Friday, 30 October 2009

Fujitsu finally bags Highland Council renewal

(By Tola Sargeant – Friday 30th October 2009 8:00am). Fujitsu has been chosen as the preferred bidder for a £66m/5-year ICT services contract with The Highland Council, where it has been the incumbent for more than eleven years. Fujitsu beat rivals Atos Origin, which partnered with educational software vendor RM, and desktop reseller/services firm Computacenter to the deal. It’s a welcome win for the Japanese company, which revealed bleak first half figures (see Fujitsu posts gloomy first half results) and has a chequered past in the UK local government market.

Under the new contract, Fujitsu will manage the entire ICT estate for The Highland Council, including the provision of Curriculum ICT to all schools across the Highlands. Major projects in the pipeline include a new CRM system (from local government CRM specialists Lagan Technologies) and the rollout of 'unified communications' across the Council. Given the additional scope of the contract the £66m price tag doesn’t seem unreasonable (the original value of Fujitsu - or rather ICL’s - 1998 deal with the Council was reportedly £48m over ten years).

For the Council, there were several key considerations in their choice of IT partner including being able to extend standard systems across local government and education; enabling flexible and mobile working; lowering their carbon footprint and meeting efficiency targets – all points that chime with our latest analysis of the UK public sector market (see UK Public Sector 2010: Spotting the opportunities).

Fujitsu has struggled to strengthen its local government business, which includes Newcastle City Council, Bolton and Cambridge and Northants. Highland is now its most significant deal in this sector and the renewal was a ‘must win’. The Japanese giant will be hoping success in the Highlands will pave the way to more ICT deals in a sector where relevant experience and reference sites are highly valued. Indeed, Caroline Thompson, an Account Director at Fujitsu, told us that she hopes to use the deal to develop Fujitsu’s Scottish business, particularly in multi-agency working and shared services.

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