Joined-up partnership the key to savings, says new research

Public sector and local government organisations are missing out on efficiency and improved service delivery because they lack a coherent communications strategy. That’s according to research carried out by Coleman Parkes following a commission from communications specialists, O2.300 organisations in all sectors talked to researchers about their approach to communications – such as data networks, WAN and LAN, and fixed and mobile lines – and the challenges and opportunities they currently face.
The resulting report concluded that supplier consolidation and partnership with a single communications provider is the key to greater cost savings.
Integration difficulties
Across all sectors, the report indicates that greater efficiencies and improved service delivery come from joined-up communications and enhanced partnerships with suppliers. The research also suggests that multiple suppliers lead to high management costs, making it difficult to efficiently integrate services. According to the data, more than eight per cent have six service providers, which require extensive day-to-day monitoring and management. It also makes contract negotiations extremely difficult when trying to clarify service level agreements, and exactly who is delivering what. “A single consolidated supplier cuts the time and money spent handling multiple vendors. The public sector and local government data is especially pertinent, and highlights that a move to a more coherent communications strategy could help reduce costs, and create opportunities for more effective working – essential for public bodies in the current financial environment”, said Neil Prior, Government Sales Manager at O2.
The report finds strategic differences between private and public sector bodies. The latter generally have fewer suppliers, but are more likely to have separate voice and data networks (as well as more PBX than any other industry), are noticeably more focused on cost, and often make less use of advanced hosted technologies and solutions such as the cloud, hosted voice and colocation.
The message is that while the public sector may be in the lead on commercial consolidation, it could make further gains in cost and efficiency by exploiting the most recent technological advances.
When it comes to voice technology, public sector organisations are the most likely of all to use a single supplier. Forty six per cent source their fixed and mobile communications from the same supplier – far more than any other sector.
Yet the same bodies are less likely than any other sector to have a mobile device management solution in place. And lack of integration and the cost were seen as the biggest challenges for managing multiple suppliers.
All in all, the report clearly demonstrates the need for a clear communications strategy, and the importance of communications and supplier consolidation as a means to improve business processes. It could be as simple as a managed service for WAN, LAN, fixed and mobile lines and data networks, a mobile solution to keep staff productive on the move, or the introduction of applications like hosted voice and virtualised environments. Notably, only seven per cent of all organisations surveyed had a communications strategy to match their business goals.
New approach
O2 have recently stepped into the joined-up space with the launch of O2 Unify, a joint venture with 2E2, one of the fastest growing IT service providers in Europe. They can now provide benefits like lower management time and costs, single bills, a single helpdesk, clearer reporting and better visibility of potential savings. Consolidation is at the centre of the offering, as is security and transparency, with clear ROI. Technical services like managed mobility, managed networks, collaborative working, cloud and vertical solutions are all on offer. And for the first time in the market, O2 are offering end-to-end management of the entire communications package – providing a convenient service wrap.
O2 has recently taken on Chichester District Council’s (CDC) voice and data networks, as well as replacing unnecessary devices with mobile apps. And after observing the success of a mobile working project and its positive impact on customer engagement, Ellis Cooper, Assistant Director of IT at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, described their working relationship: “The success of the project owes a lot to the dedication of the account manager. There is a real partnership in terms of delivering mobile technology support.”
For more information on how to join up your communications, call O2 on 01235 433485.