Feedback and Lessons learned from our clients are at the heart of everything that we do. We take the post assignment feedback, review it as a team and then incorporate any lessons learned into our processes or knowledge base as part of a Continuous Service Improvement regime.
The result is a consistently high level of service and we are pleased to announce that this month’s Quality Assurance TQM is once again in the mid nineties (94% to be precise). You can find out more about our initiative here.
Last month DeNové began a new initiative to ensure transparency in the quality of our deliverables. The new monthly Quality Assurance survey underpins the customer-centric approach valued at the company and the satisfaction delivered alongside this.
Building on this, we are pleased to be able to publish this month’s TQM score which stands at a steady and impressive 95%.
The analysis of continuous new data from the Quality Assurance surveys has brought several findings to light and we are adapting our internal processes and procedures to reflect this feedback.
Additionally, clients have highlighted that more support would be beneficial for the commercial element of their submission. With the team deploying the relevant in-house skills needed, DeNové will now focus more on assisting in framing the clients’ commercial offering.
More about the quality assurance score and the methodology used can be read here.
DeNove are pleased to warmly welcome Angelos Kotentos, Bid Associate to the team.
Angelos has several years of international experience working for SMEs and large organisations in a range of industries. His overarching experience provides him with a well-rounded business approach, enabling flexibility in each sector in which he is involved.
As the beginning of autumn approaches, DeNové welcomes the arrival of Tania Hussain, Marketing Associate to the team.
Tania has an adept background in marketing communications and advertising alongside a Chartered Institute of Marketing education in strategic marketing and metrics. With this knowledge and experience, Tania will make a great addition to the team.
We are delighted to announce that we have started to publish the results from our independently audited customer satisfaction survey.
The survey polls all customers that we have completed an assignment for in that given month. Customers are asked to rank from 1-10 our performance on a number of critical success factors/ deliverables including:
- Standard of work,
- Consistency of work,
- Attitude and approach,
- The expertise demonstrated.
Feedback will enable DeNové to enhance services and also hone the valued customer-centric approach used throughout the agency. This initiative will ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty can be continually maintained at an optimum level, whilst aiding performance improvement.
Once we have learned all of the lessons possible from each individual survey, the data is then anonymised and aggregated to further ensure client confidentiality. The results will be published monthly. This month the score stands at an impressive 96% and we will do our very best to maintain and improve this score over the course of the year.
More about the results of the survey and the methodology used can be read here.
Summer 2016 sees the welcome arrival of Heather Hayes, Bid Associate to the team.
Heather is a truly talented copywriter who works closely with her clients to unearth their sales propositions and win theme. Heather has only been with DeNové a short while, however has already won the trust and affection of the customers that she has worked with.
Competitive pressure on product and service advantages, draws greater attention onto how companies sell, bid and partner. In several cases this has delivered remarkable outcomes, but largely this opportunity isn’t realised. The reality of today dictates that large and small companies learn to interact better, to combine capabilities and differentiate solutions for customers. Inherent complexity means it is worth considering how to simplify and strengthen sales-specific activities, in multi-disciplinary bid teams, operating across company boundaries. 2015 figures show that 10% of government budget was spent directly with SMEs and 15% spent indirectly with SMEs (i.e. through larger companies). This highlights the scale of opportunity, for large companies to professionalise how they collaborate with each other and with smaller firms, and how the virtual team may differentiate through better sales, bid and partner management.
We recently met up with the co-founder of Omnecore (http://www.omnecore.com), a British-led SaaS enabled online service that exemplifies innovation to resolve complexity in sales. Steve Sanders earned his stripes on some of the more complex programmes and markets in UK public sector, rescuing, transforming and stabilising lines of business for BT. With Steve, Christian Butler (CTO) Tim Passingham (Non-Exec, and ex Level 3 and TAS Group), and team, have built an impressive capability and network of partners. The lessons taken from the various obstacles being experienced in global transformation projects, led to the creation of Omnecore. The Omnecore model derives competitive advantage from collaboration…
- How teams work together internally to do a better job with what they have
- Interconnecting with partners to increase the impact of propositions
- Maximally interacting with customers for the right reasons at the right time
Contrary to other approaches we’ve seen in the past, the Omnecore solution is NOT about providing generic empty collaboration rooms and other pitfalls such as…
- File libraries, intranet, and CRM platforms do not solve cross-functional and cross-company matrix challenges
- Social network and procurement sites enable the handshake, but don’t simplify or enrich value delivery by partners
Just communicating with customers in their buying process, is like collaborating through a letter box and so the sales enablement software needs to help and not just add further barriers to the sales effort. The Omnecore team seem to have developed something that really works and delivers some tangible business benefits…
- Simplify then strengthen what’s already there. There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’. Each operation will have a unique combination of assets that make up their own ideal sales approach. That should be defined, enhanced and reused systematically, as widely as possible, and where appropriate with third parties.
- Interconnect everyone who has a hand in sales. Make sure they work together with purpose, structure and the right focus. That includes sales teams, non-sales colleagues, partners, and even end-customers where collaboration helps to gain control of buying processes.
- Available data and information is so great that valuable insights are out of reach. Intelligently filter high impact internal enablers, best practice resources, and the wealth of external insights into customers and competitors. In doing so, make sure teams know more than competitors do, and that they act upon that know-how to differentiate.
If you would like us to introduce you to Steve and the Omnecore team then just get in touch.
There have been some articles recently (here, here and here) regarding how obligations placed on the Public Sector by the EU Procurement Directive 2014 are a small but contributory argument for leaving the European Union.
Our work helping companies win public sector contracts exposes us to these Regulations daily and so to try to bring clarity to the debate we have listed a short rebuttal to the most common arguments below.
If we leave the EU then we can scrap the EU procurement regulations.
Perhaps not. Norway and Iceland are obliged to follow exactly the same EU Public Procurement regulations through the EEA agreement. Therefore, if like Norway, we want to continue to sell into European Public Sector export market worth over 400 billion euro then we will need to agree a bi-lateral trade agreement (or set of regulations) that enables us to do so.
We don’t have to follow the template set by Norway and Iceland; we could negotiate a separate agreement like Switzerland.
Swiss procurement law and regulations (Federal Act on Public Procurement) flow, as ours probably would, from their obligations under the WTO GPA, the bilateral agreement between Switzerland the European Union and the EFTA. As a result, Public Procurement regulations in Switzerland cover most of the same constituent elements that we have in the UK such as thresholds, open procurements, bidding procedures and processes. In other words, the Swiss model will, most likely, result in little change from the current status quo.
The EU is a red tape factory, continually adding more and more regulations.
The regulations were transposed in the UK as the Public Contract Regulations 2015, since then the UK Cabinet Office that has added to these regulations by publishing mandatory or advisory Procurement Policy Notices. There were 16 in 2015, only 4 of which were in direct response to EU initiatives. So 12 of the new rulebooks (often 20 pages long) were English only initiatives. Many of these UK only regulations seem to be very helpful and our clients have welcomed all or most of them; however, it must be acknowledged that most of the Procurement red tape is being created in Whitehall and not Brussels.
These are not our regulations – what about sovereignty?
Agreements such as the DIRECTIVE 2014/24/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENT have to be negotiated between the parties concerned. The UK team was very satisfied with the outcome as can be seen from the official Crown Commercial Service briefing paper here “These changes provide a much more modern, flexible and commercial approach compared to the existing regime. Outdated and superfluous constraints have been removed, and many new features have been added to streamline and modernise public procurement. For contracting authorities, this means being able to run procurement exercises faster, with less red tape, and more focus on getting the right supplier and the best tender. And for suppliers, the process of bidding for public contracts should be quicker, less costly, and less bureaucratic, enabling suppliers to compete more effectively.” Note, The House of Commons briefing paper is certainly also a worthwhile read
Local Authorities should be allowed to buy from local suppliers.
Local Authorities already have the ability to source locally via the Social Value Act 2012. The problem, is that Local Authorities have been slow on the uptake, to quote Lord Young in his recent review: “despite its growing awareness amongst public bodies, the incorporation of social value in actual procurements appears to be relatively low when considered against the number and value of procurements across the whole public sector”
We don’t need regulations.
It’s true that the regulations are complex. The English regulations run to 128 pages and the package of documents containing the input and drafting of the Scottish Regulations runs to over 1,000 pages. However, the regulations exist to help ensure transparency and good value for money and all countries have them. For example the regulations in the US as at least as complex and far more draconian than those in Europe. So, even if we didn’t have the EU procurement based regulations, its most likely that we would have something similar.
One final thought
One of the biggest red tape hurdles that our customers encounter is that Devolution in the UK has led to a separate set of regulations for Scotland and the Scottish Government duplicating Procurement Frameworks that have already been established by the Crown Commercial Service (example here of a framework that partially duplicates the exceptionally successful UK Digital Marketplace). This duplicates the tendering, administrative and operational overhead effort that our clients have to manage if they want to sell to the entire UK market.
Taken to the extreme, if we devolve Procurement Regulations to the local level we could on end up with +300 plus sets of regulations (one for each local authority), trade wars between each local authority or devolved administration as they try to protect the suppliers on their home turf and 300 bi-lateral trade agreements. Alternatively, we could just have a common set of very carefully considered and drafted rules that enable us to all trade with each other on a level and fair playing field. There is a great example of that here.
I would be very pleased to get readers views on this issue or any of the arguments raised above and will publish them on our blog to help flesh out the arguments either way. Please write with comments to Roger.firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on twitter @rndenove
The UK Public Sector ICT ecosystem has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years. Given how thick and fast new initiatives have arrived it can be easy to forget developments such as the original appointment of Martha Lane Fox as the UK’s first Digital Inclusion Champion and her Directgov 2010 And Beyond: Revolution Not Evolution letter back in 2010; the SME agenda, the appointment of Stephen Allott and the establishment of GDS in 2011; the launch of the G-Cloud in 2012; the appointment of Tony Singleton and Mike Bracken to their current roles; the rise and fall of the SIAM and the introduction of GaaP.
It is an exciting time to be in our industry and see at close hand such a rapid pace of change with new suppliers, both small and new market entrants, winning new prestigious contracts and gaining a greater profile than ever before.
The revolution isn’t complete yet and the market still has some very interesting surprises in store for us. A perfect example of this is the recent decision made by Jisc, the UK’s research and education digital charity. Jisc receives significant public funding, some of which contributes to the operation of Janet, the UK’s world class research and education communications network. To support Jisc in its continued ability to deliver its mission it has established a subsidiary company, Jiscom. The purpose of this company is to make available the Jisc services and solutions to wider public enterprise, whether it be directly or through private organisations.
The Janet asset is critical to the UK’s knowledge economy with over 6800km of dedicated optical fibre, delivering a 100 Gbps core backbone with the potential to increase capacity as required. This high speed, high capacity, secure network is unique in the UK and is now available to the wider market to support public enterprises and hence UK PLC.
This new part of Jisc is headed up by CEO Tim Marshall OBE, the former CEO of Janet. Fred Walker has joined as VP Sales & Business Development, his previous senior roles have been at Level 3, most latterly as Sales Director EMEA. Jiscom’s success will be measured by reducing the cost of connectivity, enabling the digital agenda, driving the adoption of innovation and driving step change in public enterprise. A beneficial outcome of this to Jisc will be additional revenue to support its mission to research and education.
We met with Fred last week to learn a little more about Jiscom’s strategy and goals. It is early days yet but his discussions with potential partners and customers are being very well received and focus on the key advantages that Jiscom can provide to ICT suppliers and to the Public Sector Market:
- Reduce the cost of connectivity into Public Enterprise through the optimisation and efficient use of existing Government digital assets.
- Provide an effective platform from which true Cloud services can be procured and sold via the G-Cloud frame work. By providing a private government cloud environment that includes Site to Cloud connectivity into Jisc Commercial provided DC/Colo, where approved G-Cloud providers can operate from. Thus providing a fully owned Government environment (Janet Network, Jisc DC/CoLo) for the delivery of cloud services to Public Enterprises.
- Provide a platform for growth to UK SME’s from which they can operate and deliver services to Public Sector, enabling them to deliver much needed innovation into Government, drive the digital economy and move public sector to digital by default.
For SMEs the commercial model will, we believe, be a game changer since it can be charged in a way which takes into account the customer’s usage.
Jiscom can be contacted directly here or if you would like us to make the introduction to Fred and his team then please just let us know.
A series of initiatives designed to make the UK a better place for entrepreneurs to start and grow a business have been introduced following Royal Assent for the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (SBEE).
One major impact of the Act is on the way that companies, both big and small, can take action if they believe that any aspect of a Public Sector procurement is unfair, such as bias towards a certain company or is faulty.
We’ve spoken before of the role of the mystery shopper (they investigate Procurement Complaints – see the previous post written by my colleague David Frew, below) and our personal experience is positive: we have approached them in the past and found them to be responsive and very on the ball.
However, their remit has always been rather limited when investigating procurements or tenders in the wider Public Sector outside of Central Government. This narrow remit was a major drawback, because many of the complaints that they were asked to investigate were outside of Central Government. This has now changed!