About Bromley Primary Care Trust
Bromley Primary Care Trust (PCT) provides primary care services for the London Borough of Bromley. The trust is responsible for overseeing the operations and finances of 54 doctors' surgeries in the borough, and its performance is assessed annually by the Care Quality Commission. Bromley PCT employs 1,200 people.
To provide effective primary care to the local community, Bromley's 54 NHS doctors' surgeries rely on their IT systems. Each surgery houses a number of PCs and local servers, which are managed centrally by the IT team at Bromley PCT.
"We didn't have any means of managing these machines remotely, so if we needed to roll out a software update or take an audit of our infrastructure, we had to visit every surgery personally," said Paul Stebles, GP Service Delivery Manager at Bromley PCT. "With more than 800 PCs across the borough, this was extremely laborious; even a simple update could take up to three months to deploy."
To maintain security, the IT team configured all PCs to download Microsoft Windows updates automatically—but this caused further problems, as an update to Internet Explorer caused conflicts with other applications. The PCT began looking for a system which would enable remote management of all PCs and give the IT team greater control over the infrastructure.
IT staff at Bromley PCT evaluated several solutions, and were impressed by a presentation from Novell.
"As a new customer to ZENworks, the immediate appeal of Novell ZENworks® Configuration Management was that it could give us a comprehensive range of IT management functionalities in a single solution," said Stebles. "Our top priority was to find a solution that could help us with software deployment and remote support, but on the long term, we liked the idea of having a single point of control for inventory and user management too. As a result, we picked Novell ZENworks Configuration Management over other vendors like Specops."
Novell and the NHS have an Enterprise Licence Agreement, which enabled Bromley PCT to obtain the software using central funding—so there was no impact on the Trust's own budget.
"The Enterprise Licence Agreement makes it easy for NHS Trusts like ours to benefit from Novell software without worrying too much about budget issues," said Stebles. "The solution and training are centrally funded, so at a local level we only had to pay for the implementation and support services."
The IT team worked with b2Lateral, a Novell Platinum PartnerSM, to design and implement the solution.
"The b2Lateral consultants were highly knowledgeable and professional, giving us excellent technical support throughout the project," said Stebles. "We were also impressed by the quality of the documentation they created we still find it a huge help in terms of day-to-day management of the solution."
Novell ZENworks Configuration Management enables the IT team to get a full, real-time view of all PCs on the network, which makes it easy to see the hardware configuration of each machine and find out what software is installed.
"The first step in effective IT management is to understand what you're actually managing," said Stebles. "Instead of annual audits, we now have real-time inventory information, so we can plan the deployment of new software and updates much more efficiently. It also gives us a much more accurate picture of how many licences we need to buy for each of our applications."
With Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, the Bromley PCT IT team can easily and securely take remote control of any PC on the wide area network, which enables them to resolve most common problems without needing to physically visit the machine.
"Our users are happy because when they call up with a problem, they don't have to wait for us to drive out to their surgery to fix their machine," said Stebles. "We can get them back online more quickly, which helps them work more productively. Of course, it also makes life much easier for the IT team too, and will potentially deliver considerable savings in terms of travel expenses."
The ability to deploy software remotely should also deliver very significant time and cost savings. Instead of visiting every PC to install software manually, the IT team will simply be able to push out software updates across the network and install them automatically. The IT team calculates that it will now be able to complete deployments that used to take up to three months in less than a week.
"Besides the time-savings, the implications for security are significant," said Stebles. "With Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, we can select and test each security update before deciding whether to roll it out. This gives us much more control over our infrastructure and helps keep confidential patient data safe. Ultimately, a more secure and reliable IT infrastructure will help us deliver a better service to the doctors and citizens of Bromley."