CBR spoke to David Hayes, the IT operations manager for the South Devon Healthcare Foundation Trust, about BYOD and the deployment of Accellion.
What is your role within the company?
I’m the IT operations manager for South Devon Health Informatics Service, so that’s part of South Devon Healthcare Foundation Trust. We provide an IT service to the local health community, so that includes former PCTs and CCGs.
Can you tell me about the problems your department was facing and why you needed to adopt Accellion?
We were keen to introduce mobile devices, particularly the iPad, and were keen to see it enable the desktop or laptop replacement. But there were two components that were essential to achieve that. One was access to documents for collaboration, papers for meetings etcetera, and the other one was dealing with emails and documents that might be held within PSD files. There are a couple of threads to addressing that, and certainly with file sharing and collaboration, Accellion was the product that fulfilled that need.
Why did you choose Accellion over other competitors?
We needed a Dropbox replacement, ideally with a product that was hosted in the EU or could be hosted locally to meet our information governance requirements. We looked at a couple of products. We were offered a free trial from Accellion, and it’s one of the those areas where you don’t really know what it is that you require until you start to use the product. So the trial was quite a good introduction, as it allowed us to slowly and gradually roll it out, and each time somebody said ‘this is nice but I want this feature’, or ‘can we do that?’, we discovered that this product had what we wanted to do.
It was a slightly less formal analysis of the market, more about actually we were looking for a product that met our immediate needs but had the capability of meeting anticipated requirements and the trial gave us confidence to proceed. What we may well do in the not too distant future is look at the landscape and say ‘as the product scales up, is this the best product for us?’. But we’ve kind of eased gradually into Accellion.
How has deploying Accellion helped your department and the trust itself?
It’s being used in a variety of ways. It’s driven by a mobile device strategy that is built around iPads, so we have members of our board using it at board meetings, our chief exec is on a number of national panels and is travelling quite a lot of the time. So the lightness and flexibility of a small form device is brilliant and Accellion allows us to have access to all the papers we require and the ability to work online and offline, so it ticks all the boxes.
What challenges did you face with deployment and how were they overcome?
I can’t say there were any significant challenges. As I say, we started off with a trial that was hosted to us by Accellion that gave us a flavour for what the product could do. When it came to implementation, we decided to host locally; we did it with our partner Bridgeway Security Solutions, they were superb and they knew the product inside out and it was painless. I would say the biggest challenge we have is what we’re saying to people is: ‘this isn’t a replacement for your file shares or SharePoint, it’s for temporary short-term storage for collaboration, don’t think of this as a single instance repository, think of it more as a temporary area.’ I think that’s something that users are struggling to get their head around.
How has the department benefitted from using Accellion? And how are your members of staff finding it?
It works very well, our IT director has been using his iPad, you won’t find any paper in his office! He has to come back to a PC occasionally, as spreadsheets are a bit of a challenge on an iPad. But in terms of being prepared for meetings and having the papers, having presentations and delivering presentations, it’s all done from the iPad, and the transfer of information is all done through Accellion.
What are your plans for 2014?
We’ve been formalising the Bring Your Own Device policy for a little while. So the great hope for ’14 is that it will get formalised and then we can start to encourage that, to use their own devices for work purposes.
We know that we can manage the corporate data in a secure manner. It allows staff to have a device that they’re familiar with. It does what it says on the tin. Each time someone says ‘oh wouldn’t it be nice if it did this…’ – well actually it does.