"We would typically cut-over four hospitals per month over the 18-month period. At the point of cut-over you not only need to move historical information but future bookings, and data about current patients. So that was extensively tested to make sure that it all went well on the day, as we could not shut down any of the hospitals."
The PeopleSoft system has allowed BMI Healthcare to further its business analytics strategy, said Cowley. The company had previously implemented IBM Cognos, backed up by an Oracle data warehouse, but its impact had been limited due to the disjointed nature of the previous financial management tool.
Having a central system that is also Oracle-based meant that the firm could feed information into the analytics system more effectively and in a more timely manner, he said.
"Because PeopleSoft allowed us to have much better information to hand we now have an ongoing project looking at improving and making better use of our management information."
Before choosing PeopleSoft, BMI Healthcare considered a number of other vendors in the space, with a shortlist also containing Lawson and CSC.
However, it excluded a number of US software-as-a-service vendors in the market from the selection process, due to the internal business requirement that patient data was kept within the UK.
"It is difficult to consider [many cloud suppliers] because many are US-based, and patient confidentiality is absolutely utmost in our minds all of the time. So we are very strict about both the security of our patient data and where our patient data goes in terms of physical location," said Cowley.
"Having patient data outside of the UK warrants extra caution - having patient data outside of the EU is something that we are not doing at this time."
Going forward, the firm intends to continue to use the ability to develop on top of PeopleSoft, with the planned introduction of a module to support the NHS 'Choose and Book' national electronic referral service later this year. BMI already supports NHS 500,000 patients each year and it is a growing area for the company.
"This is a good example of where PeopleSoft is adaptable; we can grow it to not only help meet a business need, but also drive a business initiative through it," said Cowley.
"If we had gone with some of those other vendors we would have had to develop outside of that product and integrate it, rather than developing within the product."
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