SPHERE enables Two NHS trusts to deploy Citrix cloud services

Two London trusts are to deploy cloud-based services which are expected to be used by more than 7,000 staff.

Systems Powering Healthcare (SPHERE), a provider of IT systems and infrastructure to hospitals, is to deploy Citrix Cloud services at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Chelsea and Westminster is one of NHS England’s global digital exemplars.

The trusts are currently piloting Citrix Workspace Service running on Microsoft Azure, but are expected to deploy fully within three to six months. Once fully live, staff will be able quickly and securely access data and applications from anywhere.

“The NHS healthcare organisations we service are faced with ageing IT infrastructure and little capital funds available to replace it”, Aaron Aldrich, vice president and head of operations at SPHERE told Digital Health News.

“We were tackling an inability to scale up or down rapidly to meet customer demands without significantly over-investing in technology kit.

“The Citrix-Azure cloud combination offers us rapid scalability. It also reduces time and spend on maintaining, producing, installing and configuring on-premise infrastructure.”

Aldrich added that cloud infrastructure will reduce the need for organisations to own and maintain large amounts of IT equipment.

“Requiring fewer devices and apps as well as less infrastructure and real-estate will allow NHS trusts to cut down cost per device and greatly reduce time and money spent on IT.”

In recent years, increasing numbers of healthcare organisations have been investigating the potential benefits of cloud-based software, infrastructure and platforms. Last month, Digital Health News reported that BT and East Sussex were partnering to create dedicated virtual networks.


SPHERE – Growth through M&A – Due Diligence Case Study

SPHERE – M&A Due Diligence – An Intuitus Case Study

Intuitus logo

Sector: IT Services, Healthcare
Region: UK
Date: September 2017


Organisations in the healthcare sector, including the NHS, are increasingly reliant on technology to ensure the smooth-running of day-to-day business. It’s important that costs are reduced wherever possible, including within technology and IT operations, to help alleviate the financial pressure faced by businesses in this sector.

West Middlesex University Hospital Trust was acquired by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2015. IT service provider SPHERE, which is co-owned by Chelsea and Westminster, will be incorporating the IT infrastructure of West Middlesex into their existing IT service provision. Intuitus was approached to provide M&A IT due diligence on West Middlesex in order to identify potential synergies and key risks ahead of the integration by SPHERE.

The Client

SPHERE (Systems Powering Healthcare Ltd) is an IT service provider delivering IT service management and shared IT infrastructure services to the healthcare sector.

The company is jointly and wholly owned by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trusts – SPHERE represents a collaboration and pooling of resources between the Trusts to deliver improved IT services to its members.


The management team at SPHERE required full visibility of the current status of the IT services currently in place at West Middlesex, including data centre management, network and communications, computing infrastructure and storage, end-user computing, IT service management, and IT security. This would allow management to plan for the integration of the IT infrastructure at West Middlesex into the existing service offering provided by SPHERE.

The recent transition and merger of the two Trusts, coupled with SPHERE’s planned acquisition of the IT infrastructure at West Middlesex, meant that the merger of the two IT teams had to be handled with sensitivity. This had to be taken into account by any third-party consultant brought in.

How we helped

Intuitus was approached to undertake M&A due diligence on the IT infrastructure and associated service contracts and service provisions at West Middlesex, and advise on how these services align with the service proposition provided by SPHERE. The Intuitus team included Alan Lorimer, who has 20 years’ experience in IT, including many years reviewing the processes and operations of managed service companies in order to provide investment advice.

“Intuitus brought a wealth of experience, wisdom and knowledge to the engagement,” says Renier Botha, Managing Director at SPHERE. “It was a sensitive situation and we needed to get an expert, unbiased, impartial opinion. The Intuitus team was respected by everyone involved because they had been in similar situations many times before and knew exactly where to look and which questions to ask.”

The result was a comprehensive report that clearly outlined what actions were required to ensure the successful integration of the West Middlesex IT infrastructure. This report was then converted into a project initiation document, which acted as a foundation for the entire project. SPHERE was also able to use the report findings to compile a full remediation project scope with costings, which was presented to the senior management team. This clearly outlined the key risks and remediation required to successfully onboard the new infrastructure environment.

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

In the short term, SPHERE is focusing on delivering the IT services as they are outlined in the SLAs, and meeting the service expectations of the West Middlesex staff.

The major strategic benefit of the incorporation of the West Middlesex infrastructure in the longer term is in the economies of scale, as Renier Botha points out: “With the onboarding of West Middlesex, the scale of the service delivered by SPHERE has increased by 27%. As a result, we’ve been able to reduce the cost per user by 12%. Furthermore, the cost of running the service is 24% lower than what it would have cost the trusts individually were they to run the IT service without SPHERE. If SPHERE can successfully identify additional trusts to work with then there will be an opportunity to further drive down the total cost of providing a shared service.”

About our M&A Due Diligence

Intuitus’ M&A due diligence is an independent, bespoke assessment on behalf of an acquiring company (or strategic buyer) of a target company’s technology and/or IT operations and, where required, either an assessment or production of the technology and/or IT integration strategy and plan, including potential synergies and key risks. The buyer gains commercially focused, pragmatic insight in the form of an actionable report. Our findings and recommendations form an important part of the (integration) plan going forward and overall value enhancement strategy.




“Intuitus brought a wealth of experience, wisdom and knowledge to the engagement. As a result of the M&A due diligence we’ve been able to make significant cost-savings, without compromising the quality of the IT service offering.”; Renier Botha, Managing Director at SPHERE

Original Case Study – intuitusadvisory.com

SPHERE grows – delivering shared IT services to the NHS’ West-Middlesex University Hospital

West-Mid logo

SPHERE grows – delivering IT Shared Services to West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust

SPHERE, Systems Powering Healthcare Ltd, is incorporating West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust into the shared IT service provision that they supply to a number of NHS Trusts. This includes Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which acquired West Middlesex in 2015.

The project results from several months of preparatory work by SPHERE, assessing its scope and provisioning the service transfer, with completion scheduled for October 2017.

SPHERE is an IT shared services provider to the healthcare sector, primarily NHS Foundation Trusts. It was set up by Chelsea and Westminster and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trusts to deliver and support IT infrastructure for both trusts to achieve economies of scale and bring down the cost per user, says Renier Botha, Managing Director of SPHERE:

“Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trusts is one of the founding members of SPHERE and it made sense for the West Middlesex Trusts to join the shared services management that we provide. We have a proven services model that we can take to a range of other healthcare providers to realise cost savings whilst improving service quality.

“SPHERE will now be supporting an additional 2,000 end users with the commissioning of West Middlesex. This financial year will see the cost per user for member trusts fall substantially through economies of scale,” says Renier Botha.

SPHERE is currently gearing up to support the deployment of the Cerner EPR (Electronic Patient Record) system across the Chelsea Westminster and West-Middlesex NHS Trusts for which it provides shared services.

West Middlesex will be the first Trust to go live with Cerner. Sphere will manage the provision of infrastructure and the overall IT support services and are currently assessing which first line support services will be prioritised for the Cerner platform.

In 2014 Kevin Jarrold, Director on the SPHERE board and CIO at Imperial Healthcare Trust and Chelsea and Westminster, oversaw the deployment of Cerner at Imperial. Sphere will look to capitalise on the learnings of the Imperial team to ensure trouble-free integration of the support services.

To take advantage of the capabilities of cloud computing, SPHERE is moving its primary data centre and specific systems to Equinix, a leading colocation provider, in London.

Equinix has hosted the Cerner platform since 2010 and SPHERE says that this offers a robust solution for the Trusts, improving the IT infrastructure resilience and business continuity capabilities mitigating the key business risks associated with location and services required from IT hosting facilities.

“SPHERE is well positioned to provide improved IT services to the healthcare sector – expanding on the presence of Cerner within the same data centre and utilising the capabilities of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform at Equinix,” says Renier Botha.

For further information please contact SPHERE Head Office – Systems Powering Healthcare Ltd, Unit 101, Harbour Yard London, SW10 0XD – Tel: 020 331 5888.



SPHERE Invests in Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS)

Systems Powering Healthcare (SPHERE) is investing in the future – our EMC Elastic Cloud Solution, or at least a portion of it, has arrived and is being installed.  This enhances SPHERE’s service catalogue to provide flexible storage service solutions to various systems.


EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) is a software-defined object storage platform marketed by EMC Corporation. ECS was designed to adhere to several tenets of object storage, including scalability, data resiliency and to take advantage of existing or new commodity server hardware in order to manage costs. At an architectural level, EMC ECS offers Software-Defined Storage (SDS). This flexibility not only simplifies the deployment of ECS, but it also allows ECS to provide a single pool of data that can spread data across a variety of underlying infrastructure components, including commodity or ECS appliances, and even EMC and third-party storage arrays. In addition to the flexibility offered by the software-based architecture, ECS enables multi-head access, allowing different protocols, such as object and HDFS, to access the same data concurrently.


SPHERE invests in knowledge training…

This course is specifically designed to improve your skills as an information security manager. Using O-ISM3 as a framework, you will master process management, and you will be able to:

  • Prioritize security efforts using business significant criteria
  • Communicate the value that Information Security Department brings to the organization
  • Design, implement and use information security metrics proven in the field, enabling short cycle continuous improvement
  • Simplify ISO27001 compliance
  • Complement ITIL security
  • Manage outsourced security services with SLA’s
  • Implement TOGAF and SABSA architectures.

O-ISM3 is an information security management maturity standard published by The Open Group, a leader in the development of open, vendor-neutral IT standards and certifications.

SPHERE, and other organizations like the Swiss Armed Forces, the National Bank of Panama and Bankia use O-ISM3. Our student, Pedro Valcárcel, a professional with 15 years’ experience in security said about the course: “This course opened my eyes. I wish I had taken it sooner”

Trainer Profile
Vicente Aceituno is the Senior Information Security Manager of SPHERE. He is leader of the standard Open Information Security Management Maturity Model; he has broad experience in outsourcing of security services and research. His focus is information security outsourcing, management and related fields like metrics and certification of ISMS.

Mark your calendar

London Course – Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th December 2016

What you will learn:

  • Deep understanding of complex security and management concepts
  • Alignment of security objectives with an organization’s mission
  • Classifying and setting requirements for information systems that satisfy security objectives
  • Communication of the value of information security
  • Access control management concepts
  • Implementation of security processes
  • Process management activities
  • Design, implementation and use of information security metrics
  • Understanding of the relationship between metrics, management practices, capability and maturity
  • Techniques for visualization of security metrics
  • Understanding of distribution of responsibilities concepts
  • ISM3-RA Risk Assessment
  • Management of Outsourced Security processes.

Course Outline

Day 1 – 9:00 – 17:00

  • Concepts: You will gain a deeper understanding of complex security concepts.
  • Assets & Goals: You will be able to set security objectives aligned with your organization’s mission, and you will be able to communicate what is the value that the information security department brings to the organization.
  • Security Objectives: You will be able to set requirements for information systems that satisfy security objectives.
  • Access Control: You will gain an understanding of the management ramifications of access control.
  • Classification of Systems: You will be able to prioritize efforts using business significant criteria for systems classification.
  • Activities & Deliverables: You will gain an understanding of the relationship between activity and achievement of goals.
  • Bottom-up Process Implementation: You will learn how to apply O-ISM3 to processes under your own responsibility.
  • Top-down Security Program: You will learn how to apply O-ISM3 when you have support from top IT management.

Day 2 – 9:00 – 17:00

  • General Processes: You will familiarize yourself with auxiliary but essential processes.
  • Strategic Processes: You will familiarize yourself with processes related to goals definition and provision of resources.
  • Tactical Processes: You will familiarize yourself with processes related to continuous improvement and resource distribution.
  • Operational Processes: You will familiarize yourself with technical hands-on processes.
  • Management Practices: You will learn the basics about process management activities.
  • Metrics: You will learn in detail how to design, implement and use information security metrics.
  • Maturity: You will become familiar with the relationship between metrics, management practices, capability and maturity.
  • Reports, Dashboards & Visualization: You will learn how to make the best of metrics, enabling interpretation and communication.

Day 3 – 9:00 – 17:00

  • Security Organization: You will understand how the distribution of responsibilities make processes tick, and how to avoid related risks.
  • Security Modelling: You will gain a working knowledge of advanced security models.
  • O-ISM3-RA: You will learn to perform a simple yet meaningful Risk Assessment.
  • ISO27001: You will learn how to make O-ISM3 help you with ISO27001 compliance.
  • IT Architecture: You will learn how to use O-ISM3 effectively with SABSA and TOGAF.
  • ITIL & SLA’s: You will learn how to complement ITIL with O-ISM3, and how to design SLA in order to manage outsourced security processes.
  • Certification: You will peek at O-ISM3’s certification process.
  • Techniques & References: You will learn general security techniques in order to treat security threats.
  • Recapitulation: You will look back at the last three days highlighting the most important ideas and concepts.

Who should attend
This course is designed for security professionals who are or have the goal to acquire management level responsibilities in their organizations.

Student/Instructor ratio
The maximum number of students is 10.

Book now
Contact security@sphere.services for details.


Systems Powering Healthcare – Corporate Video

SPHERE (Systems Powering Healthcare Ltd) is an IT Service Provider delivering IT Service Management and shared IT infrastructure services to the healthcare sector. In March 2015, the Chelsea & Westminster NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust moved to a shared service model for common IT functions through the formation of SPHERE (Systems Powering Healthcare Ltd). SPHERE, is a company jointly and wholly owned by Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trusts – it represents a collaboration and pooling of resources between the Trusts to deliver improved IT services to its members.


Welcome to Systems Powering Healthcare Limited (SPHERE)

Letter to new joiners…
On behalf of everyone at SPHERE, I would like to welcome you to our dynamic ITservices company.
We’re excited that you have joined our team and I hope our excitement here at SPHERE will soon be your excitement as well.
Our culture puts our people first and for that reason we provide a progressive working environment that is supportive, diverse and flexible.
We care are about our clients, our members and have a passion for providing exceptional IT services.
We hope that you will enjoy working with us, and that this guide gives you an insight into life at SPHERE. It contains much of the information you’ll need in understanding
the context and culture of our business, including pertinent policies that we operate
You can discover a little more about the business, and what is important to SPHERE
in delivering a fantastic service.
You will see that we have an energetic business proposition in SPHERE, and we looking forward to your contribution to add to our continued success and growth.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy your time with us, and that the challenges and rewards meet all of your expectations.
Best regards,
Renier Botha
Managing Director

MD’s Introduction Email to everyone@sphere

Hello Everyone,
I am Renier Botha. As Neil announced recently, I’m the new Managing Director and Head of Service for SPHERE. I started in Dec’15 and have already met some of you but thought it might be helpful to introduce myself via email as well, acknowledge the great work of the team to date and to lay out some of our priorities to conclude the current financial year (FY) and compiling the future business plan.
It is a privilege to be taking on this leadership role. I have been engaged in executive freelance/interim leadership roles for the past two and half years following almost seven years with The Collinson Group.
I have focussed on building a career and reputation in business leadership
and direction through innovation and integration of technology products and services to improve the business value proposition and increase customer satisfaction, retention and business revenue. In these technology enabled journeys, I also place people first.
On a more personal level, I am married to Yolandi and we live in Kenley, Surrey. I enjoy the outdoors especially 4×4 and motorcycle adventures, photography, a good round of golf and I am a keen archer. Interests outside work, especially spending time close to nature, help me keep things in perspective and balance.
I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate each and everyone on taking the step in joining and establishing SPHERE. Starting a new technology business venture is never a small feat and SPHERE has accomplished a lot already, in the mere ten months of operation, in setting the bar on best practise in IT service delivery within the NHS. This is testimony to your commitment and efforts as a team and to the solid leadership of Neil Walker, whom I would like to personally thank for his support and wish him all the best for the future.
I am looking forward to get to know you all better, and mutually sharing/listening as together we scope our future Team Performance Acceleration Plan. As a brief heads-up, some of the emerging imminent priorities for us – which I shall be sense-checking with you – appear to be as follows:
  • Status reporting on progress against this year’s business plan
  • Compiling our business plan for the coming year
  • Moving to a per user financial model
  • Focus on completing the remediation and transformation programme
  • On-boarding West Middlesex Hospital
  • Work to mature our Target Operating Model, business procedures, best practise frameworks and processes
  • Mature & commercialise our Service Catelogue and use it to grow the business
  • Continuous improvement through innovation and integration
  • In the meantime the SMT is scheduling a series of one-to-one sessions.
Let me close by saying that I’m looking forward to working with you all. See you on Friday 22 Jan’16 at the staff meeting and looking forward to meet you at the Waterside afterwards.