As one of the largest mental healthcare institutes in the Netherlands, Arkin provides treatment for psychiatric and addiction problems to approximately 35,000 people annually. The company delivers healthcare services under eight different brands, and reported a turnover of around €200 million in 2010.
Arkin operates a large healthcare network, and employs some 3,600 people at approximately 80 locations throughout the Netherlands. The company must maintain high levels of organisational efficiency and security at all times, in order to deliver the best-quality care to patients.
“Without IT, we would simply not be able to offer proper care for our patients,” said Aart van de Beek, IT Manager at Arkin. “It is absolutely essential for us to ensure that our systems run as efficiently and reliably as possible. We need to guarantee that large volumes of patient data are kept secure, and that our mobile workforce can quickly and reliably access this information from wherever they are working.” Arkin has been using Novell software for more than a decade to support high-quality healthcare care at a low cost. The company has recently undertaken a project aimed at refreshing its IT infrastructure in an effort to react more flexibly to changing business conditions.
Following extensive comparison with functionally equivalent Microsoft solutions, Arkin concluded that Novell technology continued to represent the best option for its needs. The company chose to upgrade a number of its existing Novell solutions, and signed a three year maintenance and support agreement.
“In our experience, Novell products have always delivered very high levels of reliability and scalability at an extremely competitive price,” said van de Beek. “As Novell solutions are multiplatform, we are not locked in to a specific hardware type if we want to launch a new initiative, and we can easily integrate new systems following mergers or acquisitions.” Currently, Arkin is working with Novell Business Partner, TDMi, to make the transition to the latest versions of several Novell solutions.
“TDMi is a trusted partner, with whom we have been working for many years,” said van de Beek. “The team has a deep knowledge of Novell technology and, with TDMi’s support, we expect the implementation to go very smoothly.”
Arkin plans to migrate from its existing Novell NetWare® operating system to Novell Open Enterprise Server, which will run on SUSE Linux in a fully virtualised environment. The solution provides a stable platform for the delivery of shared network services and offers streamlined management at a low total cost of ownership. It also enables Arkin to benefit from the openness and flexibility of Linux while continuing to use tried-and-trusted NetWare administration tools. The company is also in the process of upgrading its Novell GroupWise collaboration software. The solution is easy-to-use, and provides seamless integration with other company systems, as well as highly cost-effective management.
“Novell GroupWise offers excellent value for money, and has far less demanding hardware and memory requirements than the equivalent solutions from Microsoft,” said van de Beek. “With GroupWise, we can support thousands of users on just three mail servers, whereas we would need at least 240 comparable servers if we were using a competing option.”
To provide effective management for its extensive desktop environment, Arkin has been using Novell ZENworks Configuration Management for several years. A centralised interface delivers streamlined management, making it easy for IT staff to distribute applications, patches and operating system updates.
Arkin is still in the process of upgrading its Novell software, but the company is confident that the new solution will deliver the high levels of flexibility and stability that it needs to maintain operational efficiency.
“We have come to expect a very high standard from Novell, and we are sure that we will see even greater benefits once we have moved to the latest version of our existing Novell software and take advantage of new functionalities,” said van de Beek.
The Novell solutions will also play an important role in keeping costs and complexity low when it comes to managing Arkin’s large IT environment.
“With Novell solutions supporting standardised, streamlined management, IT staff will be able to spend less time on routine work and focus on higher-value tasks, which help us to deliver better service to our users,” said van de Beek. “We will also be able to work much more cost-effectively by using existing resources to their full potential. This is very important for us as we face increasing cost pressures year on year.”
Flexible Novell software will provide Arkin with a future-proof computing environment, allowing the company to approach situations like expanding to new locations or connecting to new organisations with confidence.
“This upgrade project will ensure that we are getting the most out of our Novell solutions,” said van de Beek. “With the support of robust, scalable Novell platforms, we will be able to guarantee that Arkin continues to offer top-quality patient care in the future.”