NEWS: The NHS goes shopping for good deals at Government CloudStore

30th May 2012
NHS Staff working Image In support of the development of Central Southern CSS (Commissioning Support Services) the NHS Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Cluster becomes one of the first NHS bodies to purchase cloud-based services from the new Government CloudStore. This new procurement framework was used to purchase INOVEM Collaborate to help them manage and improve team communications amongst other NHS clusters and with clinical commissioning groups spread across 5 counties.

With evolving NHS commissioning support structures at local and regional levels it has become essential for project managers and team leaders to find cost effective ways to coordinate group communications, ensuring everyone is properly involved, irrespective of where they are located.

Andrew Fenton, NHS Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire's Chief Information Officer, who is assisting the creation of the CSS commented: "As a result of the NHS reforms, we needed to find a quick and cost effective way to securely share information between groups in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Swindon, with the option to provide and support public involvement in the future. Unfortunately, there was no existing single IT infrastructure that would allow us to do this. Realising that we only needed to support a few hundred key personnel at first, we decided to opt for a flexible pay-as-you-go cloud-based collaboration service that would enable us to scale up, avoiding the typical upfront capital expenditure normally associated with IT procurement projects.


Andrew continued, "The availability of the Government CloudStore via the Cabinet Office's G-Cloud programme, is timely for us, and the rest of the NHS. We used the CloudStore to identify potential suppliers and to evaluate likely costs for support services and user licenses. Of those suppliers we looked at, INOVEM's cloud collaboration software appeared well suited to our needs because they have a single solution supporting both private secure workspaces and public web communities. The G-Cloud team encourage public sector use of try-before-you-buy trials, and we used our pilot of INOVEM Collaborate to successfully support work planning on Oxfordshire's Summary Care Record roll-out and to facilitate a partnership to shape Buckinghamshire's IMT (Information Management & Technology) strategy. User feedback was very positive. Compared to other software we have used, we found INOVEM Collaborate very easy to use. We particularly liked the way that individual workspaces can be customised, without external assistance, allowing us to control the layout and purpose of each workspace and provide helpful context for our members"


"When you consider that it is costing us less than £3.50 per user per month for Enterprise level team collaboration software, this was a very straight-forward procurement decision to make. Ordering via the G-Cloud framework was also quick and simple which was, in itself, refreshing." Andrew added, "We have now white-labelled the site as "Health Connect" to further encourage a sense of ownership amongst our staff and external stakeholders."

This award is also INOVEM's first G-Cloud contract. John Glover, INOVEM's Sales & Marketing Director remarked: "You should be under no illusions, for SME's (Small and Medium Enterprises) like INOVEM the G-Cloud framework really works. After 9 years of supporting the public sector we are already seeing a marked increase in interest in our online collaboration software and the G-Cloud team should be congratulated for their vision and the bold move they have made to encourage innovation and competition in the public sector technology market."

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