NHS (National Health Service) Arden and GEM (AGEM) Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) provides a range of services to NHS England (NHSE) and is one of the largest CSUs in the country. They act as a valued and trusted partner for commissioners, local authorities, and providers to tackle the challenges they face in building integrated, high‐quality, and cost‐effective services that lead to better health outcomes for all.
AGEM’s small IT team had limited resources to migrate from SharePoint 2010 to Office 365 to help meet their cloud-first goal for themselves and their customers, including 60 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHSE, provider trusts, and local authorities.
They looked to Quest and Metalogix to help them with the migration from a disparate legacy position to one integrated, intelligent solution based on Office 365.
With a three-person IT team, AGEM is responsible for managing 1,500 users across a wide geography. As part of their scope, they look for economies of scale across the board.
In 2013, AGEM outlined a for themselves and their customers ahead of the UK Government’s cloud-first policy. They began their journey facing an , which resulted in both duplication and wasted effort. They knew they had no time to waste if they wanted to reduce the number of system silos and improve the team’s ability to support end users.
The IT team wanted to migrate SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 to to take advantage of its flexibility and scalability. They chose Office 365 as the platform because the suite of tools offers them a “Swiss Army knife.” It provides a scalable, flexible, and robust solution with features and functionality that are continually developed. In addition, AGEM liked that a user has a familiar experience flows across tools – aiding in end-user adoption.
With their team’s limited resources, they manually began the process of moving from a disparate legacy position to one integrated, intelligent solution. However, this process presented a significant risk of human error as the team members manually moved content between systems. It also consumed most of the team’s daily workload and kept the team from focusing on their other core duties.
One of the first tasks for AGEM was finding a solution that could remove the manual processes and also prove that they could accurately and seamlessly migrate their local legacy SharePoint farm, including financial management accounts. It was important that they would be able to show, through any future audit, that the information wasn’t altered in any way and was secure.
“Prior to our engagement with Metalogix [part of Quest], we were stuck in manual processes and dealing with the shortfalls of the out-of‐the‐box option to perform the work,” said Chris Reynolds, Head of Innovation and Product Development. “This meant, we were not able to granularly restore a document or library easily and with the confidence it would be done correctly.”
“When we started looking at Metalogix, we were blown away at how seamlessly we could make the migration happen,” said Reynolds. Metalogix actively engaged with AGEM and spent the time listening to what they were trying to achieve and how they wanted to get there. Metalogix took that knowledge and then presented their solution, Essentials for Office 365, and showed AGEM a roadmap to success.
“Metalogix showed us how they could help us get to our goal instead of just trying to sell us licenses and not giving us a plan like some of their competitors,” acknowledged Reynolds. “And then, it changed our whole approach.”
AGEM started moving small amounts of data at first to ensure that they were complying with all of NHS when moving sensitive financial content from on‐premises data to the cloud. They were thrilled that they could maintain version control, and that they were able to see the content on premises and in the cloud. That made them comfortable knowing they were ready at any time for any type of audit.
Additionally, AGEM was able to leverage the automation of the tool, giving them the tactical ability to focus on other parts of the business. With Metalogix, they were able to get so much more accomplished and lowered their stress levels because they no longer faced manual processes or had to worry about human error.
Metalogix also provided AGEM with training and support through Metalogix Academy to help them get up and running more quickly. For example, they had special characters that they used including a padlock symbol that didn’t display correctly in the Metalogix interface. The support team fixed this in the next weekly update.
“We were able to see a return on our investment right away by cutting down significantly on the man hours needed for the migration and we no longer worry about the risks involved with user mistakes,” said Reynolds.
Now that AGEM is using Office 365, they are proactively using SharePoint and are building out the services they use. The adoption of Microsoft Teams is integrating the user experience across the tool suite and has created a step change in their method of working. It allows them to effectively work as multi-disciplinary teams with customers and their supply chain, reducing delays and improving the service delivered.
They also use dedicated Power BI nodes to provide data driven insights integrating multiple desperate data sources. This work has covered patient pathways, workforce, finance and incident management. It has helped AGEM make the unknowns known and surface critical key information.
Furthermore, with Microsoft Forms and Power Automate, they are using decision trees and alerts to empower their end users with information they need at the right time.
“We want everyone to look at us for best practices. With the continued support and help of Metalogix, we know we will be able to wrap all of this up into a service to help our customers and other business units of NHS,” said Reynolds.
“If I didn’t have Metalogix, I would not be able to do what I have been able to do. The financial data we moved would still be sitting on a server that was barely working. If I would have had to move that amount of data with the number of folders and substructures, two of us would have work for a month.”
“The right tool pays for itself in weeks. You don’t need people to sit and turn the handle to make sure it is working. Metalogix has an incredible flexibility to evolve with ever-changing space and we know that Metalogix can deliver time and time again and we can always see the audit. We have trust and faith,” said Reynolds.
As they continue their journey to the cloud, AGEM is looking to the future and is investing in a customer-facing Office 365 team to deploy solutions for customers so they can get up and working quickly.
They want to leverage their experience with Metalogix and wrap it up as a service for their customers. They can now rationalize data, find the rubbish, which they are , and move over only what is needed. The AGEM Office 365 team has become more agile and able to respond to the things in a more efficient and effective way allowing them to focus on their core role.
“We are now looking at many other ways we can utilize Metalogix solutions. We are spreading the word and want other people to get the same return on investment that we have,” said Reynolds. “I really believe in Essentials for Office 365. It worked well and is still working well.”
By using the Microsoft 365 suite of tools, AGEM is able to effectively collaborate and deliver services across a dispersed geography.
Using Teams technical specialists can be leveraged when they are needed at the point of best return.
By using the Microsoft 365 suite of tools, AGEM is able to effectively collaborate and deliver services across a dispersed geography."
- Chris Reynolds
Head of Innovation and Product Development
NHS Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit