Originally published on the Microsoft NHS Resource Centre on 27 May 2010
The objective at Wandsworth was to implement a Customer Relationship Management solution that would enhance stakeholder relationship management and provide a central repository of accurate and up-to-date information.
Established on 1st April 2002, NHS Wandsworth is one of the largest PCTs in the country and is responsible for improving the health of a diverse population of 291,231 people, as well as an additional 71,210 who are registered with Wandsworth GP practices but live outside the borough.
“IMGROUP were extremely knowledgeable and flexible and presented detailed proposals that address our immediate issues, highlighted the problems that we were likely to face, explained how these could be overcome and put forward suggestions that would help us deliver even more improved services.” - Allan Ruan, Web Development Manager, NHS Wandsworth
As a part of its on-going programme of continually striving to improve services and performance, NHS Wandsworth commissioned an independent firm of consultants to review and make recommendations on the way in which the Trust managed its stakeholder relationships.
Improving stakeholder relationship practices
“We were aware that our stakeholder relationship practices could be improved,” explained Allan Ruan, NHS Wandsworth’s Web Development Manager. “Like many PCTs we relied on emails, letters and spreadsheets to manage our relationships and we knew that this method was time-consuming, inefficient and prone to error.”
The consultancy concluded that NHS Wandsworth should implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that would not only streamline and enhance stakeholder relationship management but would also provide a central repository of accurate and up-to-date information. “We had over 100 different, disjointed databases on our network, almost all of which had been built by individual users on their PCs,” continued Allan. “As a result, if we asked four people the same question, we would get four different answers and had no real idea which was correct. A CRM system would allow us to consolidate all of our contact and activity information into a single, centralised and accurate repository.”
Having taken the decision to implement a CRM solution to address both stakeholder relationship management and case management, NHS Wandsworth reviewed a number of alternative solutions but concluded that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 was the preferred option. “We use Microsoft technologies throughout our organisation. Taking a long term view, Dynamics CRM could be integrated easily with most of our other applications, including SharePoint with which we planned to develop internet, intranet and extranet sites,” explained Allan. “We asked Microsoft for a partner that had a strong track record in developing and implementing CRM solutions for the public sector: they recommended IMGROUP.”
Expanding the concept
Initially, Allan Ruan and his team planned to use CRM to track communications with stakeholders and improve the management of engagements and consultations, but rapidly identified other areas in which the CRM system could deliver substantial benefits, including Public and Patient Involvement, Freedom.
Calling in the experts
Although Allan and his colleagues were familiar with some aspects of Dynamics CRM, they did not have the internal skills to develop and implement their desired solution. This initial deployment was very much seen as a pilot and, if it proved successful, Allan hoped that the solution could be rolled out across other departments.
“From our initial meetings with IMGROUP we realised that we had a partner that understood our objectives and which would work with us to achieve those efficiently and cost effectively,” continued Allan.
“IMGROUP were extremely knowledgeable and flexible and presented detailed proposals that address our immediate issues, highlighted the problems that we were likely to face, explained how these could be overcome and put forward suggestions that would help us deliver even more improved services.”
NHS Wandsworth’s CRM solution is now being piloted with an initial 25 users which Allan anticipates will expand to 100 plus as the benefits of the solution become apparent to other departments.
With a single data repository, users can be confident that the information held is the most accurate and up-to-date available; specially developed ‘Alerts’ raise notifications if and when responses and information has not been received within a given time scale, automatically sending reminders to both owner and recipient; and by taking advantage of Dynamics CRM’s multi-tenancy and flexible role-based security features, NHS Wandsworth’s CRM solution delivers extremely high levels of security – something that is of critical concern across the NHS.
“A particular initiative of IMGROUP was to develop an audit capability so that I could see not only who has access to a specific record but who has accessed it and when,” added Allan.
“We asked Microsoft for a partner that had a strong track record in developing and implementing CRM solutions for the public sector: they recommended IMGROUP.”
The partner of choice
NHS Wandsworth’s CRM solution is expected to deliver considerable benefits. With accurate and up-to-date data on hand, staff will become far more productive and not waste time searching for elusive information; communications across stakeholders will become more efficient and planned email integration with Microsoft Outlook will allow emails to be sent and managed from a central location - ensuring that responses are promptly received and fed back directly against the relevant CRM record.
Future plans also include the integration of the CRM with the Trust’s Intranet and Extranets, allowing information to be captured and published online, and bulletin boards established to encourage collaboration and information exchange between stakeholders. The solution will also help NHS Wandsworth improve their performance against the world class commissioning competencies.
“IMGROUP is our partner of choice,” concluded Allan Ruan. “At all times they have been flexible, enthusiastic and realistic in terms of what could be achieved. They delivered our solution on time and to budget.”
Single data repository ensures accurate information
Accurate and up-to-the minute view of contacts and interactions across the PCT
‘Alerts’ when responses have not been received within a given time scale
Multi-level security prevents unauthorised access to information
Audit capability monitors access to individual records
Staff productivity enhanced and information errors virtually eliminated
Integrates with existing applications, including SharePoint for future web presence and collaboration
Solution can be expanded to address the needs of other departments, achieving economies of scale
Efficient and cost effective achievement of objectives through knowledgeable, flexible and experienced partner
Solution delivered on-time and to budget