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Background

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust provides care services across four counties in southern England: Hampshire, Dorset, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

It employs around 9,000 staff working from over 200 sites, including community hospitals, health centres, inpatient units and social care services.

Unified Communications in Healthcare

The Trust recently adopted a strategy to provide Unified Communications (UC) to staff.

This is a common requirement in the Healthcare sector, as Trusts are under increasing pressure to improve services to patients and staff; enhance operational effectiveness; rationalise phone service provision and support; and save costs.

Complex UC Vendor and Delivery Environment

Given the highly complex UC marketplace, and the range of options to meet different organisational and clinical requirements, the Trust required independent expertise to assess and recommend vendors.

They also needed support in the production of a Unified Communications conceptual design which would complement the wider digital transformation strategy.

Unified Communications Strategy Requirements

Southern Health had the following objectives in devising a UC strategy:
  • host UC on the Trust’s own infrastructure
  • provide options for resilient 24*7 UC services
  • where possible, aim to maximise the use of existing equipment, software licences, technical skills and commercial relationships taking the most cost-effective approach
  • give options for a range of end points including conventional desktop phones and soft phones
  • give options for integration with mobile phone services
  • reduce the Trust’s ongoing telephone costs

These requirements reflect the Trust’s need to protect their investment, by ‘sweating’ their current assets.

Southern Health wished to phase technologies in and out according to existing investment profiles and Trust-wide technology roadmaps.

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Why Forfusion?

James McMichael, Forfusion’s Technical Lead for Southern Health, reflects: “The Trust appreciated Forfusion’s considerable knowledge, capability and vendor agnostic approach.”

UC and Collaboration Solution Design Approach

Forfusion’s tried and tested Assess, Design, Integrate and Operate approach laid out the steps required to deliver the clearest, most robust and strategically aligned conceptual design to inform Southern Health’s procurement process.

James explains: “As the deadlines were tight, we instigated two parallel work streams to cover the requirements gathering and conceptual design stages.”

“The tasks were planned to dovetail with one another throughout the process, allowing us to deliver a final recommendation on the back of the Asses and Design phases.”

The steps were as follows:

Assess

A series of workshops and interviews was conducted across a range of disciplines to represent Trust users and system administrators. It included the mediation of different stake-holder interests and the steering of mind-sets to share common goals and objectives.

The information collated was then analysed, sorted and documented into definitive Unified Communications and Collaboration categories (i.e. messaging, mobile duress and telephony), in order that requirements could be easily understood.

Design

Based on the workshop outcomes Forfusion then worked with Southern Health to develop contextual system use case scenarios with priority grading matrices.

This then informed the conceptual design with functional, performance and service level requirements.

Further design workshops took place in order to identify areas of convergence, technology reuse and integration opportunities, and to ensure solution compliance.

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Download Case Study

Download our Case Study to discover how delivered influential Unified Communications Design for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Download

Unified Communications Design Outcome

Forfusion’s input and approach led to the Trust changing direction in respect of solution and vendor.

It was determined that a Cisco Unified Communications solution would best support the Trust’s required outcomes and strategy.

By integrating this fully with Microsoft Skype for Business the Trust could capitalise on current investment as well as safeguard longer term operational and financial commitments.

Client Feedback

Phill Ballad, Southern Health’s Head of ICT Operations, says: "We engaged with Forfusion to help us identify suitable solutions to deliver against our UC Strategy and to make a recommendation on what we should choose as our preferred platform.”

“Forfusion helped us to develop our requirements so that we could proceed to a procurement exercise, evaluating options, identifying solutions and then making recommendations based on our sites, existing legacy stand-alone solutions and the need to deliver in a phased approach.”

“Forfusion delivered against a tight timeframe in a very professional manner and provided all necessary documentation. The outcome was a recommendation we could accept without hesitation.”

“Altogether Forfusion made this into a simple process in what is a complex delivery environment."

 

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