Investing in primary patient care was the key objective for NHS Property Services and required a change in mindset. Executing a robust digital transformation strategy was essential to improving services and accelerating business growth.
The initial challenge was to implement new business initiatives without increasing employee headcount and operational costs.
To execute at pace and ensure solutions were designed to be future-proof, NHS Property Services adopted a cloud approach using the Microsoft Azure platform, using the QuickConnect Integration-Platform-As-A-Service (iPaaS) accelerator to design, develop, implement and manage the solution.
The QuickConnect iPaaS, comprised of: Azure Service Bus, API Management, Azure Functions, Azure Logic Apps, Azure Storage, Azure Redis Cache, Azure Event Hubs, Azure App Service.
A greater level of operational efficiency
Improved systems for generating new revenue streams
Automating invoice processes to reduce loss of revenue
Future proof architecture that supports ongoing digital transformation
NHS Property Services was formed in 2013 following the merger of property services departments from 161 NHS Primary Care Trusts across England. Today, the NHS Property Services portfolio consists of 3,500 buildings worth over £3 billion. The primary objective is to reduce cost, create a fit for purpose property estate and generate vital revenue for reinvestment in frontline patient care. Like any complex business merger, progress hadn’t always been easy. In particular, NHS Property Services had to face the considerable challenge of managing and integrating technology systems from hundreds of different organisations.
"We had a large number of disparate, unconnected applications and no ‘master’ of data for areas like finance, e-billing, capital works, facilities management or credit control," says Kevin Canning, Solutions Architect for Technical Services in NHS Property Services.
"It was difficult to perform even basic functions. For example, we couldn’t invoice for rented properties consistently, and we couldn’t take on more properties into our portfolio. We were losing revenue as a result."
Many of the systems were provided by Commissioning Support Units within different areas across the NHS estate, which meant that NHS Property Services had no control over how systems were managed or interfaced with each other. NHS Property Services decided to change strategic direction. Break away from legacy vendor relationships and run independently from all NHS systems.
NHS Property Services chose a best of breed and integrated approach to its new systems transformation strategy, utilising Microsoft Azure for the integration platform.
“Our vision was to replace legacy systems with best of breed SaaS based applications,” says Kevin. “We knew this would provide the most comprehensive functionality across lines of business. We also wanted integration to help us replace manual processes and achieve consistency and efficiency in the way we operate.” However, Kevin and his team knew that it wasn’t going to be enough to simply roll out a standalone set of line of business applications. They needed to ensure that the applications would work seamlessly together.
Solidsoft Reply enabled NHS Property Services to realise the vision through the implementation of an application integration framework built on Microsoft Azure.
Solidsoft Reply, in partnership with NHS Property Services has delivered a flexible, high-performance architecture allowing the new SaaS applications to share data freely and seamlessly via one centralised integration layer, using the Azure Service Bus.
As a result, applications like credit control, purchasing and facilities management can all work together seamlessly. As an example, in the month of January 2018, the integration layer handled 103,370 data transactions between these systems via 17 distinct data exchanges.
According to Kevin, the key to success has been the partnership between NHS Property Services and Solidsoft Reply.
“We were undergoing a major transformation, so our choice and approach had to be right,” he says. “We needed a partner, not just a solution provider, and that’s exactly what Solidsoft Reply has proven to be.”
Ongoing customer satisfaction is imperative for a partnership to thrive and it was key to ensure that NHS Property Services had the appropriate level of support for current and future services.
Solidsoft Reply continues to manage all integration incidents on behalf of NHS Property services through to resolution.
NHS Property Services
NHS Property Services is a private company that provides property and facilities management services to 10% of the NHS estate. Formed in 2013, NHS Property Services is tasked with both modernising and generating income from NHS property to improve frontline patient care.
Solidsoft Reply helps customers succeed through its expertise in designing and implementing innovative solutions. A global award winning Microsoft Gold certified partner, we specialise in: System Integration using Microsoft technologies on-premises, hybrid and in the cloud; cloud based application development; and managed services for on-premises, hybrid and cloud IT investments.
Cluster Reply is the Reply Group company specialising in consulting and system integration of Microsoft technologies. As a Microsoft partner, Cluster Reply is active in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and works within the Reply network with sister companies in Brazil, Great Britain, Italy as well as the USA. The company focuses on innovation and supports customers in their digital transformation. The solutions range from on-premises to cloud applications in the areas of modern workplace and security, business applications, applications and infrastructure as well as data and artificial intelligence.