The Winning Hand

Business partnership tree puzzles

Public sector IT programmes are often complex as they must deliver efficient services as well as providing the highest security and resilience standards with tried and tested suppliers. Sensitive, confidential and personal data is increasingly being stored and processed by multiple public sector organisations in joint service delivery programmes and it is imperative that the IT and communications infrastructure in place is able to minimise any risk.

Many public sector organisations, such as NHS Trusts, follow technology developments closely in order to identify and implement technology that will ensure an improved, secure and more efficient service to ultimately enhance worker productivity and customer experience.


Currently many organisations are examining their communications network infrastructure options, either replacing their existing infrastructure entirely or upgrading an existing one by rolling out wireless capabilities to offer flexible and mobile working options. Why? Wireless technology is now mature and stable, and offer staff the ability to wirelessly achieve faster diagnosis in different locations on wireless devices. This is a real productivity enhancer for environments where many workers are not desk-based, such as hospitals, surgeries and social care.

Technology evolution is obviously a key driver for public sector bodies in making purchasing decisions, but what other factors are driving the uptake in wired and wireless network solutions?

A constant backdrop to all decision making in the public is the Operational Efficiency Programme, which has identified ‘breakthrough’ savings of £6.1bn a year by harnessing the public sector’s collective buying power and by streamlining procurement processes.

Unified Communications

In addressing targets while maintaining vital local services, all areas of the public sector are under intense pressure to do more with less – striving for innovation, improved service and lower costs. Cost reductions and legislation are both drivers in deploying new wireless infrastructures and communications advances such as unified communications, as public sector healthcare bodies strive to become more effective. Public bodies are saving tens of thousands of pounds a year because unified communications platforms direct all calls to the WAN, avoiding separate staff mobile call costs.

One such example of this service evolution is a recent project with Barts and The London NHS Trust, to provide an integrated fixed and wireless LAN and security infrastructure. The first phase in a three stage communications programme, the new infrastructure – due for completion in 2010 – will provide a single network able to handle all optical images, video streaming and traffic from multiple wireless devices and PCs for 300 beds at Barts hospital.

This is a major partnership with Enterasys, part of the Siemens Enterprise Communications Group, which will contribute to the wider £1bn building of the new hospitals at Barts (St Bartholomew’s) Smithfield and The Royal London’s Whitechapel sites by Skanska Innisfree, due for final completion in 2016. The two new hospitals will provide state-of-the-art care facilities covering 1,200 beds, boosting the Trust’s capabilities across its three hospitals. The Trust already has a world-wide reputation for excellence, Barts in cancer and cardiac care and The Royal London in acute services.


When working on major projects such as this, we believe a that an SI/vendor partnership model is crucial in securing and delivering multi-million pound projects to help public bodies meet demanding specifications for organisation-wide technology deployments.

As a systems integrator, we face intense competition to secure the opportunity to fulfil key public sector procurement requests and it’s important that we can develop strategies to sell as effectively as possible. Experience and market knowledge are clearly important factors in securing such contracts, but increasingly many public sector bodies are looking for a strong, expert knowledge of government markets and processes, as well as a demonstrable vendor/SI partnership to reduce the complexity of interacting with a number of different suppliers. We believe that as an SI, we can provide customers with a fully transparent vendor/SI supply chain that they like and believe in. The way to achieve this is by forming strategic partnerships with vendors to create a specific team for any given project – this presents the customer with fully transparent team that they can buy into, rather than the SI securing the business and keeping the vendor behind the scenes.

Ultimately, as the government continues to place increasing efficiencies pressure on all organisations in the public sector, technology will continue to play an important part in delivering increased operational and monetary efficiency. But the channel community must capitalise on this and understand the sector as effectively as possible when it comes to winning the opportunity to work on major public sector projects? Joining forces with vendors to create a strategic partnership is arguably crucial to creating the winning team – and as competition intensifies it is imperative that you are playing the winning hand.


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