Informatics Merseyside Case Study from Sunrise Software

As part of the government’s drive to share services to make efficiencies through improved economies of scale, Informatics Merseyside, previously North Mersey HIS (Health Informatics Service), brought together staff from six NHS Trusts to run centralised IT services. In 2007, using Sunrise, the consolidated IT services team supported 28,000 customers. “The big drivers were to improve efficiency and to provide a better service. We were hoping to make efficiency gains by avoiding running separate systems, and offer the best possible customer service.”

The project was very high profile, having been driven directly by the Senior Management Team (SMT). “When they (the SMT) developed their vision statement, they stated that ITIL best practice was a very clear driver and that we should start with the building blocks.”

Ten years on: “We originally chose Sunrise over ten years ago, and it has proven to be a flexible, powerful platform across our evolving activities,” says David Gordon, Head of IT Service Operations, NHS Informatics Merseyside.

One of the largest IT service desks in the NHS, Informatics Merseyside now handles 132,000 requests per year, providing 24 hour support to users from specialist NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups, general practitioners and professional bodies.

Automation and the Consumer Experience

Sunrise is now underpinning the interoperability for multiple innovative projects that automate previously manual processes, saving time and making life easier for users. From password reset  to access permissions and the digital ‘shopping’ experience, Sunrise is at the forefront of modern service excellence.

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Enabling digital innovation across healthcare Technology is increasingly central to delivering efficient, high quality healthcare. This means that the NHS has to support IT users 24 hours a day, making their lives easier through innovative new services that remove administration and allow them to focus on patient care. NHS Informatics Merseyside is leading the way, successfully supporting 18,000 users through Sunrise ITSM, deploying the solution as a platform for automation, innovation and greater efficiency.

Established in 2006, Informatics Merseyside is an NHS shared service providing Information Management and Technology (IM&T) services to NHS partner organisations and customers across the local health and social care economy. It provides services to around 18,000 users, delivering ‘health grade IT’ that supports high quality and efficient care delivery.
Informatics Merseyside was formed by bringing together staff from six NHS trusts, each of which had its own service desk management software. With efficiency a key driver behind its creation, IT prioritised selecting a single provider to underpin the services team. Following an extensive tender process it chose Sunrise ITSM for its adaptability, facility for seamless access from multiple sites and cost effectiveness. Sunrise went live in 2007.

Ten years of partnership

“We originally chose Sunrise over ten years ago, and it has proven to be a flexible, powerful platform across our evolving activities,” says David Gordon, Head of IT Service Operations, NHS Informatics Merseyside
“Our Shift Left strategy aims to automate activities, freeing up service desk time to handle more complex queries. Sunrise underpins our objectives, helping us to continually improve how we work and the service we deliver.”
One of the largest IT service desks in the NHS, Informatics Merseyside now handles 132,000 requests per year, providing 24 hour support to users from specialist NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups, general practitioners and professional bodies.
The majority of requests are currently made via phone and webforms, but Informatics Merseyside is innovating by providing new channels such as live chat to users. This delivers real-time support and enables staff to capture more information on issues, solving them faster. Chat is closely integrated with Sunrise, boosting efficiency and ensuring there is a single incident management process.
With a younger working demographic and more users now relying on mobile devices, Informatics Merseyside has also developed new processes within Sunrise that enable it to quickly manage requests and share knowledge between staff, helping support the around 7,000 smartphones and tablets that users currently have.

Focus on customer experience

Sunrise is helping Informatics Merseyside in its central aim of delivering fast, efficient service that meets and exceeds customer requirements. The focus is now on the customer experience, providing added value services based on user feedback. Surveys show a 98% customer satisfaction with the service desk, testament to the benefits the team is delivering.
“In the old days we just managed an incident, now we manage a lot more,” adds David. “Sunrise provides an adaptable framework to help us automate and add new services – in fact we now have one member of staff dedicated to maximising what we can do with the solution, enabling us to meet changing user needs.”
To this end, Sunrise is now underpinning the interoperability for multiple innovative projects that automate previously manual processes, saving time and making life easier for users. These include password reset, whereby Sunrise authenticates the user directly, and the immediate and automatic provision of permission to access particular folders on NHS Trust systems, which previously took a working day to complete.
A further digital initiative emulates the consumer online shopping experience – an equipment request portal enables users to select software, hardware and services, while helping them to build a business case, and automatically recommending additional products they may require. Built on Sunrise, it further helps reduce any set-up and support time by providing an up to date and centralised picture of IT assets.
Other integrations into the core Sunrise platform include enabling remote support sessions and pushing pop-up notifications to the user, for example in the case of a major incident requiring their action, while telephony integration is on the near horizon.

SDI Certification

To help it continually improve its services, Informatics Merseyside is committed to following industry best practice, adopting ITIL as a general framework. It became the first NHS IT service desk in England to achieve 3-star certification from the Service Desk Institute (SDI) in 2015. David explains the benefits, “SDI certification gives you the opportunity to look at all areas of your organisation – it has definitely improved how we operate, particularly around employee engagement and increasing the involvement of staff in decision making. Sunrise provides us with the data and processes we need to efficiently meet our SDI certification requirements.

Having worked with Sunrise for over a decade, Informatics Merseyside has built up a strong relationship. “The Sunrise team knows us, and our business, really well,” adds David. “They are extremely responsive and give us the support we need to get the most out of the platform, now and in the future.”
“As with the entire NHS, we have a focus on efficiency, and Sunrise enables us to automate many of our processes, giving staff time to handle more complex, more challenging jobs where they can really add value. It has helped drive a culture change within the organisation, allowing us to innovate and deliver the easy experience that our increasingly digital customers expect, whatever their needs,” David concludes.

Read more about ITSM in the NHS in our Blog.

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