After taking on the management of healthcare services in mid and eastern Devon, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust’s IT team wanted to ensure it could effectively manage more than 3,000 workstations, but software conflicts were reducing efficiency. The Trust implemented Application Virtualization, enabling applications to be deployed in self-contained packages containing the optimal runtime and application frameworks, cutting the time required to manage incompatibility by 30 percent.
About Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (the Trust) offers both acute services, centered on North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) in Barnstaple, and community services, across a network of 17 community hospitals and nine clusters. At any one time, the Trust supports 6,000 patients in their own homes and 600 people in hospital beds. It employs more than 4,300 staff and serves a population of nearly 500,000 with a budget of £209 million.
After a merger with community services for mid- and eastern Devon increased the Trust’s community catchment population, the Trust’s IT team became responsible for a total of 1,500 additional employees and the supporting clinical and clerical applications.
Geoff Smith, the Trust’s IT Strategy and Development Manager, said: “We are now responsible for installing and managing a large number of third-party applications across more than 3,000 workstations. The scale is not the only challenge—most of the third-party applications we install require different software runtimes or application frameworks, which can cause compatibility issues, in turn creating a large development and maintenance workload for the Trust’s IT team.”
The IT team found that time required to manage software conflicts was reducing their ability to deliver effective technical support services to a larger number of users.
To reduce application conflicts, shrink development cycles and enable the Trust to rapidly roll out new applications to users across the Trust, the organization deployed Application Virtualization.
“We are extremely satisfied with the automation and control we get from Application Virtualization,” said Geoff Smith.
“Today, we can package a single application and all of its dependencies, such as specific versions of a runtime, into a single executable. By investing a little time at the beginning of the process to set up the application package, we can make dramatic time savings later on in the process. For example, if we have an application that needs to go out to 1,000 users, then reducing the number of steps required to deploy it has a significant impact.”
The Trust now uses Application Virtualization to isolate its third-party applications, reducing issues arising from conflicts.
“The ability to bundle the right versions of software packages into a single, contained application image is extremely beneficial,” said Geoff Smith. “Using Application Virtualization, we have reduced the time we spend addressing software compatibility issues across all of our teams—from the service desk to our desktop and server engineers. Overall, we estimate that the Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) solution has reduced our development and maintenance requirements by 30 percent.”
Our solution has also enabled the Trust to achieve its objective of accelerating the deployment of new applications.
“In the past, it would often take us weeks of development time to get a new application up and running,” said Geoff Smith. “Today, because everything is packaged up with Application Virtualization, we can roll out new applications for our business users in a matter of days.”
Thanks to Application Virtualization, the Trust has gained the ability to meet the challenges of an expanded user base.
“The Novell solution enables us to reduce the workload required to develop and deploy new applications,” said Geoff Smith. “We are now reinvesting the time that Application Virtualization saves us to provide more efficient and effective technical support to a much larger number of users, reducing the impact of change as healthcare services in mid- and eastern Devon are merged into the Trust.”