May 19, 2020

Five Ways the UK’s NHS Spine Information System has Been Redeveloped

Annifer Jackson
2 min
Five Ways the UK’s NHS Spine Information System has Been Redeveloped

The UK National Health Service (NHS) Spine, the essential national infrastructure that stores patient information and enables electronic messaging, has been successfully rebuilt by BJSS and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

It holds the demographic information of 80 million people, as well as controlling the messaging between key applications used in the delivery of patient care.

The newly developed system can be summarised by the following:

  1. BJSS and HSCIC have worked together to create a more flexible system that represents a design step change away from the earlier centralised product.
  2. Working with BJSS, the HSCIC has developed the replacement service in-house using agile development and open source technology. The new platform will improve overall performance and reduce the costs of operation and future changes in functionality.
  3. Thousands of care organisations, health professionals and patients in England who rely on the NHS Spine – the electronic backbone of the NHS - were able to securely access its systems and services during a major transition to a new technology advanced version.
  4. Spine 2 is the largest and most significant Open Source system in the public sector to date.
  5. It allows those working in the NHS to respond more effectively to customer demands, and is easier for other suppliers to integrate with the infrastructure.

Glynn Robinson, managing director of BJSS said, “The new Spine has been developed from scratch and in a very different way to its predecessor. It offers far greater flexibility, enabling those working in the NHS to respond more effectively to customer demands and it’s much easier for other suppliers to integrate with the infrastructure.

“It was imperative that the project was delivered without disrupting the delivery of NHS services. This is where our experience of delivering complex software solutions combined with the BJSS Enterprise Agile approach has been essential. We are extremely proud of the new Spine and our contribution to this key piece of national healthcare infrastructure.”

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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