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Accenture uses Avanade cloud for NHSmail

Accenture to deploy a cloud-based email system for NHS staff using a combination of Microsoft software and Avanade cloud technology

Accenture is to deploy a cloud-based email system serving 700,000 staff across the NHS following the award of a five-year contract.

The multinational outsourcing company was announced as the preferred bidder in April by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), which runs the NHSmail system on behalf of the health service.

Accenture will work with IT suppler Avanade to deploy the cloud-based system across the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Scotland.

It replaces a contract with Cable & Wireless (C&W), which was due to expire in July 2014. But the contract was extended with Vodafone, which acquired C&W in 2012. Transition to the new service will take place in 2015-16 at a cost of £168m, including the purchase of the technology.

“Almost 700,000 doctors, clinicians and other healthcare employees already use NHSmail to communicate securely,” said Aimie Chapple, managing director for Accenture’s UK health business.

“The new, improved NHSmail service will provide significant digital technology improvements to help NHS staff drive even more effective collaboration at all points of patient care. This will be one of the largest mailbox migrations ever delivered and will bring significant benefits to the way NHS employees exchange information, communicate and interact across healthcare,” she said.  

Accenture and Avanade will build new functions, maintain secure email and collaboration services, and deploy a secure, multi-tenanted email service based on Microsoft Exchange 2013. This system will replace the NHS’s existing platform, implemented by C&W in 2007. 

Accenture was chosen ahead of rivals BT, CSC, General Dynamics and incumbent Vodafone, which are all suppliers to the £350m cross-government managed email framework run by the Crown Commercial Service.

At one stage in the decision process, the NHS was looking to use multiple secure email providers via the government’s G-Cloud framework, but that plan was later revised.

According to HSCIC, more than half a million staff use NHSmail on a daily basis in England and Scotland, with user numbers growing by 10% every year. The service currently has more than 990,000 mailboxes in place. It includes a central directory and allows NHS employees to securely share calendars and folders.

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