CASE STUDY: St Vincent’s University Hospital

12 Oct 2010

Healthcare provider consolidates support contracts for better IT service at lower cost.


St Vincent’s University Hospital


St Vincent’s University Hospital is a major academic teaching hospital, affiliated to UCD. Founded in 1834, it provides a frontline emergency service and national/regional medical care at inpatient and outpatient level in excess of 40 medical specialties. The hospital has 479 in-patient beds.


The hospital’s extensive IT infrastructure comprises 4,000 PC users, 1,900 PCs, 160 servers, 500 printers and more than 100TB of production data. Its ICT team is under constant pressure to deliver 100pc network uptime and deploy new technologies which will support the healthcare provider’s commitment to the highest quality patient care. At the same time, SVUH’s administration wanted to provide maintenance, technical support and professional services to its mission-critical ICT systems, while consolidating several existing support contracts, improving IT service delivery and reducing cost.

“With a support and operations team of just 12 staff, we were faced with a huge challenge in terms of managing multiple maintenance and support contracts for the diverse elements of our ICT infrastructure,” said Neal Mullen, deputy ICT director at SVUH. “It was clear to us that we needed to re-think our whole approach to maintenance and to our method of contracting professional services time. With budgetary constraints, this had to be done within a framework which would reduce costs.”


SVUH ICT proposed a bundling of its traditional reactive maintenance agreement with professional services time into a single contract. The winning provider, MJ Flood Technology, offers a combination of support and project-based assignments for desktops, printers, servers and technologies based on Microsoft, VMware and Symantec. MJ Flood manages the hospital’s extensive IT infrastructure using a combination of remote diagnostics and onsite support. Its team acts as an extension to the hospital’s IT staff, offering advice and project-based assignments.


Under the new contract, the MJ Flood Technology team has assisted the hospital in several key ICT projects, such as an Active Directory design and migration and a Microsoft Exchange deployment for 3,800 users. “Through MJ Flood Technology, we have technical skills and resources on tap,” Mullen explains.

“They validate projects, assist in technology migrations and act a sounding board for us when we are faced with a particular challenge or pain point. It’s a partnership that works well and one which is enhanced through their commitment to knowledge transfer, adding to our own in-house technical capability over time.”


SVUH is able to gain maximum business and technical value from having just one wide-ranging agreement with a single supplier. Overall IT delivery capability has been improved through having flexible engineering services and technical expertise on tap. The contract also includes provisions for knowledge transfer to in-house IT staff.

“Many customers have the perception that maintenance call-off represents poor value for money where there is a low volume of support incidents. By integrating high-value professional services into a single contract, SVUH have much better visibility of what they are paying for and what they are getting in return,” says Gareth Madden, sales director with MJ Flood Technology. 

Adds Mullen: “Over the past few years, we have logged fewer calls with our support companies. This is mainly due to our infrastructure being more resilient and our team being better skilled. If we have a problem and we feel we require support with it, we typically have MJ Flood staff dialled in within 30 minutes. Similarly, we can draw down consultancy time and project-based technical support from the contract as and when we need it. This approach has reduced costs while increasing our return on investment.”


By having a single point of contact for call-logging and escalation, administration overhead is reduced, while hospital management has total transparency of costs, call metrics and supplier performance. Last year, 350 support calls were raised and MJ Flood Technology met its service level agreement of four-hour response in 98pc of cases. “We know from week to week how the contract is performing,” says Neal Mullen. “We can clearly demonstrate to management how the contract is adding value to ICT operations and in turn helping us to focus on high-value tasks such as IT strategy development rather than fire-fighting on a day-to-day basis.”

Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic