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Posted: 12/15/2011
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Partezis IT Services Firm Migrates from Oracle to Support Business Growth and Lower TCO

Partezis wanted to expand its business opportunities and boost availability for its customers’ critical back-office applications. The company implemented a hosted solution based on Microsoft database software. Partezis is now better positioned to increase its business and can meet customer availability needs. It has also lowered maintenance and licensing fees, and its IT employees are more efficient.

Business Needs

Partezis provides IT solutions and systems management services to more than 50 hospitals throughout Belgium. For the past several years, it has helped manage on-premises SAP-based financial and logistics applications that are powered by Oracle database software. The company wanted to increase availability for these systems to better meet service-level agreements.

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* Delivering a hosted solution based on SQL Server 2008 R2 is extremely innovative in this marketplace, and it will definitely help us increase our business.  *

Wouter Hanson
Business Development and Operations Manager
Partezis

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“We support mission-critical back-office applications that handle everything from processing patient invoices to managing stock replenishment of nursing wards,” says Wouter Hanson, Business Development and Operations Manager, Partezis. “If a hospital’s payment- processing system is down, that could mean the loss of many thousands of dollars daily. And if nursing stocks and deliveries aren’t properly controlled, that could affect the delivery of care to patients.”

Partezis also had to respond to customer demands for more maintenance help. “Many of the hospitals had issues maintaining and upgrading the complex SAP on-premises applications,” says Hanson. Customers also wanted Partezis to add new functionality faster.

Finding a solution to these challenges was urgent because Partezis wanted to expand its business by rolling out new solutions to hospitals. To meet these goals, Partezis decided to implement a software as a service (SaaS) model that would use a single, centralized database system. However, Partezis did not receive full support for the project from all of its partners. “Of all the database providers we contacted, including Oracle as an existing supplier, only Microsoft was going to engage in support for the SaaS model,” Hanson says. “Additionally, we knew that switching to SaaS would represent a cost reduction of almost 65 percent in terms of database license and maintenance fees.”

In early 2010, Partezis began to evaluate new cost-effective technology to support its planned SaaS solution.

Solution

Although Partezis considered implementing its new environment on IBM DB2 database software, the company instead opted to migrate to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 data management software for two reasons: Partezis had used Microsoft technologies internally and many healthcare organizations were already using the technology. “We had a long relationship with Microsoft, and the support had been great,” says Hanson. Additionally, Partezis was confident that Microsoft could meet the tight timeline required for migration. He says, “We wanted to migrate each of the databases in less than 18 hours, and Microsoft testing showed us how that could be done.”

Partezis was interested in SQL Server 2008 R2 because of its failover clustering and other high-availability features, as well as its support of large databases. “All of the hospital databases total about 12 terabytes of data, and we expect that to grow, so we needed the right technology to support that growth,” Hanson says.

In October 2010, Partezis worked with NRB—a Belgian Microsoft partner with expertise in infrastructure management—to migrate data from Oracle to SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, running on the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise operating system. Using a SaaS model, they deployed the new private-cloud solution on Fujitsu PRIMERGY RX600 S5 server computers at a data center in Herstal, Belgium. This centralized system, hosted by NRB and used by 2,500 people, supports back-office SAP hospital applications, including purchasing, financials, inventory and warehouse management, and maintenance and quality management. By the first quarter of 2012, the solution will support applications at all 52 hospitals. The upgrade to SQL Server 2008 R2 is planned for June 2012.

Benefits

With SQL Server 2008 R2, Partezis will increase its business and can offer hospital customers a highly available hosted solution. The company will also lower operating costs and give employees more control over IT administration.

Provides Innovative Solution to Support Business Growth

Using a new centralized database solution based on SQL Server 2008 R2, Partezis is better positioned to meet customer demands and expand business opportunities. “Delivering a hosted solution based on SQL Server 2008 R2 is extremely innovative in this marketplace, and it will definitely help us increase our business,” says Hanson. “Once this solution is rolled out, we expect interest from additional hospitals in Belgium, because we can show them they don’t have to invest in up-front infrastructure costs to receive a lot of functionality.”

Increases Application Availability

The new solution takes advantage of high-availability features in SQL Server 2008 R2, such as failover clustering, to offer hospitals greater business continuity. As a result, Partezis can ensure that hospitals have continuous access to their mission-critical financial and logistics data. “For our hospital customers, system downtime is not acceptable. With the high-availability features in SQL Server 2008 R2, we will more easily meet our service level agreements for availability, something we were challenged by before,” says Hanson. “We have already seen improvements in availability for the hospitals using the new solution, and we expect that to be the case for all hospitals going forward.”

Lowers Total Cost of Ownership

By migrating from Oracle to SQL Server 2008 and offering a SaaS solution, Partezis has reduced operational risks and saves money. “Microsoft offers a very flexible and cost-effective pricing approach when it comes to maintenance and licensing fees,” says Hanson. “Reducing costs was necessary to keep total cost of ownership for our customers at a similar level.”

Provides More Administrative Control

Partezis IT staff members now have a database solution that is easy to deploy and simple to manage, and it gives them complete control over hospital database IT administration. “Previously, 35 percent of our time was spent duplicating our administrative efforts on the separate systems,” says Hanson. “Now, with a hosted solution, we have freed up that time, and we can be more proactive in terms of maintenance, upgrades, and system monitoring. We are more efficient and can respond much faster to our customers.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 120 employees

Organization Profile

Based in Heverlee, Belgium, Partezis, part of xperthis holding, offers enterprise IT solutions and services to hospitals and other healthcare organizations across Belgium.


Hardware
  • Fujitsu PRIMERGY RX600 S5 server computers

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

Vertical Industries
IT Services

Country/Region
Belgium

Business Need
  • Data Management
  • Business Critical
  • Mission Critical

IT Issue
  • High Availability
  • Data Warehousing

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Microsoft Services NRB

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