Single unified communications technology implementation for multiple partners

Full Application: Not funded at this stage

Working in partnership, all authorities have investigated options available and explored the benefits of adopting new approach for communication technologies, together with utilising the benefits of a partnership approach to considering the market place, procuring and implementing a new solution.

This work has identified the opportunity for modern telephony, unified communication and collaboration technologies to offer substantially more than just basic telephony functions which it is believed can be used as an enabler for improved, agile ways of working and offer many opportunities to improve the working environment and the service offered to our end users.

The proposal has been developed in consideration of the Leicestershire District’s Digital Strategy objectives to introduce, manage and use digital technologies that make it easier than ever before for our residents to access council services digitally, specifically that;

  • Ambition and innovation will be embedded in our approach
  • Our workers will have the right skills and tools to do their job wherever they need it
  • Our future residents, businesses and customers will be able to access the services they need through the most appropriate channel for them
  • We will take every opportunity to consolidate applications, services and infrastructure
  • We will embrace and adopt investment opportunities in new technologies e.g. cloud
  • We will take every opportunity to work with other partners

The Partnership  have all committed and are preparing to implement the Alpha solution and would like some support with making sure that this ambitious implementation is fully captured and documented into a business case and strategy which can be made available for others to adopt.  By supporting the professional services required to engage and manage the preferred supplier the Alpha project intends to advise on the next steps for the development of the solution through an agile and iterative implementation.

Event milestones:

April – August 2018 –

  1. Engage with partner organisations
  2. Investigate the existing Unified Communication (UC) and Contact Centre (CC) estates with Leicestershire ICT Partnership Authorities
  3. Gathered functional specifications of existing UC and CC estates
  4. Document strategic objectives in regard to internal and external communications
  5. Validated findings from the ‘ready day’ engagement sessions
  6. Documented tailored business case aiming to solve issues highlighted, which exist across the four councils.
  7. High level cost / benefit analysis of three options  for meeting the identified needs
  8. Identification of a preferred solution
  9. Presentation to partner organisations

September – November 2018 –

  1. Business case and proposals submitted to Strategic Board, approved.
  2. External consultant appointed with remit of project lead.
  3. Timelines,  delivery schedule and project implementation objectives established Nov 2018 – Dec 2019 including the below defined key measureable outcomes;
  • One single cloud hosted communications solution system
  • Provide one number for each user – to be used seamlessly with desk based phones, mobile phones or softphones
  • Offer modern unified communication functionality – offering opportunities/options such as integration with MS Office calendars, instant messaging, video calling and conference calling
  • Implement one single contact centre solution – separately configured and implemented for partners as required
  • Integrate telephony Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity arrangements
  • Adopt one single support contract for all telephony elements (bills, lines, calls, technologies etc)


Business case has been created including a full cost assessment of the quantitative benefits of the anticipated solution costs.

Furthermore, a benefits assessment of the proposed implementation has been undertaken to include:

  • Single contract & supplier management – Reduced  hours spent managing supplier contracts and billing from LICTP Client and each partner authorities Finance Teams,  single supplier accountability for support issues. Quicker resolution to issues and frees up technical resources to progress other prioritised work
  • Staff productivity increase via collaboration technology – Efficient working via enhanced collaboration capability. Efficient resource management. Flexible and home working capability.
  • Enhanced DR capability – Reduced risk, reduced need for 3rd party DR capability, enhanced business uptime, consistent resource, sharing council buildings
  • Enhanced citizen service capability and reporting – Increased first time resolution impact, better oversight on resource allocation
  • Management self-service on both UC and contact centre technology – Lower reliance on IT to make real time changes to system(voicemail, numbers, devices)
  • Less Power Required & Lower Carbon Output – hardware and systems removed from local sites.

Discovery described in section 2 identified SopraSteria along with Lloyds IP and Dimension Data as the current suppliers of voice and Communication Network Support (infrastructure, software & hardware).

Some of the software and hardware products have reached “end of support” from the reseller (eg.Siemens) and are currently supported on a best endeavours fix basis. Other features (eg. contact centre software alterations at Melton) are not possible due to the age of the solution and are causing issues for organisations wanting to progress with developing customer service.

Billing for lines and call services are provided by BT, Talk Talk and Daisy.  Mobile services are currently provided by Vodafone and EE.

There is no interoperability between councils, between mobile and fixed telephony, between suppliers or solutions. The telecommunications estate has been adopted as part of the evolution of the LICTP shared service and the administration overhead is significant.

Modern functionality, such as collaboration, presence, instant messaging, intelligent customer interaction management is not available or only partially achieved through bolt on services.

Specific challenges;

  • Limited functionality across both platforms (HBBC and OWBC – voice only) Modern features – video conferencing / PCI compliance, digital channels e.g web and multimedia not available on all platforms (Hinckley and Oadby)
  • Additional media functionality and features for MBC and BDC will need to be activated based on requirements and may incur additional cost
  • Continued multi-vendor and multi-provider support increasing administration overheads
  • ICT knowledge and skills for aging systems and technology – Service Provider challenges to maintain support
  • Multiple points of failure due to the evolution of individual telecom solutions across multiple sites
  • Migrate ISDN to SIP channels increasing transition risk
  • Limited scope for Disaster Recovery and Business continuity scenarios

The solution objective is to implement a single unified communications solution platform across multiple partners tailored to address individual site requirements – a complete fixed and mobile communications solution that encompasses IP-PBX, mobile devices, desk phones, soft clients integrates fixed, mobile and desktop environments in a single IP-based solution – which can manage communications in a simple and cost-effective way.

The approach to understand multiple partner requirements and map these against a single supplier solution has demonstrated benefits of working across partner councils whilst engaging with a preferred technology provider.

When captured, the engagement approach, solution requirements, design and agile implementation developed with each of the 4 partner councils will be able to provide a detailed case study and reference guide that can be accessed by all public sector agencies seeking to upgrade or replace their own solutions.

A full and detailed business case has been produced to assess 3 options available to partner organisations. The preferred option agreed by all partners to adopt a single solution for modern telephony, unified communication and collaboration technologies has been costed together with a risk and cost / benefit analysis.

Consultation has been thorough and has explored both stakeholder and user contributions. Information has been collected, consolidated and tested in order to develop the solution and justify the proposal.

We have full commitment and approval for the business cases across all partners in relation to the service design and user research.

We anticipate being able to share our development of this project through the provision of a detailed case study and reference guide that can be accessed by all public sector organisations seeking to upgrade or replace their own solutions – effectively the development of trusted reference material to share with other local authorities.   This would benefit agencies accessing this material by enabling them to move at pace in the delivery of their own change objectives.

We anticipate the beta phase of the implementation post April 2019 to be the iterative deployment of the solution across partner 2, then 3, then 4 across the LICTP to a complete and mature solution scheduled for the end of 2019.

The users in scope are the staff employed by the authorities of the Leicestershire ICT Partnership (1250) – back office, front office and customer service centres.  Each group has been engaged and consulted as part of the alpha phase research and development of the business case.  In addition, by design the solution has a customer facing element which will be explored through the development and implementation of the solution.

I can confirm that none of the LICTP partners have been granted funding for this phase or any previous stages of development in relation to this project.