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  • Writer's pictureProfessor Srinivasa Rao Vallabhaneni

Digital Technology for Rostering & Job Planning: Truly Transformational or Just Hype? – Part 2

Updated: Aug 3, 2023


Digital Technology for Rostering & Job Planning

Zebra Workforce Technology was founded with a radically different vision. Zebra provides a cloud-born platform of secure, all-encompassing, configurable, modular, interoperable digital technology. The front end of each module provides respective functionality competing with the best in class and specifically designed for the ever-evolving needs of NHS.  Zebra’s distinct and transformational potential, however, comes from the technological advances in its back-end architecture and how it supports the most revolutionary of computing trends: designed from scratch for data science.


Zebra systems are all-encompassing: an extensive range of application modules are provided covering e-rostering, e-job planning, temporary staffing, learning management, staff engagement, junior doctors module, leave & absence management, expenses, acuity & dependency etc. While each of the modules exceeds NHSI’s software requirement specifications and compete with the most popular systems, when deployed together multiple Zebra modules work seamlessly together. In fact, Zebra modules share a distributed database structure which not only makes deployment efficient but also provides cross-modular functionality and analytics. Trusts need no longer put up with job planning and rostering systems from the same vendor that do not integrate with each other or fail to provide ‘Planned versus Delivered’ analyses at the click of a button. But this is just an example.


Zebra systems are designed for a multi-professional workforce. The smart technology automatically recognises the profession, grade, employment contract, competencies, role etc. of each individual and applies rules and conditions unique to each. This advanced functionality allows you to build team rosters or departmental service line job plans combining multiple grades of staff from multiple professional groups: medical staff (Consultants, SAAS grades, Junior Doctors and Trust grades), Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Allied Health Professionals and Physician’s Associates


While NHS staff work in integrated teams and so much service delivery these days is competence-based, using rostering or job planning systems that break up teams along staff group lines (nursing / medical / AHP) is counterproductive and blocks any opportunity for identifying how efficiency can be improved across the whole team. If your staff are in multi-professional teams, you should use electronic systems specifically designed for that.

Zebra systems are a cloud-borne and configurable platform; not a rigid software system.


This gives a bespoke system configured for the needs of your Trust and even each department/service line within the Trust.  Workforce systems are typically procured for 3 to 5 years and stay in place for longer during which time you are likely to see major changes to the employment contract of at least one staff group. A flexible system gives you the freedom to apply Trust’s policies and priorities to the software functionality as they evolve. You do not need to follow the software, rather ask the software to follow your needs…

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