Ericom Delivers Lower Total Cost of Ownership for NHS Trust

PowerTerm® Pro Delivers Lower Total Cost
of Ownership for NHS Trust




East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust

Host Connectivity Solution

   PowerTerm® Pro for UNIX

Host Server

   OpenVMS Hosts on Compaq Alpha Servers via TELNET


   800 users in South East England, including Rye, Tunbridge Wells, Bexhill and Hastings.

The Challenge

   NHS Trust needed a full-featured yet affordable solution, for integrating Windows desktops with its clinical support applications residing on its UNIX host system.

The Solution

   NHS Trust used Ericom's PowerTerm Pro to integrate data on a wide variety of platforms. PowerTerm Pro provides one-click access to all NHS Trust's OpenVMS applications.

"With PowerTerm we made savings at purchase and because it reduces our technical support commitment, we're continuing to save in network support."
Margaret Ivatts, IT Manager, East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust

Supporting the Clinical Support Systems

Margaret Ivatts is Head of IT at East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust in South East England. Her Department's remit involves supporting voice and data services for the Trust's diagnostics, radiology, pathology, accident and emergency, maternity, finance and pharmacy services. Some 800 staff access the services throughout the region.

The clinical support systems, hosted on clustered Compaq Alpha Servers, are delivered to PCs throughout the Trust using terminal emulation software. Ivatt's department was running a combination of Ericom's PowerTerm InterConnect 5.25 and 5.4, Xlink VT420 and SmartTerm 420 when the decision was made in 2000 to upgrade its terminal emulation solution.

A new solution was required that would ensure a standardized interface for all applications and could be readily scaled as the Trust moved to greater integration. Ivatt's priorities were to make it easier for users to access and work with applications and to reduce the level of support required. The variety of applications used throughout the Trust meant that it was paramount to find a solution that was easily customized.

Ericom comes out ahead of competitors

Ivatts and her team conducted a thorough survey of terminal emulation solutions. Ericom's PowerTerm was reviewed alongside Xlink VT420, Reflection, SmartTerm and TigerTerm. PowerTerm held several important advantages over its peers including superior scripting capabilities, ease of key mapping, and the ability to provide one click access to all OpenVMS applications.

PowerTerm's competitive price and on-going lower cost of support proved the winning factors in the market comparison. Ericom's flexible licensing plan also allowed the Trust to roll out large numbers of users and keep licensing costs to a minimum, a strong advantage when compared to its competitors.

PowerTerm's capacity to self configure by accessing information for the PC's environmental variables, profiles and files and then create individual set up and connection scripts meant that the Trust's IT support team would not have to visit every PC - clearly a winning factor for any IT department.

Easy Installation

The initial installation was facilitated by mapping across scripts and key mappings from PowerTerm InterConnect 5.25 and 5.4 to PowerTerm Pro Scripts. A common installation script for all the OpenVMS application connections was developed. This enables a single installation of PowerTerm pro on each PC to self configure for each of the nine OpenVMS applications depending on the user's Windows NT Profile. A total of 22 scripts were developed, tested and documented over a period of about three weeks. The individual icons for the nine current applications were all set up and tested in a single day.

The Trust's IT team was impressed by the response of Ericom's customer support services when they found a problem mapping a particular key combination.

Working in partnership with the Trust's IT staff, Ericom's UK support center linked up with development staff at Ericom's head office in Israel and provided a fix to the problem very quickly. Throughout the project Ericom via a combination of email and telephone technical support have proved very responsive to our requests for assistance.

The Benefits of PowerTerm Pro for UNIX

A key challenge that PowerTerm Pro for Unix overcomes is management across a wide geographical area and across a variety of platforms. The stability of PowerTerm Pro for Unix means that it works consistently across all Windows environments on the PC, reducing management commitment and thus travel and downtime. One-click access and standardized scripting give users a familiar and easily navigated interface, significantly reducing their need for support. Ivatt's support staff is reaping the benefits of the standardized set-up and interface. PowerTerm has speeded up the implementation of different terminal set-ups and key mapping of each PC.


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