Archive | April 2015

Public Sector Procurement – delays?

With just over two weeks to go before the election, the temptation is still present to delay procurement decisions, to hold back on releasing strategies and to avoid hanging your hat on investment decisions.

The problem is that it isn’t just a case of a couple of weeks. If you roll back to 2010, the Purdah period and the creation of the Coalition seemed to stretch these decisions. Weeks became months before business as usual was resumed. The IT Managed Service Framework (RM707) was a casualty of this delay.

Is this the case now? In our view, apparently not. Major bids and campaigns are still being released. Pre Qualification Questionnaires have snuck in before Purdah and the announcement of the Crown Hosting DataCentre Ltd joint venture suggests this was contracted in a record breaking 6 weeks! We also hear today that the Crown Commercial Service will be announcing the intention to award places on the ITMS replacement, Technology Services Framework (RM1058). Critical as another route to market for the success of Crown Hosting .

So the wheels haven’t fallen off Government Business. It is still in rude health. For now. No one can anticipate how things may change from May 7th. Watch this space…

An update from our 2015 Associates

Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher

My name is Tom O’Brien and I’m going to be talking about those who surround, help and support us as associates. That ambiguously could refer to just about everyone in the organisation, however I’m going to focus on the role of my buddy, coach, mentor and sponsor, who have all been essential so far in giving me exposure and experience in all areas of the business.

Before I dive into that, let me just thank Maria for kicking off the associate blogs in such a cracking fashion! Couldn’t agree more with her assessment of the first couple of months! It was a whirlwind of action, but what an experience (one I’ll never forget).

One thing I’ve learnt so far on the programme is that you are never more than an e-mail or call away from someone willing to give up their time for you, in order to push you forward in the right direction. The supporting network surrounding the associate programme doesn’t just end with the immediate associate team, headed up by Sue Harris (Head of Knowledge & Associate Programmes), who has been brilliant throughout; it extends to various influential people positioned to give you the best support possible.

 I’ve struck lucky – but that’s the way we all feel!

My introduction usually goes something like this, “My names Thomas O’Brien, I’m aligned to Mike Mudd and Allison McLean, with John Charalambous as a buddy…” After, a general echoing of approval follows and it starts to sink in just how fortunate I am to have these people “on my team”.John Chara

A buddy is as a reference point for someone who’s followed the same path. John Charalambous (Service Management Associate) is someone I can go to with all those questions that crop up along the way, in John’s case, he’s had to put up with an awful lot! John’s also there to share his experience with me, the kind of things that you can only realise as you progress through the programme. He checks over PowerPoint’s, gives advice and generally points me in the right direction using that wealth of Scottish wisdom.

A coach helps to focus on performance in the targeted role and general development of skills. Coach Mike Mudd (Senior Service Manager) ensures I’m on the right path. Supportive is Mike’s middle name, I’m never far away from a great piece of advice or an insight into the life of a service manager. He’s ensured that I’ve gained a rounded understanding of service management, and that I’m exposed to any learning opportunities that come my way. Spending a lengthy time with him and his team on site at the Morrison’s account has advanced my skills but also given me a real picture of the complexity of managing an account.

AlisonA mentor’s role is help, support and advice provided by an experienced person in order to develop and assist the progression of an associate.I have the great fortune of being aligned to Alison McLean (Service Director), who holds a wealth of experience. Alison is able to place a perspective on what I should be aiming for, she reminds me of the bigger picture and relates back to the journey she’s been on throughout her time at Computacenter.

A support team would not be complete without the backing and sponsorship of Julie O’Hara (UK Customer Service Director). This level of buy-in coming from such a senior position within the company enables all of us as (service management) associates to gain exposure to the wider business and strive to be the best we can.

Thank you for reading this month’s associate blog edition. Next up we have Lewis Bates who is one of our Sales Associates in the Financial Services and Retail sector. Should be a cracker!

Let us know your thoughts,

Thomas O’Brien

Service Management Associate

Multi channel “enables” users – UC “enables” multi channel. Get it right now !

Enabling users starts with understanding user desires and expectations. Gone are the days where IT operations teams were considered to be the “department of NO”, the user is now king and “do it now, do it my way is top of the users’ mind”. The 21st century high speed, always on digital enterprise has propelled user power and customer service to the fore as switching from one supplier to the next is as simple as the click of a mouse button. And to that end customer service, ideally utilising the plethora of digital native tools available is becoming the battleground for ongoing business success.

But customer service at the highest level cannot be at the highest cost through these times of tough margins and high customer churn. Somehow organisations must realise the holy grain of maximum customer satisfaction but via minimum systems / personnel investment and ongoing operational management. Enter the brave new world of remote expert advice, not via email, or phone or even video but via all of the aforementioned plus numerous other communications channels delivered in real time selected by the contacting customer. It’s all about customer service, the customer way, at a time or via a communications mode of their choice. The much maligned enterprise “UC” platform of old now plays a fundamental new role in the brave new world of multi-channel communication because it “ENABLES” user multi-channel communications. Get UC (Unified Communications) right, get the network right (optimised, energised, secure, performant) and you will find you have the digital foundation perfectly equipped to transform your customer service outcomes.

Multi-channel communication delivers real “service” without boundaries and the type of customer engagement mode that ‎creates true advocacy based on the experience feeling truly personal. Multi-channel remote expert advice is fast becoming a must have as an increasingly smart, intelligent device bound customer audience utilises those same tools for every personal or digital interaction. Picture a time where via a single device a user can talk, text, chat, browse, send and receive videos, email and more – “wait a minute, “that time is now“. Multi-channel is now the principal channel (s) – it’s time to so serve your customers on their time their way or they may not be your customers for long.

Until next time

Colin W

Twitter @colinwccuk