Informatics Merseyside is hoping to deliver a minimum 15% saving on IT spend for its customers after signing a framework agreement with cloud computing provider SCC.
Dympna Wilson, head of service delivery for Informatics Merseyside, told the recent iLinks conference that SCC was named as the preferred bidder for the service last November. A framework contract was signed in May.
Customers of the health informatics service – which include Aintree University Hospitals and Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS foundation trusts and Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group - have signed up to the framework arrangement.
When individual customers want to move to the cloud service, they will sign a call-off contract.
Wilson said it was costly to maintain 14 local data centres across the Informatics Merseyside patch, and the need to cut budgets while providing transparency about costs had been a driver for change.
The new model means organisations pay only for the storage space they use. Business cases for projects so far are showing a minimum reduction in IT costs of 15% when services are moved to the cloud.
However, Wilson explained that the HIS also wanted a flexible infrastructure that could be adapted quickly, in line with customer innovations.
“It frees us up to go out and do innovation, rather than spending time feeding and watering the boxes, when there’s a lot more that we can be doing out there,” Wilson added.
SCC UK public sector sales director, Tracy Westall, said the company had invested £25m in a data centre.
In July 2011, it also committed to build a G-Cloud platform, which is a framework agreement available for the public sector, although the Liverpool deal was done outside of the G-Cloud framework.
Westall told iLinks attendees that the new service arrangement was not a threat to jobs, as the extra capacity created by the new venture will be easily absorbed within organisations.
“IT staff have been concerned that this means their job is moving. It doesn’t, because no organisations have enough people,” she explained.
“It’s an opportunity to re-skill and train people - get them away from menial tasks.”
The recently released NHS information strategy says cloud technology offers “new opportunities.”
“Hospitals no longer need to buy and maintain expensive servers on site, with systems suppliers offering cheaper web-based storage and software solutions,” it says.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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