Black Country Healthcare on implementing Verto 365

“It feels like massive progress”

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust used pen and paper methods to identify the work being done throughout the organisation before implementing Verto 365. Now they run an instant report to pull up all major project work, at the click of a button.

Verto spoke to Adam Shaw, Transformation Programme Manager at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust on the impact Verto 365 has had within the organisation.

The challenge:

The Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is a mental health trust that has gone through many changes in recent years. With a total of 3,500 staff, they provide services to Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Dudley. They have a dual responsibility to carry out services both at a local level and an ICS system level, so that all services in the wider area are coordinated.

Two local trusts merged to form Black Country as it is now, just as Covid-19 began, so plans to put in place robust working processes, business plans and structures to manage the work being done were put on hold while they dealt with the pandemic. Each division had their own ways of working, but there was no overall view of everything going on in the organisation such as tracking or co-ordinating the work that was currently underway. Spreadsheets were being used to try to manage work during the difficult time, but there was no guarantee that staff were working on the right thing at the right time. Since work wasn’t planned based on a set of priorities like resource capacity, risk or impact, only mandated work was assured, with nothing centralised and reporting was manual and laborious.

The PMO team sought a centralised place for projects, which would enable better strategic decision making. They required a system that was self-serve so it could be updated by the wider workforce to relieve pressures on the PMO staff. They needed better ways of reporting that were reliant and consistent, and a place where documents could be stored in a logical way for all to access easily.

The impact:

Was the work accessible like it is now? Absolutely not.

Adam Shaw

Verto 365 was chosen to help Black Country track their ongoing work. Now project information is readily available for all to view and better, more informed business decisions are being made around prioritisation of work. As well as knowing what’s being worked on, highlight reports can now be generated each month to provide a detailed look at all live projects, simply. The monthly highlight reports have been specifically designed to fit the organisation’s needs, by both Black Country and Verto staff working together.

With Verto, I update the highlight report every month… press a button and it will produce a file for me with everything listed in the order I want it, because we’ve designed the report with the guys at Verto. It’s automated a load of reporting for us, freed up a load of time

Adam Shaw

Verto 365 is being rolled out to the wider organisation, organically, to allow teams the autonomy to suggest updates and additions as their requirements evolve, and as they see more benefits. This way, the system grows as needed and feels like a collaborative and collective effort, rather than a forced solution set by individuals.

The design, processes, look, and feel of their Verto 365 platform was dictated by Black Country to match existing processes that worked. It had to operate in a way staff would expect from the outset to ensure the system was used, and to encourage further uptake.

We use the same terminology, it’s in our corporate branding, people will recognise the stages.

Adam Shaw

The platform has been purposely kept simple, interactive, and easily accessible, making it a great tool for introducing to senior management as its popularity spreads. Gradually, the system is developing into something new as staff are becoming comfortable with the features and the benefits are apparent.

The system was designed around the current processes… not reinventing the wheel.

Adam Shaw

Verto 365 provides many user benefits to the Black Country staff. By having visible and interactive dashboards views, they can edit data easily. Being able to see everything you’re working on in one place within personal dashboards encourages higher usage of the system, which brings confidence and empowers staff.

With the addition of using Verto 365 in Microsoft Teams for dashboard management, data is more streamlined, and changes can be made faster. From an executive dashboard, showing work at a high level, to dashboards for each department, and a project management dashboard – all information is held in one place, where most staff are already collaborating. From using the Verto 365 Microsoft Teams app, there’s no need to log into the system at the front end, which negates the need to log in using a username or password – another time-saving win!

Teams was a big selling point for us. Having the dashboards in Teams, I now use them at every team meeting, and they’re just so accessible… at a glance, you can see all of this information you’ve put into the system!

Adam Shaw

So far, Verto 365 has just been introduced to the PMO but will soon be deployed to other teams, such as IT. The system is still in the process of being rolled out and certain processes are being considered to ensure that it is usable and recognisable at each stage of implementation.

In terms of adoption; within the team, it’s our currency.

Adam Shaw

Adam says: “I was able to reflect on what a journey that’s been over the past 15 months from; ‘this is what we think we’re doing’ to ‘here’s what we’re doing, here’s the owner and here’s the RAG status with the last highlight report so you can see that it’s working’. It feels like massive progress.”

Next steps:

The near-future plan involves figuring out a way to track all the tasks that need to be documented. It is a priority to understand all the different projects that people are working on and what their priorities are for greater justification of valuable resource across the serviced area.

The planned development strategy is three-pronged. The implementation of robust organisational tools, best-practice processes, and improved governance, is well under way. Incrementally rolling out to the wider workforce will happen in time, but Verto 365 was also recognised as having further potential. As a cloud-based platform Black Country can future-proof as a big plus was knowing it could be used at a system level, once they have their own house in order.

We look forward to our continued partnership with BlackCountry and being a part of their efforts to serve their community.

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