CDW helped occupational health services provider, Medigold Health overcome complexities in their disparate application landscape and establish a better framework for managing cloud services.
Following several years of growth, Medigold Health had accumulated a varied array of applications and a combination of infrastructure arrangements.
CDW advised Medigold Health on applying best practice to its existing Microsoft Azure environment and confirmed the proposed micro-service architectures and methodologies.
Medigold Health aims to provide enhanced IT services to its employees and customers and is working towards a ore flexible cloud-first strategy.
ABOUT MEDIGOLD HEALTH
- One of the UK's fastest growing occupational health and corporate wellbeing providers.
- Grown over the past decade from a small, family-run business to one of the country's top five providers with over 600 employees.
- Headquarters in Northampton, plus customer services centres in Plymouth and Sheffield, and over 60 clinics across the UK.
- One of the first organisations to introduce online medical screening for pre-employment process
During 10 years of rapid growth, which included several mergers and acquisitions, Medigold Health had accumulated a large number of legacy infrastructure services and a complicated range of applications.
Medigold Health’s IT team was fully occupied in trying to make this disparate set of services work together, which distracted from the strategic initiatives the organisation needed in order to move forward.
“It was clear that we needed a programme of modernisation but we didn’t have a roadmap to get us there,” said Lee Alderdice, Lead Developer at Medigold Health. “There were questions over some of the legacy processes that were in place and whether they were fit for a modern organisation. We had a high requirement for manual input so we wanted to improve workflows and effectiveness.”
The challenge for the organisation was to review and reshape its application landscape while also remodelling its infrastructure to leverage the scalability and availability of the cloud.
Steve Way, Chief Technical Officer at Medigold Health, said: “Our aim is to be the occupational health provider of choice. We want our services to be built on the quality of delivery, and that depends heavily on the tools available to staff.”
Medigold Health understood the need for fundamental change at both the application and infrastructure levels of its IT services. The team therefore took a ‘greenfield’ approach to its search for a solution that would be able to meet the organisation's growing needs.
CDW was selected as the organisation's IT solutions and services partner with industry expertise and vendor knowledge to help Medigold Health find a workable way forward.
The first step was to assess the organisation’s existing legacy infrastructure estate. Medigold Health’s on-premise data centre was the fulcrum for day-to-day operations however, the IT and development teams identified an opportunity to improve the disaster recovery and business continuity controls.
One of Medigold Health’s ambitions was to work towards a cloud-first strategy, which meant extending and optimising its use of Microsoft Azure. CDW’s JumpStart programme provided a foundation for this process.
The programme delivered a blueprint for best practice in the cloud, based on an appraisal of Medigold Health’s existing application landscape how it might be migrated.
A key action was to establish hierarchical management groups in the cloud, using a privileged access model to govern three main areas: a development environment for experimentation, a test area with greater controls and a production area that is locked down. This was intended to encourage innovation, improve clarity of management and reduce the risk of unwarranted access that could disrupt vital business services.
“We needed to understand our accounts and make sure we were future proofed,” said Steve Way. “It’s about making the right decisions now for the architecture we want to have in place for many years to come. It was invaluable to have CDW’s validation.” The second strand of CDW’s solution concerned Medigold Health’s application landscape.
CDW’s AppPlan Advisory programme highlighted the need for a new application model. The proposed solution enabled Medigold Health to re-architect, merge and rebuild applications with the adoption of micro-services. The modular nature of micro-services meant Medigold Health could replace the monolithic apps of the past with smaller, nimbler building blocks.
The adoption process took place over a period of two phases:
Phase 1: A container image was created for each application component which was then deployed to a cloud-based, platform as a service solution in order to support the container runtime interface. In this instance, Docker running in Azure Web Apps for Containers was selected.
Phase 2: Migrate the container images to a platform supporting container orchestration. It’s an approach that sets Medigold Health on a path to adoption of Kubernetes.
With new and updated frameworks in place to support cloud migration and optimise applications, Medigold Health is moving more confidently and dynamically towards its IT objectives. Lee Alderdice highlighted AppPlan as a vital tool that will help his team of developers orchestrate the enterprise-level apps the organisation needs.
“AppPlan highlighted to us some areas we needed to investigate,” he said. “With this approach, we were able to build a roadmap, fill the skills gap and present excellence to the wider team. It would have taken us a lot of reading time to gain the knowledge that CDW brought.”
The goal is that Medigold Health’s user community, including internal employees and external customers, will see one front end, although the back-end composition will vary as the team aligns and optimises delivery of micro-services over time. Solidifying Medigold Health’s cloud footprint has been an equally valuable process.
Over the next two years, it will help the organisation migrate services fully to the cloud to create a modern workspace, starting with the adoption of Microsoft 365.
Cloud services will also help remote-working employees operate more productively and there is greater potential to drive operational efficiencies with consultations performed via video link. Steve Way commended the expertise that CDW provided.
“Like many other organisations, we have to justify our spending proposals and the documentation we put together with CDW’s help provided the cost and benefit analysis that we needed to enable the modernisation project to take place,” he said. “Presenting a solution that was externally validated was not only useful in our conversations with the board of directors, but also for some of the large corporate contracts we are involved in, where customers insist on a demonstration of validity.
That support is invaluable. We have lots of expertise within the team but the external validation from CDW provided reassurance that we were on the right path with regards to apps and infrastructure services.” He also paid tribute to the adaptability of the CDW team. “CDW’s people were very easy to work with,” he said. “Not all providers would have made the journey to visit us in Plymouth, where most of our technology team is based. In doing so, they established a personal connection with us which made a huge difference.”
CDW is continuing to provide advice and support to Medigold Health as it moves forward with its IT modernisation plans. “Knowing how best to structure cloud services and organise applications are two of the biggest challenges for many organisations,” said Guy Smith, Head of Technology Solutions at CDW.
“With our JumpStart and AppPlan programmes we’ve been able to put Medigold Health on a stronger succession path by bringing best practice to their consumption of cloud services and helping them to establish a new structure for their applications.”
CDW’s people were very easy to work with. Not all providers would have made the journey to visit us in Plymouth, where most of our technology team is based. In doing so, they established a personal connection with us which made a huge difference.
Chief Technology Officer at Medigold Health