One is the magic number: Al Noor opts for a single-vendor stack
Al Noor Hospitals Group unifies its siloed branches onto a single network infrastructure
Founded in 1985, Al Noor Hospitals Group is the largest private healthcare provider in Abu Dhabi. It currently operates a number of fully-fledged hospitals, as well as specialist clinics and polyclinics. In 2006, Al Noor Hospital was established in Al Ain, and two years later, the group inaugurated a purpose-built hospital campus on Abu Dhabi’s Airport Road. Other expansions have seen the group move to Abu Dhabi’s Western Region.
The group is affiliated with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), as well as the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi. In April 2000, Al Noor was awarded the ISO 2002 certification, becoming the first private hospital in Abu Dhabi to achieve the award. And as the company has grown, so too has the number of accolades it has picked up. Now, the group is one of the most formidable private healthcare providers in the Gulf.
Indeed, Al Noor Group’s growth trajectory has been aligned with the growth of Abu Dhabi itself, according to Wissam Ismail, corporate director of IT at Al Noor Hospitals Group.
“The growth for Abu Dhabi has been phenomenal, and Al Noor has been aligned with that growth. We are the number-one private healthcare operator in Abu Dhabi. Right now we’re at about 640 physicians and about 1,000 nurses, and about 4,000 staff in total,” he says.
The company has seen such strong prospects that has been listed on the London Stock Exchange. However, prior to the public floating of the company, Al Noor had to tackle a number of organisational issues that prevented it from being the world-class entity that it is now. This presented a number of key business challenges, but perhaps the biggest challenges were in the IT systems that would have to be shifted over to a new way of working.
“In 2010, when we were looking at going public for the first time, we formalised a corporate office and created an entity that would oversee the hospitals. Initially, each hospital was its own business — they were completely separate, they were not even linked together or anything,” Ismail explains.
“I joined in 2010, and tried to bring all of the IT infrastructure, IT services and solutions under one umbrella and take the group to the next level.”
While Al Noor had experienced rapid growth from its inception up to about 2010, opening numerous hospitals and clinics around the UAE, the company’s IT systems had been feeling the strain. As Ismail points out, as a private healthcare company, Al Noor’s focus lies on delivering the best healthcare it can while turning a profit. This often meant that IT was pushed to the side of the decision-making process — with the department having to ‘do more with less’, as well as struggle with a siloed infrastructure.