“Medicine must serve the people” — this was the fundamental conviction shared by Scott & White Healthcare’s founding physicians, Arthur C. Scott, MD, and Raleigh R. White Jr., MD, when they opened their first medical practice in 1897. Today, more than a century later, we remain dedicated to our patients and their satisfaction, as well as to our 13,000-plus employees.
Maintaining that commitment to our employees was essential when we decided to upgrade our email system from one that had been in place for years to one that offered the newest and most robust features for our business users. At the same time, we were looking to upgrade our Microsoft Office application suite from the 2003 version we were on. New email software and Office applications would bring our organization onto the latest platform, with rich collaboration, mobile capabilities and other new productivity features we were lacking.
In planning this move, we had to make two very important decisions: first, which software would be best for our user community, and second, how would we support our end-users through a 13,000-person “big bang” migration with as little pain as possible.
After evaluating a number of software options, we selected Office 365 because its licensing flexibility and cloud management model fit our needs. With Office 365, we didn’t have to worry about infrastructure, senior-level Exchange support or scaling issues. It was also very important to us that Microsoft was able to ensure protection of our confidential patient information with this cloud-based platform, and this made our decision much easier.
As with any companywide technology change, we had to consider its impact on the Scott & White community. The IT department’s chief concerns were how to migrate the considerable volume of legacy mail and how to handle a significant spike in bandwidth needs. For our end users, many of whom are long-term employees familiar only with the legacy email client, it was critical that we offer the best training and support, and that we devise solutions to handle entrenched workflows.
After considering a range of different support options, including internal resources, hired contract temp resources, and several third-party providers, we chose to partner with Vitalyst. The company’s core competence is providing expert-level support for Microsoft products, including Office 365.
Vitalyst filled an important support role for us. From information gathered during three pilot groups, we anticipated few technical problems but a whole lot of “how-to” questions and more intense instruction for employees being migrated to the new platform. In fact, once we did go live with our migration and the support, the call volume on these types of questions exceeded our forecasts, and we were pleased to have Vitalyst’ support in place.
Our IT department could not be in every location every second of the day, and having Vitalyst “on call” was invaluable.
Vitalyst was a safety blanket, enabling our 200-member IT department to successfully complete the migration with few problems and our users to move onto the new platform with little disruption to their work. Our IT department could not be in every location every second of the day, and having Vitalyst “on call” was invaluable. If employees needed immediate help, Vitalyst’ productivity consultants could resolve the issues on the first call, enabling them to get back to their work.
After the switchover was complete, several of our physician leaders and senior executives noted that this was one of the smoother transitions/introductions to new technology our company has experienced. The whole Scott & White community is now able to collaborate and communicate with internal and external contacts in ways that weren’t possible before.