Features: June 8th, 2012

Developing guides and publications is a challenging task in large organizations and the NHS provides the ultimate challenge. This article explains how the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement met the challenge by introducing the SkyDox platform.

The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement frequently collaborates across NHS teams and departments to develop guides and publications, in addition to soliciting advice on various projects in order to develop and share best practices in the form of document guides and manuals. They needed a cloud-based collaboration solution to replace their previous collaboration systems, which were too costly and complex for the average employee to manage. The NHS Institute needed the solution to be an intuitive but effective way to organise documents and manage meetings.

The Solution

The Institute deployed the SkyDox platform to improve their collaborative efficiencies by reducing training time and cutting costs for ICT. It had tried previous collaboration solutions but found them difficult to manage.

The file-centric nature of the platform ensures that all team members sharing a file are accessing a single version of that file. This means that all individuals are working on the most recent file at all times, eliminating those problems inherent with email collaboration methods such as duplicated work efforts as well as clashing feedback and versioning issues. The platform also makes version rollback available at any time so it is easy to revert to previous changes.

The platform is able to upload and store over 200 file types, retaining their original formats so that users can download and edit them later in their original applications. SkyDox renders many of these formats – including popular file types like those from the Adobe and Microsoft Office Suites – into an online version that can be viewed and commented on using any device with a browser. The platform is also integrated with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel so that users can continue to employ the applications with which they feel most comfortable, eliminating the need for unnecessary and costly training.

“Originally we were using email, but it was a nightmare to manage, so we decided to switch to SkyDox, which was painless,” said Nick Gaunt, Chief Information Knowledge Officer. “The platform required little training and on the few occasions that we asked for support we were very pleased with their quick and helpful responses. Also, because it provides all the functionality we need in a single platform and integrates with our existing applications, it requires little training. It’s helped our ICT department manage collaboration costs. All in all, we are very satisfied with the benefits the platform has brought to the NHS.”

What the platform provides

• Files are shared securely in an online workspace structured to enable easy access and distribution
• Staff can now preview, comment on, and share proposals with other NHS team members and external organisations using any device, including smartphones and tablets
• Accurate online rendering of over 200 document formats, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and PDF
• Comments can be tagged to a specific word or free-form area in a document or design, making it easier to clearly indicate where changes are required
• Access rights can be tailored on a file level to prevent loss of control of confidential information
• File-centric conference calls and online meetings can be started from a single platform for long-distance meetings
• Extra-large-file support reduces unnecessary reliance on FTP and un-auditable file sharing applications
• Improved relationships between distributed teams are attained through streamlined collaboration as well as productivity gains
• Document-level activity feeds and presence indicators improve real-time collaboration between NHS teams and other organisations
• Refined full-text searching with filters allows control over a vast library of files

For more information about SkyDox cloud enabled file sharing and collaboration click here.