Lincolnshire is one of England’s largest counties, with a population of around 750,000. Lincolnshire County Council, (LCC) is responsible for delivering a range of essential public services, ranging from education and transport, through to public health and social care.
Promoting and improving the economic, social and environmental well-being of the community is its main focus. It aims to achieve this through putting the customer first and encouraging an innovative approach to service delivery. Access to resilient, secure and highly functional digital technologies is essential to its ambition to make the best use of its existing resources and deliver innovative new services.
Service provision for a 750,000 population
Focus on community improvement
Innovative approach to service delivery
With the end of its existing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement due within a year, LCC faced a tight time schedule to source a cost-effective, ongoing software management solution for its 5,000+ users. Imminent changes to Microsoft’s licensing models meant LCC could face a significant increase in the cost of maintaining its on-premise software estate if an alternative solution couldn’t be found.
Microsoft customers were given the option to approach resellers in search of a more cost-effective solution. It meant LCC could potentially secure a significant discount if an alternative agreement could be secured before the end of the current deal. “We put the contract out to tender via lot 2 of the Crown Commercial Service Technology Products 2 framework (RM3733), aware that any new provider would face a number of challenges,” said Paul Elverstone, LCC ICT Contract Delivery Leader. “It had to be quick off the mark, happy to work alongside outsourced software management provider, Serco, and able to secure a competitive price in line with the budget available.”
Critical Success Factors
· Secure new software licensing agreement
· Deliver within tight timeframe and budget
· Collaborate with third-party delivery partner
Ian Burgoyne, Softcat Microsoft Cloud & Licensing Consultant (Public Sector) takes up the story. “As with every tender we respond to, we focus not just on the price we can achieve but go to great lengths to highlight the value in service and ongoing support we provide throughout the lifetime of the agreement. Our response detailed the rigorous Public Sector operating model we have created to help organisations drive down costs and facilitate new ways of working.”
“When we studied the tender responses Softcat’s commitment to proactive account management stood out,” said Paul. “What was also clear was the knowledge and capabilities it had in the cloud-based services space. We had plans to migrate to cloud-based services, in particular Microsoft 365, as we transition to the Windows 10 platform and were convinced Softcat could help us make that journey as painlessly and cost effectively as possible.”
“With the contract agreed, we set about establishing close ties with the LCC IT team to better understand its current position and formulate a specific solution providing optimal functionality and best value for all LCC stakeholders,” said Rory O’Connor, Softcat Account Manager.
“We established a collaboration space and held workshops aimed at highlighting where added value could be built into the solution. This gave us the opportunity to clarify the security implications of individual solution elements and communicate to LCC exactly what a license is, how it works and how to maximise its value. We also highlighted how the solution could provide an uplift to the whole SQL server estate and gain best value from its wider licensing estate. In effect, it constituted a complete remodelling of how licensing works for LCC.”
“Rory and the Softcat team were in constant communication throughout the process. They came up with some great ideas and definitely helped us to wring as much value out of the solution as possible.” said Paul.
· Detailed tender response
· Proactive Account Management
· Complete remodelling of licensing agreement
· Delivery of a >£1m Microsoft Enterprise Agreement
“Fundamentally, Softcat has helped us secure a great value solution,” said Paul. “It provided a range of options that helped ensure the solution was the perfect fit for our organisation.”
The existing on-premise solution was effectively reaching the end of its useful life and the move to a cloud-based solution has enabled LCC to take advantage of attractive discounting. LCC’s ongoing licensing compliance obligations are now assured, while the new technologies will facilitate time-saving efficiencies, enhance flexible and remote working capabilities and, in general, simplify how the IT team do things.
“Once a solution is in place it’s far from the end of our involvement,” said Rory. “As part of our ongoing support we continually monitor intelligence to accurately predict potential outcomes, identify any tweaks that can deliver even more value and help drive operational improvements. It’s all about partnership and collaborating effectively.”
“That hands-on involvement is what sets Softcat apart from providers we’ve dealt with before,” said Paul. “Softcat’s commitment to an ongoing and close working relationship with us has really made the difference.”
Benefits at a glance
· Significant discount on high-value licensing agreement
· Enhanced functionality, security and flexibility
· Ongoing support and value in service commitment
"From every perspective, Softcat has been there for the long term,” said Paul. “We’ve been very impressed with how the solution has been delivered and the productive three-way relationship it has established to help us achieve best value alongside our third-party software licensing management provider, Serco.”
“Softcat’s proactive approach to account management is what really sets it apart from the competition. Its tender response clearly illustrated the in-house capabilities and knowledge it can call on when creating solutions to match an organisation’s specific needs. Our experience to date has been an extremely positive two-way street underpinned by effective communication and collaboration. It’s proof that when it comes to delivering the right solution, with the right support, at the right price, Softcat lives up to its word.”