With more than 12,000 computer connections in the hospital, its clinics and its affiliated medical schools, and not nearly the in-house expertise needed to run an efficient email system, Cancilla decided to look for her answer in the cloud .
Grady Health System in Atlanta updated its network and email system with Microsoft Exchange Online.
The hospital turned to Microsoft and its Exchange Online email service to do it.
"That was a very clear decision," she said. "We were rebuilding the whole infrastructure. We were trying to keep the lights on with all the old stuff. We ... didn't have the depth of experience within our own ship to be good at this. Email upgrades and conversions are not easy, and you need an engineer who's experienced or you just run into a litany of problems. We knew we needed to align our resources."
However, as a health care provider responsible for holding sensitive patient information, Cancilla said Grady needed to make sure that its emails would be safe and secure in the cloud.
"It was absolutely one of our considerations," she added. "We had to make sure we had security , and we had to know how things would be secured in the cloud. We also had to make sure that we'd be compliant with some of the e-discovery regulations going forward."
Cancilla said she figured the hospital's email would be safer and more stable in the cloud than it would be having the hosptial IT staff trying to do it on their own.
"There are certain things in your home that you'd be willing to tackle on your own," she noted. "You'd paint a room but replacing plumbing or electric, you might not have the experience to do. This is what Microsoft does. This is what they do for a living. They have a much greater depth of knowledge and experience. It's like calling a contractor."
Cancilla said she considered two other companies, though couldn't say which ones, before deciding to go with Microsoft. She said Grady chose Microsoft because the software maker had experience working with them and the company was eager and responsive about the project.
Grady Health began its migration by going from department to department in the summer of 2010. The whole move, which went smoothly, took six to seven months.
"Groupwise was retired," said Cancilla. "Unfortunately, we were too busy trying to bring up the new system or we would have had a party."