Embracing open source technologies

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, Acute

The problem

The Royal Marsden Finance team needs to cost-effectively meet the specific operational needs of a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) pharmacy through implementation of an automatic digital finance and reporting system. Because otherwise extra staff are required to manage the additional administration – attracting people costs, creating data delays and risking error, and whilst bringing additional licence costs, the traditional proprietary approach might not provide sufficient flexibility to react to the developing WOS or give options for integration with required systems.

The challenge

  • How might we deliver a modern looking, intuitive and functionally effective system within a short period of time to manage the financial operations of a newly-formed subsidiary?
  • How might we find a way to minimise the recurrent costs traditionally associated with Financial systems without compromising on quality?
  • How might we build a system able to flexibly accommodate changes so that we can meet our evolving needs over time?
  • How might we obtain a system capable of easily integrating with other business systems and to ingest data without costly or time-consuming development overheads or the requirement for specialist knowledge?
  • How might we be able to access financial date in real-time to provide bespoke reports for management insight while avoiding the human errors often associated with spreadsheet reporting?
  • How might we provide automated reports for monitoring purposes so that issues can be explored and solved as required?
  • How might we deliver the necessary automation of processes so that we can increase staff productivity?
  • How can we train end-users effectively so that uptake of the system is positive and immediate?
  • How might we obtain a system that delivers a community marketplace of freely distributable add-ons to increase functionality without significant investment?
  • How can we obtain a system that is capable of covering the business requirements of a full Enterprise and not be limited in business scope coverage?

The outputs

The ‘tangible’ outputs that came from our innovation were:

  • Odoo Open Source ERP System proven for NHS use.
  • Integration with the Wellsky pharmacy system and RBS bank.
  • Compliance with HMRC Making Tax Digital Requirements.
  • Real-time reporting and access to data.
  • Low-effort and sustainable operations.

The outcomes

  • As a result of this project, the Trust realised:
  • A way of managing complex financial operations via a digital system owned in perpetuity.
  • £200,000 in cost savings on license fees by switching from proprietary technology and opting for a free and open source solution.
  • Increased staff productivity due to joined-up data and departments requiring less manual administration.
  • Opportunities for iterative improvement to the system whenever required.

The Innovation

Read the full innovation on embracing open source technologies

All the documents and resources relating to this innovation can be found in the downloads section at the bottom of the page.

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Innovation showcase, 8th July 2022

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What the peer-reviewers said

“The use of open Source Software allows flexibility and the use of apps, whilst remaining a very cost effective ERP solution. this example should encourage other organisations to consider open source software options.”

“Bespoke build – giving the organisation exactly what they want instead of a “make do” traditional product With it being a bespoke built – the adaptability has the potential to be limitless Cost Savings but tangible from the system cost perspective and then intangible re time savings which can be reinvested into other value adding aspects of the organisation.”

“This development most definitely deserves recognition. The organisation thought outside of the box and delivered savings both tangible and intangible and also improved the quality of its outputs whilst doing so.”

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Here are all of the documents and resources related to this innovation

Innovation S1


Supporting evidence S1

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