NHS National Services Scotland
Intranet Development - Alpha Stage
NHS NSS operates at the heart of NHS Scotland providing a wide range of shared services on a national scale using best-in-class systems and standards, helping customers save money and freeing up resources to be re-invested in essential services. The organisation’s mission is to support Scotland’s health by offering ‘whatever’s needed, whenever and wherever it’s needed and to whoever needs it’.
Fifty-five core services are provided under twelve broad categories including Information and Intelligence; Health Protection; Specialist Healthcare; Logistics; Procurement; Programme Management; Facilities; Legal; Information Technology; Blood, Tissues and Cells; Practitioner; and Counter Fraud.
To ensure the efficient and effective delivery of these services, NHS NSS has developed a digital workplace strategy aimed at:
- Enhancing the employee experience - supporting employees in how, where and when they work by providing access to platforms and tools regardless of location or device.
- Improving work effectiveness by enabling individuals to work more efficiently, reducing the time spent on functional tasks.
- Providing an official platform for improving organisational communications, subject to agreed governance, editorial and archiving processes.
- Encouraging employees to make connections beyond standard work boundaries.
The first project in the digital workplace strategy was to replace the current Intranet which had become ‘a place for many employees to avoid, difficult to maintain and support’.
Working closely with the internal team, Bridgeall successfully redeveloped the NHS NSS Intranet. The goal was not to rebuild the existing Intranet nor to deliver a standard, out-of-the-box solution. Rather, the overall objective was to build a platform customised to meet specific user and business needs within NSS.
The Project proceeded in three main stages:
User Research and Business Needs Analysis
The detailed user research and business needs analysis undertaken allowed the Bridgeall project team to prioritise user stories, producing an outline product backlog for the first iteration of the replacement intranet.
The user research highlighted in detail the high level of frustration staff were experiencing in using the existing Intranet and the extent to which time was being wasted, as staff struggled to execute routine tasks and administrative processes.
Development of an Alpha Intranet
Prioritising objectives from the user research, Bridgeall built an alpha Intranet delivering the following outcomes:
- Easy access to the Intranet regardless of time, location or device.
- Finding content - easy retrieval of a specific piece of information reflecting the broad diversity of the NSS as an organisation.
- Enhanced user experience through simple, uncluttered page layouts with out-of-date information being archived or deleted.
- The new Intranet focuses on performing its primary purpose as simply as possible i.e. ease of access to information. Additional features were avoided without demonstrable benefit.
- A secondary purpose was to provide a central news feed for NSS, including news feeds from other parts of the organisation as required.
- The new Intranet supports the primary and secondary purposes without confusing users.
- It is easy to search and navigate.
- Because the new Intranet was a chance to start afresh, much of the existing content was removed.
Bridgeall continue to work with NHS NSS in further refining their corporate Intranet
The Intranet developed by Bridgeall is currently at pilot testing phase prior to advancing to beta stage. It will deliver tangible business benefits to all departments and functions across NSS.
At a corporate level, the new Intranet will make a significant contribution to the strategic objective of reducing the amount of staff time spent on administrative tasks, estimated at 40 per cent of working hours. Problems with the old Intranet were a prime cause of this. The new intranet will provide a platform for delivering a more integrated approach to the delivery of standard functions, ‘Once for NSS’; rather than these being replicated in various places across the organisation.
For individual business units and directorates, the new Intranet will increase administrative efficiency while allowing each division to retain its own identity and autonomy.
In terms of communications, the new Intranet will provide the Customer Engagement and Development team with a single, efficient communications channel while also allowing the Digital Design Authority to meet its core standards around user experience, accessibility, branding and content.
Key criteria include:
- Usable - users get what they need for the least amount of effort.
- Searchable - users can find what they need when they need it.
- Accessible - accessible and equitable to all.
- Valuable - add value to our stakeholders and improve customer experience.
- Desirable - of a high standard, reflecting NSS’s corporate image and brand.
For Content Publishers, the new Intranet will provide a reliable, easy-to-use system that they can use independently and without technical support. Effective content governance is built into the new system ensuring conformance with best practice while making it easy to delete redundant pages.
Debbie Murphy, NHS NSS Product Owner, Digital Workplace for the Digital Transformation Programme says:
“Bridgeall have built an alpha version of our Intranet for NHS National Service Scotland. The build was managed extremely well, with the outcome being really useful for us. It has given us a firm foundation for further development. The team at Bridgeall have supported us with our learning and are still providing further technical support. The project was delivered under budget, meaning we can work on further developments that emerge from our user testing. I would not hesitate to work with Bridgeall again, it’s been so easy”.