Context and Drivers

Two of the biggest NHS Trusts in the country (Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and  Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust) came together to create one of the largest NHS healthcare organisations in Greater Manchester and the North West, in what has been described as an ‘exciting opportunity’ to serve a population of over 1 million people under a new Group arrangement of hospitals and community healthcare services.

The new Northern Care Alliance NHS Group brings together five local hospitals, 2,000 beds, specialist and acute services, a range of community services, and over 17,000 staff.

The alliance called for the Trusts to rationalise their IT, preventing a ‘two of everything’scenario. With pressures on the healthcare system increasing, it was important to identify how the combined Trusts could benefit from economies of scale and create one shared strategy and new service model.

Key Considerations:

  • The creation of ICOs and the inception of a shared service
  • Joining of two Information Management & Technology organisations
  • Duplication
  • Cost saving targets
  • Estates reduction
  • Limited capacity


Following a procurement exercise, Shaping Cloud – a Microsoft Gold Partner – was appointed to deliver an SC:Strategy, a consultancy programme designed to kick start the Group’s journey into the public cloud.

The Northern Care Alliance’s SC: Strategy carried out a cost analysis and provided a business case for moving to cloud technologies that was in line with the organisation’s strategic aims.




Northern Care Alliance

Launch Date:

January 25, 2018


Shaping Cloud’s consultation helped The Northern Care Alliance’s senior team understand the commercial and technical impact of a cloud-based model and identified a transformation strategy.

Microsoft Azure was found to provide many solutions to the Alliance’s key drivers, including:

  • Removing all technology capacity barriers and ensuring no capital hardware refreshes or physical limit on storage or computer power
  • Removing physical space limitations, such as rack space or floor space
  • Simplifying collaboration as all services are in one place within a single trusted layer of identity

By moving to a Hybrid Operating Model from On Premise (Baseline), savings in excess of £3 million over five years were identified, with additional savings possible from:

  • Rationalisation through modernisation
  • A shift in the operating model, and
  • Outcome based service provision.

Lancashire County Council

Director of ICT Services

SC: Consult was a great opportunity to work with Shaping Cloud and Microsoft

SC: Consult was a great opportunity to work with Shaping Cloud and Microsoft as we assess the benefits of moving to Microsoft Azure. Within a month we were provided with a feasibility study on which services and applications would be the best candidates for the Azure platform along with a detailed financial breakdown. The speed with which Shaping Cloud were able to understand and map our complex environment and then deliver outputs of such quality and depth was truly impressive.