Vodafone is expanding its enterprise division with the launch of four specialist business units covering health, criminal justice, local government and central government. The units will be up and running by the end of March.
The move is part of the operator’s strategy to widen and deepen its offering to the public sector, as well as helping the Government make the savings in public expenditure it is seeking. ‘Several hundred’ Vodafone employees will be supporting the new business units.
Vodafone was one of 19 top strategic suppliers called in by the Government last year and asked to help it find efficiency savings. The operator signed a Memorandum of Understanding to that effect in October 2010.
Peter Kelly (pictured), director of enterprise at Vodafone UK said: ‘We were asked what Vodafone could do to help. Central government spends £25bn a year on property, £2bn a year on fixed line costs and around £20m to £25m on mobile phone costs. We believe that by using new mobile ways of working government can reduce costs in the public sector by 10% to 20%.’
Ian Cunningham, head of public sector sales at Vodafone, said: ‘The Government is looking for £81bn in savings by 2014-15. That won’t be delivered just by making cuts. We need to look at new ways of procurement, such as a partner-led approach. We need to listen to customers and find out what they are trying to achieve and then provide smarter ways of working to deliver that.’
Cunningham added that this means supplying them with the right tools and tariffs, along with the right applications and services. For example, allowing the police to access the national crime database while on the beat, or health workers to access patient records while on home visits.
John Rutherford, head of public sector marketing at Vodafone said that the operator was driving 40% savings on property costs and 30% on travel costs at West Berkshire Council by allowing employees to work remotely, cutting the number of desks needed and redesigning office space.
Kelly said that despite the urgent need to make savings, there was recognition in Government that investment is needed to make greater savings down the line. He added that the Government welcomed new procurement methods such as vendors providing equipment and services under leaseback arrangements, thereby avoiding one off major capital outlays.