The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) is a professional body that equips doctors and other healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to care for their patients and to run safe and efficient healthcare systems. Established in 1654, RCPI harnesses the expertise of its members to improve healthcare, whether it’s one-to-one with a patient or on a national, strategic level.
RCPI recognised that it needed greater reliability and scalability, and with its IT infrastructure nearing the end of its life, it explored the available options. The organisation quickly realised that building an in-house capability would be both costly and impractical. Its three historic offices in the heart of Dublin city centre were unsuitable to house sophisticated IT systems so choosing this route would involve investing heavily in new buildings and equipment.
Instead, RCPI opted to outsource its entire IT infrastructure to a specialist technology provider. Adrian Rath, ICT Manager for RCPI, explains, “We needed to safeguard availability of our systems but we didn’t have the physical space, data centre facilities or money necessary to do it properly. So we decided to buy our IT as a service from a well-regarded provider of those services.”
The systems to be outsourced not only support RCPI’s online presence but also all of the organisation’s back office systems such as finance and HR. It would be a huge IT transformation project in which resilience was all-important. Consequently, while the RCPI knew of Sungard Availability Services by reputation, it took the decision to go to competitive tender to find the most ‘economically advantageous’ supplier. This ultimately proved to be Sungard AS. Although value for money was the overriding factor, Adrian Rath reveals, “Sungard AS’s proposal was the only one to offer a complete end-to-end service: everything from backup, recovery and servers to firewalls, networking, security and storage – the whole package.”
The RCPI also took comfort in Sungard AS’s track record stretching back more than 30 years, and the blue-chip name among its customers.
Any downtime would harm the College’s reputation so the high availability provided by the resilient Sungard AS solution gives Adrian Rath and his team immense peace of mind. “We couldn’t function as a provider of post-graduate medical education if our systems were down for an extended period and the damage to our reputation would be incalculable,” he says. “We have now reduced the highest risk the organisation was running from an IT operations perspective.”
The importance of the IT transformation project to the RCPI cannot be overestimated. “Our website supports over 6000 doctors globally,” explains Adrian Rath. “It provides access to vital course material including webcasts of rich, high value educational content delivered by experts in the medical field. Separately it also enables members to update their educational activities against their continuous professional development requirements.”
The RCPI particularly values the scalability its cloud solution affords. Adrian Rath says, “Our infrastructure posed severe capacity constraints and now these have been removed we are able to expand wherever we see opportunities. Added to this, we are able to deliver a more reliable and resilient service to the business on a day-to-day basis.”
Having switched IT spending from the CapEx to OpEx budget, Adrian Rath finds the predictable monthly billing makes it easier to manage his budget. He notes, “We no longer have to climb over that ICT capital approval hump, which in the past could take us a year. Now we can just spin up an extra server within days if needed.”
Adrian Rath remarks, “I’ve found Sungard AS highly professional at every turn.” As for the future, he adds, “From a strategic perspective we’re exactly where we want to be. Our IT infrastructure is now delivered by a reputable service provider and we have the ability to grow or shrink as the business demands. We’re happy to be in that space.”