Balfour Beatty choose Fujitsu for email and IM overhaul

Balfour Beatty has chosen Fujitsu to roll out a collaborated email and instant messaging service to 14,000 UK users in a bid to “bring the company together”.

The engineering company signed a £43 million deal with Fujitsu to tighten up its expansive IT estate in July last year. This new contract, announced today, is a “deepening” of that partnership which will help Balfour Beatty reach its target to reduce their overall IT costs by 20 percent by 2016.

Working with Fujitsu, the company has already seen a saving in cost of IT commodities thanks to the efforts to remove duplication and complexity across its 900 UK sites. CIO Danny Reeves would not disclose the contract value, but told ComputerworldUK that there was a clear costing target with a price per employee or user that was favourable compared with other suppliers and with doing the work in-house.

Balfour Beatty are currently piloting Fujitsu's computing and hosting services. Once desktops and laptops are rolled out to employees, Fujitsu will also implement the email and instant messaging services.

Reeves said the project will allow more effective communication with better access to calendars, full global address lists for any part of the country and Lync will feed into their group strategy to “leverage our knowledge right across the company”. Video conferencing through Lync will be introduced “once we have a steady, stable standardised platform”.

“This is an important piece of work to bring our company together. This isn’t about an IT project, but allowing our people to communicate more effectively. It supports our customer centricity, mobility and customer focus agenda,” Reeves said.

All devices will operate on Windows 7 and Microsoft Exchange will replace the 14 existing email platforms, which included various Microsoft packages and Lotus Notes, used across Balfour Beatty’s estate.

The services will be hosted in Fujitsu’s private cloud as part of the original contract.

To avoid disruption the email systems will be implemented with a “clinic-based approach” where employees will drop in their device and technicians can hand it back on the same day. “We’re working hard to ensure we have as little disruption as possible,” Reeve said.

Driving mobility

The new deal is hoped to advance Balfour Beatty’s mobility plans. Reeves said: “Of our 13,500 users around 20  percent are on desktops and 80 percent are on laptops. Within that about five percent are mobile devices and smartphones.

“We want to introduce more devices. It gives our operatives and engineers better access to data, which means they can respond quicker and feed data back while on the job.”

With Lync on smartphones or tablets, it is hoped that engineers will be able to order parts or equipment, and reduce the reliance on paper-based audits through mobile devices, enabling quicker customer service.

A recent survey from Gartner revealed that UK companies are leading the way in terms of appointing chief digital officers (CDO), a role that Balfour Beatty does not have at the moment, although it “recognises” it. Reeves said that the company uses digital strategies to better use technology for planning and facilitating building projects, from inception to completion, while simultaneously reducing waste.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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