a bird in the hand needs looking after

Rob Neil’s half-yearly thoughts

One of the challenges facing SMEs is deciding how much time to spend finding new businesses and how much to invest in keeping existing clients happy.

While all companies need to keep looking for new customers, it’s clear that a bird in the hand is a creature that needs looking after – and it’s much easier to prove your ability to a client with whom you are already working than to impress a potential new one.

In Accordio’s case, our contribution to the complete restructure of a London Borough’s IT service has proved so successful that we have now been asked to stay on board for a further six months.

After working alongside SOCITM Advisory to support a restructure of the IT function at the Royal Borough of Greenwich, we have been asked to provide further support as well as taking on other project management roles.

This significant new work clearly reflects the quality of the support we have provided so far in delivering a number of high-profile corporate technology projects and developing a new IT strategy and operating model.

Meanwhile in a busy first half of 2019 we have also been working with SOCITM in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, where we have been carrying out a complex technology specification and procurement aimed at helping the council put in place the systems it will need to deliver its new in-house waste management and street cleansing service from April 2020.

But while we are delighted to have established ourselves as trusted suppliers to busy, demanding London boroughs, we recognise the need to keep looking for new business and are delighted to have recently taken on Hart District Council in Hampshire as one of our newest clients.

We are supporting the council by carrying out a review of the shared services it operates, mostly in partnership with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, in order to ensure the original service models are still fit for purpose and offering good value for council tax payers.

Hart District Council has a long tradition of delivering shared services, but the authority wants to make sure its shared services programme is still robust and has asked us to look at a number of areas including community safety, legal services and customer services.

The Hart contract is particularly pleasing as it is another that we were invited to take on following word-of-mouth recommendations from other local government clients

The council won some funding from the LGA Shared Service Expert Programme before inviting Accordio to carry out the work following a recommendation that reflected our expertise in this area.

We will be carrying out value for money assessments of the shared services, looking at whether or not they will continue to be suitable in future and recommending alternatives – after taking on board the views of service users.

Meanwhile we are waiting for confirmation that we have again won a place on a government framework that gives UK public sector buyers a reliable route to trusted, quality-assessed digital specialists.

The Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) Digital Outcomes & Specialists framework 4 will replace DOS3 and is designed to give central and local government teams, social housing associations, educational institutes and the NHS a compliant route to specialist, pre-assessed service providers like Accordio. We had a place on DOS 2 and DOS3 and are hoping for similar success on this occasion.

But while we hope the DOS framework will bring in some new clients, we are determined never to neglect any of those we are currently working alongside. It’s a balancing act we work hard to get right.

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