About Kent and Medway Health Informatics Service
Kent and Medway Health Informatics Service (KMHIS) provides IT services to NHS organisations across Kent, including major acute trusts, commissioner and provider organisations, and GPs. Headquartered in Maidstone, the organisation supports a user base in excess of 30,000 and employs over 250 people.
Kent and Medway Health Informatics Service (KMHIS) faced the challenge of managing the diverse IT needs of its 30,000-strong user base.
“With no centralised desktop management solution, our desktop engineers had to travel to each site in turn to manually install new software and application upgrades” said Debbie Hawkes, Operations Director, KMHIS. “We recognised that by automating this process we could not only benefit from standardisation, but could also introduce savings for our clients as well as support the NHS Green IT agenda.”
To ensure continuity of patient care, desktop engineers at KMHIS were often under pressure to deploy software within very short timeframes. There was also a lack of consistency in software deployments between the different NHS Trusts. This meant that engineers required specialist knowledge of each Trust’s IT environment to overcome the risk of application conflicts.
To facilitate automated desktop management, KMHIS chose to implement Novell ZENworks Configuration Management.
“Novell ZENworks Configuration Management was the natural choice since it is so widely used across the NHS, but we also considered a number of alternatives,” said Hawkes. “Our research showed that the Novell solution provided a comparable or better service, at a more attractive price.”
KMHIS worked closely with the Novell UK team in the design, review and implementation of the solution. “We decided to roll out the Novell ZENworks solution on a Trust-by-Trust basis, starting with Kent and Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust, one of our largest and most geographically spread trusts,” said Hawkes. “The technical support we received from Novell was superb—when a technical issue arose with our back-end servers, a Novell expert helped us successfully resolve the problem quickly and efficiently. With their help we are well on our way to completing a complex rollout to a total of 15,000 user devices.”
KMHIS now employs a small team of Novell ZENworks Configuration Management experts to build software packages which can be deployed overnight to multiple locations from a central point.
“Novell ZENworks Configuration Management really came into its own when the deadline for installing a time-critical NHS national application was brought forward at the last minute,” said Hawkes. “With the Novell software we were able to roll out the solution overnight without breaking a sweat—something which simply would not have been possible before.”
KMHIS also deployed Novell ZENworks Asset Management, offering a complete view of IT assets on demand. “We now have insight into our technology assets like never before, allowing us to easily keep track of what is deployed at every location,” said Hawkes.
By enabling remote management of desktops Novell ZENworks Configuration Management has drastically reduced the time spent by engineers on the road, resulting in improved productivity and reduced CO2 emissions.
“As a direct result of deploying the Novell solution we are now on the way to reaching our target of reducing the amount of time spent on desktop management-related tasks by 20 percent in a year,” said Hawkes. “Instead, the engineers’ time can be spent on higher-value tasks, working on further improving services to our users.”
The organisation’s user base enjoys greater continuity of service as a result of the project. “By introducing standardisation we are able to provide a more consistent level of service to our users, and can respond much quicker if there are any issues,” said Hawkes. “Rather than waiting for an engineer to drive out and fix the problem onsite, we can remotely access desktops and attempt to fix the issue that way. Current pressures in the NHS demand that we become as efficient as possible—we view Novell ZENworks Configuration Management as a key enabler in helping us to achieve this.”