We were looking for help in understanding our own business goals and mapping them to our information and communications technology (ICT) objectives. It was a question of working with people and processes, as well as technology, and of becoming more proactive as an IT team.”
Help was at hand. Through its Microsoft Services Premier Support relationship the trust decided to make less use of reactive services to fix problems and to increase its proactive services, receiving expert support from Premier Technical Account Manager Nigel Crewe.
Crewe says: “First, we determined the current state of the environment by running a series of technology risk assessment programmes to identify all the infrastructure issues. These included the Active Directory® service, Microsoft Exchange 2003, and Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 data management software. An Operations Strategic Review (OSR) was then undertaken to understand the desired state for the organisation. This included both IT and business objectives for the next two years.”
According to Crewe, the key assessment was the OSR. It developed a high-level infrastructure optimisation roadmap for process improvement in support of the customer’s business-validated vision, strategy, and project plans. Microsoft Services Operations Consultants worked with the trust to review process documentation and status, and assess whether processes were able to adequately support the environment. Deliverables included defining and scheduling immediate actions for pressing needs—as well as longer term continuous improvement programmes that address people, processes, and technologies—to meet the IT and business demands of the organisation.
As a result, South Tees has a service improvement plan that is currently being implemented and managed across the trust, including using proactive services to optimise the performance of Active Directory and Microsoft SQL Server 2005.
Working with Microsoft Services Premier Support, South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust has improved the stability and reliability of its infrastructure to provide an environment in which to introduce new services. As a result of the benefits provided through the proactive services and the OSR, South Tees was able to calculate a significant return on investment over a three-year period of 394 per cent*. Thornburn says: “Half way through our action plan, devised after the Operations Strategic Review, service availability has improved from around 80 per cent to 95 per cent. There has also been an improvement in call handling and our support desk first-time fix rate has gone up from 8 per cent to 50 per cent.”
- Premier Support provides a range of services. In addition to the risk assessment programme and the OSR, Microsoft Services offers other valuable services that include technology-specific health checks, a workshopPLUS course to transfer technical skills, and advice on deploying and managing technology in the enterprise.
- Reputation for service delivery improves. By working in close business partnership with Microsoft Services, the trust ICT team has now improved its reputation for excellent service delivery.
- Critical situations reduced from eight to one. With greater efficiency and reliability the key performance indicators for IT within the trust have stabilised. “We have cut the number of critical situations from eight to one,” says Thornburn.
- Help with long-term service planning. Microsoft Services is supporting the trust with planning for future upgrades, which may include desktop upgrades, among other projects.
- Business partnership striving for excellence. Thornburn says: “Microsoft Services is helping the trust realise its full potential through the accelerated adoption and productive use of Microsoft technologies. We particularly value the support we receive from our Microsoft Technical Account Manager.”
* Source: The Premier Total Economic Impact (TEI) tool created by Forrester Consulting, based on The Impact of Proactive Services on IT Operations and the Business—a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Microsoft, July 2007
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This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published April 2009