In good health

Pegasus Health is the leading primary health organisation in Canterbury. The organization supports the delivery of primary health care through members’ general practices, and provides services such as the 24 Hour Surgery, Partnership Community Workers, Community Respiratory, child health and mental health services. It also provides back-office infrastructure and educational services to 109 general practice medical centres all over Canterbury.

This translates to over 330 member general practitioners, 355 practice nurses and nearly 400 support staff. Pegasus also has a 30-strong software development team working on various applications with the District Health Board.
Keeping hundreds of diverse people engaged in the company’s activities and managing documentation is a challenging task. After calling for expressions of interest, Pegasus selected Stratos as its partner.

Weighed down by paper

“We knew we were paper heavy and had an intranet built on technology that had reached its end of life,” said Knowledge Manager Gary Allen. “We also had network drives that had become monsters. Information went in but it was difficult to subsequently find and retrieve. Our team identified Microsoft SharePoint as the most likely technology to work with but we weren’t experienced with it and weren’t sure what it was fully capable of.

“We wanted a partner who was prepared to engage with us, who knew that we weren’t entirely sure what shape the end goal would be, who recognized that we wanted to learn by doing, who was prepared to sometimes be in the front seat and at other times shift into the back seat while we drove for a while.”

Finding a partner in Stratos

Allen said the responses from prospective suppliers to Pegasus Health’s request for information were diverse. “Some respondents told us to just get back to them when we were ready to tender and others said they were too busy to come and talk.

“We asked for proposals from two or three candidates. Stratos’ proposal won hands-down. What shone through was their flexibility, their willingness to hear what was needed, and their ability to identify the potential approaches in achieving it.

“Contrast that with, ‘This is our process for setting up an intranet. You will have to follow our rigid steps along our pathway. You will have to hold this workshop, and that workshop.’

“Stratos demonstrated they were incredibly knowledgeable about SharePoint. They also had access to other consultants and showed that they had the resources to plug in for extra capacity. We chose Stratos because in the end, it was about our endpoint and journey, not our partner’s endpoint and journey.”

Stratos shows broad knowledge

“Going paperless is a giant task and we are still not there. We needed to start somewhere and decided to begin with a staff-facing portal and document management system.” 

The staff-facing portal was built with SharePoint 2010 and was internally branded ResOURce (Our Resource). Through the course of the project, Stratos assumed different roles. 

“Sometimes Stratos provided project management services. Sometimes they just provided technical resources or expertise. For example, on the rare occasion the system failed, our team would investigate it but if they weren’t able to figure it out, we called in Stratos who would diagnose the problem, and either fix it or make recommendations for our IT infrastructure team. 

“Being able to make suggestions on IT infrastructure showed me how broad their knowledge was. Other times when we needed it, they provided extra capacity for our in-house team. 

“Stratos suggested we try to implement as many ‘out of the box’ features as we could ourselves and try to minimize or eliminate any custom coding altogether. We took this advice and haven’t regretted it.” 

Assistance at a moment’s notice

“Stratos has also provided additional resource when we’ve needed it. Recently we were called upon to create a range of new pages to facilitate collaboration across the organisation to develop new budgets.

“We were only given a few days to do this, and some of our key staff were away on holiday. Initially we pushed back and said that they should have been better organised.

“But eventually we were advised by a higher authority that this was important to the organisation, so we engaged Stratos to carry out the work. It was a reasonably significant chunk of work to do in a short time, but after a short pause on the phone, Stratos were able to commit to coming in at 11 that morning.

"I’m sure Stratos weren’t sitting on the end of the phone waiting for our call, but by agreeing to help us at such short notice, they showed a commitment to us as partners.” - Gary Allen, Knowledge Manager, Pegasus Health

New portal keeps staff engaged

“To keep hundreds of diverse people engaged in the company’s activities and managing the company’s documentation is a challenging task.

“Every week we have a staff meeting which is attended by over a hundred employees. It’s videoed so that those who couldn’t attend can now watch it via the new portal.

“We also have employee profiles available and a slider spotlights a different employee every screen refresh. Staff can find out who our people are and what expertise and information they can provide.

“Prior to putting in this portal we didn’t have a firm handle on how effective our paper-based staff communications programmes were. With SharePoint, we can now see how many times each item is accessed and who accessed it. My team can use the inbuilt analytics to readily generate these reports.

“We are also using SharePoint workflows to automate things such as our HR onboarding process. When a new staff member comes on board, the system automatically sends email at various stages of the onboarding process to remind the new staff member to complete a range of tasks all designed to ensure they feel supported and connected in their new role.”

Success leads to next stage

The staff-facing portal was only the first destination on a long journey. “Now that this portal is complete, we’ve turned our attention to a practice-facing portal which will have the role of informing our medical practices of new funding programmes, upcoming events and new regulations to keep an eye on, just to name a few things.” 

This General Practice-focused extranet is built with SharePoint 2013 Foundation. Stratos provided project management services as well as SharePoint advice. 

Stratos exceeded expectations

“When I look back, our relationship with Stratos has exceeded our expectations. Their on-hand, timely response has been appreciated. Stratos is always there to bounce ideas off.”

“We don’t have a high-powered and detailed service level agreement with them. It’s been about building a relationship and maintaining that relationship. It’s worked for us.

“My colleagues up and down the country are also looking at SharePoint. But they are all struggling with finding a partner to work with them.

“If I was speaking to other knowledge managers, I’d say two things: First, go and see Stratos. They are the kind of partner who will work to understand your problem, and help you find the solutions.

“Second, make sure you have your own in-house capacity to drive adoption and drive out-of-the-box development. Without that expertise, you won’t get good in-house adoption. It gets back to that partnership mode. It’s not about getting a vendor in to build you something. It’s about the business using SharePoint as a toolkit for which it can support the business processes of the organisation in a whole raft of ways, and having a partner like Stratos who can help us with understanding how we might apply it in different situations.”