Tags: ECM

Stabilising NHS IT: How ECM Could Play A Vital Role

Ultimately we have to re-stabilise NHS IT following the WannaCry malware attack  and ensure it’s totally bulletproof from now on.

That’s the practical message from SynApps Solutions’s Head of Healthcare, Gary Britnell, who’s taken a sobering look at the situation the NHS is left in after this month’s malware attack that left many Trusts and GP surgeries offline.

This is a problem that needs the joint, smart thinking and collaboration of the NHS, the Department of Health and the supplier base, he says.

The key to that stabilising process has to be modernisation. It’s definitely time to upgrade hospital architecture, he argues, while better adherence to standards and great software design will help.

A key player here could be ECM-powered NHS content platforms, he says, as ECM version control, encryption at rest to stop unauthorised access will promote better security and reliability of healthcare systems across the board.

Finally, ECM content is stored in the server and separated from the desktop, which always helps guard against intrusion like WannaCry.

Find out in more detail here how ECM can help prevent future NHS ransomware crises

SynApps Lays Out A Vision Of A Fully Digital Police Process



In a recent blog article, SynApps revealed another exciting solution for the public sector it’s working on with its customers – this time, in law enforcement.

The Police are always watching the clock when they get a suspect to the station, and it’s a clock that can’t be bargained with, either. As the hit Channel 4 show has shown us, 24 hours (longer if it’s a serious crime or a terrorist act) sounds like a long time, but just isn’t; the race us on to get a case assembled, witnesses and suspect interviewed, liaison with the CPS has to happen, and so on.

What’s more, as digital evidence is becoming more and more central to modern law enforcement, the sector’s entering the era of even more CCTV, body-worn cameras on officers, evidence gathered by iPhone or digital camera, and so forth.

As a result, the company foresees, the sector’s going to have to find ways to properly manage, store and, crucially, search and properly label and timestamp, such digital evidence. Which is where modern content management comes in, in the shape of what SynApps and our tech partners can offer. That’s because ECM is the missing link in digital evidence management in terms of what’s needed to capture, move, search, store and systematically archive such important material – and achieve the fully joined up digital justice system the Crown, public and Police themselves know we all need.

Read the longer version of this vision here

SynApps To Launch A Full Evidence Management System To Help Police Deliver Modern Digital Justice

Content management firm’s integrated digital interview solution is being evolved into a full evidence management system in collaboration with key technology partners

Hatfield, UK, 31 January, 2017 – Content management leader SynApps Solutions is to evolve its SynApps-developed digital interview solution into a full evidence management system in order to help UK Police meet the growing digital evidence requirement in modern law enforcement.

Built on a market leading Enterprise Content Management platform and open standards support for multiple data formats, including open source, available on-premise or cloud, the new Evidence Management solution will offer Chief Constables ways to work with content of all types.

Such a comprehensive solution is needed as it will be a key aid in transitioning to digital evidence management, providing a chain of digital evidence, from fingerprints to sound and video recordings, for the Police, the CPS, and other stakeholders in modern digital justice.

The platform can “evidence enable” existing policing systems providing officers with an immediate and complete view of the case.

“We are witnessing growing demand for modern content management solutions by our Police customers,” confirmed SynApps’s Joint CEO and Sales & Marketing Director Mark Winstone.

“Digital evidence is increasingly central with the police being expected to manage, store, search, properly label and timestamp evidence for their use as well as today’s digital citizenry,” he added.

The Home Office has highlighted the need for a comprehensive and joined up programme of digital transformation, SynApps points out, which will be difficult to deliver with manual and paper-based systems.

“We are working closely with our partners and Forces to properly understand and meet the challenges they face from the demand for digital evidence management,” he said.

The SynApps delivered and developed Evidence Management solution promises

• A secure “pick-up” server for loosely coupled integration with existing and future capture devices
• Digital fingerprinting to maintain evidential weight
• An Open API for closer integration with existing capture devices
• The ability to store and manage any digital evidence, regardless of format or size
• A way to “Evidence enable” existing policing systems
• Comprehensive CCTV codec support
• Annotation and redaction support
• Retention and Records Management
• Secure content transfer portal with CPS or other agencies.

To find out more about how SynApps can assist your Force in managing data, get in touch. You can also read our most recent article on the announcement here.

About SynApps
SynApps is an independent services and solutions company specialising in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies. Founded in 2003 by former Documentum services professionals, the company provides consultancy, implementation and support services for EMC Documentum and Alfresco, and has authored a suite of content integration solutions, ConXApps, that allow businesses to quickly maximise their investment in ECM technologies. Organisations across healthcare, government and commercial markets rely on SynApps solutions and services to capture and share knowledge more dynamically and efficiently.

Find out more here, or follow the firm on Twitter @Synappssol

24 Hours In Tomorrow’s Digital Police Station


Mark Winstone reveals another exciting solution for the public sector SynApps is working on with its customers – this time, in the Police sector

I want to briefly talk to you about some work we’re doing in one of our core markets, that of Police, which we’ve worked in for about seven or eight years now. I can’t go into as much detail as I’d like to, as some of the specifics are still being worked out. So what I can say is fairly ‘top level’ – but suggestive of the route of travel here.

It’s an interesting route of travel. Rather like the exciting work we’ve talked about in the NHS, it’s about us helping real-world organisations on the policing frontline solve real problems with our content management technology. And like that NHS work, it’s early days – but we think we’re on to something deeply practical.

What we’re trying to be practical about is the problem of time. The Police are always watching the clock when they get a suspect to the station, and it’s a clock that can’t be bargained with, either. If you’ve seen 24 Hours In Police Custody, this will be familiar to you.

The basic issue is that the Police have only so long to work with a suspect. Under the law, the Police can only hold someone for up to 24 hours before they have to charge them with a crime or release them (though they can apply to hold an individual for up to 36 or 96 hours if they’re suspected of a serious crime, e.g. murder, and you can be held without charge for up to 14 days If you’re arrested under the Terrorism Act (see here).

That sounds like a long time, but it isn’t; a case needs to be assembled, witnesses interviewed, as well as the suspect with their solicitor, and so on. Now, don’t think all anyone wants here is to press charges. Bringing cases to trial that can’t be won is a waste of time and resources; quickly having solid proof that this is the wrong line of enquiry gets the police back out on the beat quicker than finding the actual culprit; keeping someone in a cell for longer than they need is expensive and unhelpful. Accurate Policing is better for everyone – and quick and accurate is best of all.

Looking after digital evidence right is best for all of us, when you think about it

But what’s been really dogging many Forces is the added, needless complication of processing the digital evidence component of all this.

That matters, as digital evidence is becoming more and more central to modern law enforcement. As we move into an era of even more CCTV, body worn cameras on officers, evidence gathered by iPhone or digital camera, etc., then we’re going to have to find ways to properly manage, store and, crucially, search and properly label and timestamp, such digital evidence – for both the Police, the Courts and, critically, for all of us as digital citizens.

At the same time, in March the Home Office published a set of proposals for modern Police effectiveness that highlighted the growing importance of the electronic aspect of investigation and the need for “a comprehensive and joined up programme of digital transformation across policing” (see Modern Crime Prevention Strategy).

But if you have a system where you are trying to share files on DVD, manually, then this is time consuming and costly taking officers away from front line policing – which is not doing the best for the safety of the public or enabling officers to get better outcomes during an investigation. You’re also not doing the job the taxpayer really deserves if you aren’t efficiently storing or managing evidence, which may of course become crucial months, even years, down the line if there’s a break in a cold case or allegation of injustice. You want good chain of evidence, ideally from the first time the authorities get involved to historic file evidence, from a digital fingerprint to sound and video recordings of interviews, and so on: this is no less than we’re all entitled to expect in 2017, as it’s the most efficient way of delivering real 21st-century justice.

SynApps: the public sector partner

So better ways of working with digital evidence is something wanted by both Forces (as management of such evidence is their responsibility), the CPS and the government (in the shape of the Home Office and its agencies). And this is where modern content management comes in, in the shape of what SynApps and our tech partners can offer, as ECM is what is needed here to capture, move, search, store and systematically archive such important material.

I’m delighted to say that very soon just such a solution will be on the market. It’s a new integrated SynApps-delivered digital interview solution that we’ve developed for one Force that is being evolved into a full evidence management system in collaboration with some other technology partners.

Together with the great work we’re doing for the NHS around IDCR, the work SynApps is doing in digital Policing underlines how much we support the public sector, as well as how much our approach solves genuine problems here too.


Mark Winstone is Joint SynApps CEO and Sales & Marketing Director


SynApps Announces June Healthcare Event Series

May 23rd, 2016 – SynApps has today announced dates for  its June Healthcare event series.

Working in collaboration with partners Alfresco and Kainos Evolve, the healthcare seminars bring together clinical teams to develop digital maturity and improve patient care and offer an opportunity to discuss how optimising the flow of information and processes within healthcare organisations is vital to achieving this aim.

Supported by NHS England, the events will be led by national programme leads plus CIOs from two of the UK’s most digitally mature Trusts, who wil share learning from successful projects.

Aimed at CIOs, IT Leads, Operations Directors and Commissioners, these free to attend sessions run from 1.30pm to 6pm and will be followed by a Q&A panel, drinks and canapés.


London, June 22 – King’s College, Waterloo Campus, London SE1 9NH 

Richard Jefferson, Head of Programme Commissioning at NHS England, will be joined by David Taylor, Programme Lead at Virtual Worlds and Medical Media at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.


Liverpool, June 23 – Maritime Museum, Liverpool L3 4AQ

David Walliker, CIO at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust will be leading this session, highlighting the strategies and solutions that have helped Liverpool Women’s achieve the highest level of digital maturity for both its readiness and infrastructure.


Getting Your Stress Testing Right

29 March, 2016 – According to SynApps Solutions’ joint chief exec James Paton, users can avoid a lot of problems with moving to the cloud by not viewing an ECM solution like a website.

Specifically, James discusses how, with website-driven logic, you assume you’re going to have 10,000 users hitting the website at the same time –  when that’s actually not your best metric to help when building a new enterprise content management system.

While there may be some busy periods for which you have to account, what you actually need to measure the system on is concurrent users, he explains – and that when you come to load testing your ECM solution, treating it the way users access a web page generally results in bringing it to its knees.

This is useful advice that may help you avoid wasting a lot of hassle! To read the full article, go here.

How To Win Your Share Of Beverly Bryant’s New NHS Tech Budget

stethoscope-840125_1920Gary Britnell, who leads SynApps Solutions’ work in the NHS market, finds much to reflect on in a previous US Presidential race

Back in 1992, a certain James Carville came up with a phrase that helped the guy he was working for win a big competition.

You might have heard about his boss, if not him: I am referring, of course, to the successful Democratic challenger Bill Clinton’s race to the White House on the back of a tellingly-simple slogan:

‘It’s the Economy, stupid!’ (see here)

Well, I think we need another new slogan for health informatics and health IT (HIT) in the post National Programme for IT NHS:

‘It’s ECM, stupid!’

What actually works in British hospital settings

Not that I am calling anyone who works in the NHS stupid, to be clear.

What I am saying is that the scar tissue we all acquired during the years of the National Programme needs to be used in a positive way – and inform a next generation of truly useful, value-adding hospital IT technology roll-outs.

I should know. I was there. I wasn’t a front line NHS CIO or CCIO, but I started off in health IT recruitment and put some senior IT people into key roles in the bigger Local Service Provider areas.

That experience led me to set up a consultancy that did a lot of work alongside the Programme, which deepened my knowledge of what works and does not work in British hospitals.

One insight is that we don’t have an insurance-based model of compensation – so parachuting in huge US EPRs that were predicated in every line of code on such a model was never going to work.

A lot of those years were very frustrating, to be honest. However, I watched some great work – the Spine is the prime example – of fantastic, collaborative information-sharing functionality that helped a lot of health institutions.

But that was the exception, and a lot of the time, there was a great deal of metaphorical banging my head on my desk.

Was I the only one who could see that the missing link was a way to combine all the siloed hospital PAS and PACS systems into one, useful whole?

From National Programme to a great new NHS England-backed IT culture?

I wasn’t. Part of the recruitment work I did then was for a certain new ECM (Enterprise Content Management) firm, Documentum – which led to SynApps Solutions and indeed, my own role here now, working with our growing roster of NHS customers.

Last month, you’ll have seen that NHS England confirmed it has £4bn earmarked for making the NHS digital, delivering free wi-fi to all its hospitals, but also creating a great new wave of supportive IT applications (see here).

However, the money isn’t going to be handed out the same way it was for the former Programme. In the words of Beverly Bryant, director of digital technology for the organisation, she and her team are going to “look at the digital maturity” of all organisations bidding for money out of the fund.

Let’s help you win some of that budget for digital transformation!

SynApps is here to help. We can help you build a rock-solid business case that will help secure some new funding to deliver the electronic hospital systems you need.

And the key to that is ECM. ECM is the best way we’ve found so far, after all, to unify HIT systems into useful, coherent, safe and standards-based wholes.

So, Bill Clinton – I’m taking the slogan you rode all the way to the Presidency, and changing it to help SynApps customers win the backing they need to succeed as well.

Hope you don’t mind!


Gary is the Healthcare Account Manager at SynApps Solutions, and would be delighted to help with any enquiry you may have about how to use Enterprise Content Management to help your Trust secure some of the new NHS budget