With minimum staff levels, the IT department at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust was hard-pressed to securely manage its large heterogeneous IT infrastructure. The Trust decided to update its Micro Focus ZENworks® environment, adding ZENworks Asset Management, and implemented Micro Focus Identity Manager, achieving economic savings, an accurate picture of the software and hardware assets in the estate, and a significant reduction in the administrative workload of IT staff.
“When we compare ourselves to other NHS Trusts who use alternative solutions, the headcount in our IT department is significantly lower. Novell (now part of Micro Focus) technologies are fundamental to the way we work and allow us to be streamlined and efficient, yet still deliver a high-quality service.”
Head of ICT
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust offers a wide range of health and social care services in southeast London, specializing in community health, mental health and learning disability services. The trust has a workforce of approximately 2,500 people and an additional 1,500 non-staff operating across almost 100 sites.
The management of 3,000 PCs and 4,000 user accounts across disparate locations in southeast London was posing considerable logistical challenges for the small IT team at the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.
The Trust’s users often needed to receive swift software updates to continue their work of providing care. However it was unfeasible and costly for the IT staff to travel between sites to manually deliver software updates at the required speed.
Moreover, IT staff were relying on entirely manual processes to manage all user accounts. To adjust user settings and remove old user accounts, IT staff had to carry out regular audits and review every account individually— a time-consuming task equating to an IT technician’s full-time role.
The Trust’s IT department also had major concerns with regard to data security. “It could take up to two months for an old user account to be identified and removed, creating an unacceptable data security risk,” said Tristan David, Head of ICT, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust worked with Sector IT Solutions, a Partner, to upgrade from ZENworks Desktop Management to the latest version of ZENworks. This included both ZENworks Configuration Management and ZENworks Asset Management.
“Sector IT has been a trusted partner for around 15 years now; we really value the open relationship between our two organizations,” said Tristan. “Essentially, they are responsible for providing us with a reliable technology platform, enabling my team to focus on delivering specialist applications and services to the Trust’s users."
Sector IT provides expert support for the entire Micro Focus software landscape at the Trust, in addition to support for VMware, Microsoft and network services. Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust owns the hardware and software licenses, and Sector IT is then responsible for ensuring that the complete environment meets the Trust’s business needs.
“We have extensive previous experience of working in NHS Trusts, so we have an excellent understanding of the challenges,” said Christian Seal, Managing Director, Sector IT Solutions. “While we look after the underlying services, the Trust’s team is free to concentrate on end-user support. We have a close working relationship with Oxleas, and we always look to add value above and beyond the terms of the contract; we genuinely manage the systems as if they were our own.”
In addition to improving the speed and efficiency of support, ZENworks has given the Trust improved asset management capabilities. “The new version of ZENworks gives us an automatic inventory that is far better than our previous manual register of assets,” said Tristan. “ZENworks Asset Management will also enable us to identify which software licenses are not being utilized and pool them for re-distribution.”
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust is in the process of implementing Identity Manager to automate the management of user accounts.
Identity Manager will provide the IT team with the quick turnaround they require to improve data security levels. “Identity Manager can review access rights to file systems, meaning that users who move posts will have their user rights changed immediately to correspond with their new positions,” said Tristan.
ZENworks has enabled significant financial savings at the Trust. “Without ZENworks, we would need to employ a larger team of IT technicians,” said Tristan. “This was particularly clear during a recent clinical system update. We estimated that it would have taken 360 hours to manually carry out the necessary reconfigurations. With ZENworks, we reduced this to just 37 hours of designing and testing, saving around £7,400 in IT staff time alone.”
The accelerated process of delivering software updates with ZENworks has been well-received by users at the Trust. “ZENworks has improved our users’ ability to deliver care by providing them with the updates they need in a matter of minutes,” said Tristan.
By automatically reviewing users’ access rights and highlighting user accounts for deletion, Identity Manager will significantly reduce the administrative workload of IT technicians at the Trust and minimize risks of data security breaches.
Overall, the use of Micro Focus technologies has enabled the IT department at the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust to continue offering a high-quality service with minimal staff levels. “When we compare ourselves to NHS Trusts who use alternative solutions, the headcount in our IT department is significantly lower,” said Tristan. “Novell (now part of Micro Focus) technologies are fundamental to the way we work and allow us to be streamlined and efficient, yet still deliver a high-quality service.”