Leeds City Council saves £500,000 by moving to a converged mobile/fixed network

By Derek du Preez
08 Sep 2011 View Comments
Mobile phone and credit card

Leeds City Council saved £500,000 in 12 months following the implementation of a converged network.

The network replaced the original fixed line and mobile networks, which were provided by Orange. The tender for a fixed mobile convergence provider was issued in 2008.

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Damovo won the five-year contract in February 2010 and instantly began the  migration process away from the council's incumbent supplier.

"There are always challenges with migration. However, working with a strong internal IT team from Leeds meant we could effectively work with Orange, and we made sure we had weekly documented meetings about where we were with the transition," said Steve Stanley, public sector director at Damovo.

"So although it was painful from a process perspective, it didn't impact the end users. The migration was all about planning and ensuring we had a clearly defined and agreed transition plan up front.

"The key thing we have been able to do for Leeds is save them £500,000 in the first 12 months."

Leeds went live with its new private circuit in early 2010, and went on to create a converged corporate and private network.

This allows employees to dial each other via extension codes rather than dialling long mobile numbers.

Leeds City Council is also currently running a trial with Damovo to ensure that employees are charged for personal calls made on business phones, in a bid to further drive down costs.

"One of the issues that the council has is that people are using their work devices to make and receive personal phone calls. This is fine, but in times of austerity, they need to have an efficient method of reclaiming those call charges back from the user," said Stanley.

Working with Tiger, a software company that specialises in call logging, Leeds and Damovo have asked employees to submit a list of personal numbers that they intend to use, which will be logged and monitored.

"At the end of each billing period users will get a bill from their finance department asking them to confirm whether they made those calls or not. The cost of those calls is then deducted straight off their payroll, which has been made possible by integrating the software with the council's SAP payroll system," explained Stanley.

"If a user makes an ad-hoc personal call, which isn't on the pre-registered list, the council will tend to let it go. However, if the same number is recurring, the call reporting system will produce an exception report and indicate that there is a personal call pattern. The user is then billed accordingly."

The trial is currently being run on handsets for 20 members of staff and is due to end in November, and will then be rolled out to other employees.

In a bid to improve and simplify the management of handsets for the Leeds IT team, Damovo provided the council with a dedicated list of handsets that can be offered to employees.

Stanley highlights how the majority of the council's employees are not using smartphones.

"Leeds has a Windows operating environment so they tend to look at devices that support Windows mobile, such as the HTC phones," said Stanley.

"However, in truth, a lot of the devices we supply them with are low-end Nokia phones because when we looked at the profile of employees using mobiles, there was less than 15 per cent of what we would call power users. Not many of them needed the full smartphone capabilities," he added.

"We have also provided Leeds with a dedicated service delivery manager who meets with the council on a monthly basis and looks at trends relating to the mobile usage, what the new devices on the market are and what the trends of usage mean in terms of assigning users with a device."

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