Who Should Build Your Hospital Intranet?


A road sign showing two opposite directions to turn.
The intranet is a critical piece of your hospital’s infrastructure. It’s typically composed of multiple systems, applications and devices that work in concert to provide your staff with the critical resources they need to work effectively. At the center of this oft-dizzying array of systems is the ‘intranet website.’ Sometimes called an ‘employee portal,’ this website is the home base for your employees. It’s where they stay current with recent organizational news and policies. It’s where they find the day’s lunch menu, the CEO’s blog, the most recent vacation policy, contact information for colleagues, links to the other systems and more.
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Taking Stock of 2013: Trends in Release Frequency, Code Quality, Uptime and Client Satisfaction


Since we’ve wrapped up 2013 and announced the last VitalSite CMS release of the year, it’s an opportune time to reflect on how far we’ve come these last twelve months. Let’s start with some metrics related to release frequency.

If you remember, last March we revealed a strategic shift in how we were developing software. Influenced by innovative practices in software development like continuous delivery, we developed our own deployment automation capabilities. This allows us to deliver more features, faster, to the clients who request them.

How did it play out? If we look back on the year, we can see that we’ve had a record number of releases: eleven since the start of 2013, and nine since we started automating our deployments.

A timeline showing the releases of VitalSite CMS in 2013
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From The Department of Redundancy Department

At Geonetric, we build some amazing stuff. But sometimes, we put our engineering talents to use to break things.

In the last year or so, we’ve custom-built a new approach to redundancy for our entire Web hosting infrastructure. The idea is that we can hit the system with any type of failure or disaster and every one of our sites will keep humming along like nothing happened.

During that time, we have completely overhauled our entire hosting infrastructure to provide greater performance, security, and uptime to our clients. First, our design and configuration was carefully planned and implemented to include automatic redundancy from the get-go. We spent months selecting components and working with hardware and software vendors to find the right combination of parts. Then we tested in our pre-production lab. Once everything was finally in place this past spring, we repeated the tests monthly by gracefully failing the systems.

Everything worked like a charm.

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What’s This Thing Gonna Cost?

Budget time is coming up and if a major upgrade to your Web operations is in the stars for you, figuring out where to begin can be a challenge. Website redesigns are one of those items that most organizations don’t do often. And with changes in the industry and in consumers’ expectations, what’s gotten you by in the past doesn’t necessarily provide you with a path for future success.

The question of what a major site redesign really costs has a very simple answer: it depends. This all comes down to the classic project management triangle. There are three factors that are interdependent – scope, cost and time. Increase the scope and costs go up. Cut the budget and functionality suffers. Set a tight timeline, and you’ll feel pressure on the scope and costs along the way.

To help sort this out, clearly separate your “must have” and “nice to have” items. If you absolutely must have a new site in place by June 30, 2013 because your current vendor will pull the plug on your existing site that day, then that’s a must have. When it comes to scope, you should attempt to budget for the items you want, but it’s useful to understand what you’re willing to give up if you don’t receive all of the funds you’ve requested.

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