2 page Case Study
Posted: 6/19/2009
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Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Healthcare and Social Services Provider Examines BI Strategy, Plans for Future

Business Needs

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust delivers integrated health and social care to 340,000 people in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland. The trust has 22,000 employees and an annual budget of £1 billion.

* The Assessment and Roadmap for Business Intelligence offering provides us with the reassurance that our BI solution will be built on a solid foundation so that we can comfortably go live and get the most value. *
Paul Duffy, Co-Director of IT, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

The trust was formed in 2007 through the merger of six healthcare trusts in Belfast. Since then, the trust has been in a state of reorganization as it progresses to a centralized model for managing services and operations. During this time, business intelligence (BI) has grown increasingly important, helping to guide and inform the decisions that will ultimately shape the future of the developing trust at both managerial and nonmanagerial levels. For example, doctors and clinicians must be able to gauge how well they are treating patients. People in management, such as service-line leads, must be able to view overall operations to ensure that staffing is at optimal levels and that services are meeting targets.

Through merger, however, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust inherited six disparate, back-end systems for reporting, which were only accessible by the information department. As a result, staff increasingly contacted the information department to pull and consolidate data for reporting. Paul Duffy, Co-Director of IT for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust indicates that this resulted in an unsustainable situation, where the information department “became consumed by the requests coming in from end users.” Says Duffy, “We wanted to strategically free up the information department from day-to-day reporting and move them toward higher-value reporting like answering the ‘what if’ scenarios that would ultimately help shape our future.”


To set a foundation for BI and support a range of other IT initiatives, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust first signed a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement to standardize licensing for Microsoft products and technologies.

“With the software licensed, we needed to find a way to get the maximum benefit out of the investment,” says Duffy. “To do this, we needed to move forward with BI in a way that delivered the services that doctors and support staff need.”

To do so, the trust engaged Microsoft Services for its IT and business consulting expertise. Through the Microsoft Services Assessment and Roadmap for Business Intelligence offering, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust’s information department and IT team worked with Microsoft Services to explore the trust’s current BI capabilities and reporting processes. Explains Duffy, “We assessed all the ways our organization captured and reported on information, and then determined how effective those methods were, given the new requirements we had organizationally. We looked at how to structure data for reporting, assessed the types of tools that would be acceptable to our employees, and explored the accessibility issues that our employees were having.”

Through this approach, the trust collaborated with Microsoft Services to outline a high-level architecture that spanned the BI capabilities of Microsoft products and technologies within the context of the trust’s business requirements, such as:

  • Increasing the availability and accessibility of information.
  • Reducing data storage and data management.
  • Assisting in performance management processes.
  • Assisting in career reporting and analysis.

In the near future, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust’s IT team will use this information to build a proof-of-concept with Microsoft Services that it will present to executives at the trust. This proof-of-concept will use sample data from the trust and address real business requirements. “The demo will span all the capabilities of the Microsoft technologies and be put into a context that we can demonstrate to employee groups to make the solution real and tangible to them,” says Duffy. “For example, one demo will cover how to report on an orthopedic doctor’s outpatient list on a weekly basis.”

After exploring solutions with executives and determining their exacting requirements, the trust will create a forward-looking BI road map with Microsoft Services that will help guide future projects.


The Assessment and Roadmap for Business Intelligence offering has helped the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust take the first crucial steps in laying a foundation for its future BI initiatives. Says Duffy, “As we have gone through the process of merging different organizations, we have found it extremely important to know how we are performing and meeting our targets. We must also have a centralized, cohesive, structured, and strategic way of doing that, and that is exactly what Microsoft Services is helping us achieve.”

Reduce Project Risk with Trusted Expertise

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust can now confidently approach its future BI initiatives with the knowledge it gained from the engagement with Microsoft Services. “The beauty of the engagement is that we had people working with us from different levels of Microsoft Services all at one time—from Microsoft SQL Server®, BI, Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server, and more,” says Duffy. “It created a small center of excellence for us that consisted of the Microsoft experts themselves. Knowing that Microsoft Services is behind us, we are reassured that the way we will architect and deliver our BI solution will be done expediently by using the best tools and knowledge available.”

Discover How to Take BI to the Next Level

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is now exploring ways to make key information for reporting centrally available. Duffy indicates that the organization aims to reduce the time spent on duplicate reporting and improve accessibility to information. “With the Assessment and Roadmap for Business Intelligence, we have a gateway to do higher levels of reporting,” says Duffy. “Having a way to provide real, high-end information analysis lets our information workers replace the time spent on mundane reporting with advanced analysis that will help our organization grow. Our end goal is that we will be able to use this information to run our services at peak performance.”

Align IT Projects to Business Requirements to Optimize Resource Allocation

Through the Assessment and Roadmap Business Intelligence offering, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has gained a comprehensive understanding of the BI capabilities of Microsoft products and technologies within the context of its organization so that it can strategically allocate resources to future projects. “When your organization is undergoing changes, it is important that you make adjustments in the right areas,” says Duffy. “By exploring BI capabilities through the guidance from Microsoft Services, we can ensure that when we deploy solutions in the future, the solutions will provide the most value to our organization.”




Solution Overview

Organization Size: 22000 employees

Organization Profile

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has 22,000 employees and provides health and social care to 340,000 people throughout Northern Ireland.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Services
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • BMC - Business Intelligence
  • BMC - Business Intelligence

Vertical Industries


Business Need
  • Business Intelligence and Reporting
  • Support and Services