How Scottish Water is turning its outsourcing partners into Innovation hubs.

Innovation at Scottish Water

The publicly owned company announced a series of contracts worth £120 million for the delivery of operational IT services with Fujitsu Services (for service desk, desktop and infrastructure services), Tata Consultancy Services (for applications management and integration and BI development) and BT (for mobile, data, voice and networks).

An earlier phase of the programme saw ATOS Origin, Fujitsu, Logica, SAIC and TCS engaged as ‘framework partners’ for Scottish Water’s rolling programme of capital expenditure on application development projects.

But the company is counting on those vendors to play a big role in the innovation it sees as crucial to growth, boosting efficiencies and increasing competitiveness.

Leveraging a new IT infrastructure created after its formation as part of the merger of three of Scotland’s main water authorities in 2002, the organisation has now established a service delivery model (inspired by Gartner’s IS Lite model) that uses a much-reduced group of key suppliers.

David Brown, general manager for IT at Scottish Water, says, the package is designed to “deliver significant cost savings and an enhanced service, and to exploit the extensive development capabilities of some of the most innovative companies in the business”.

“The essence of these contracts is much more than just about service. We are integrating these companies as partners within our delivery model. Notwithstanding that, we are establishing a formal Innovation Forum that will bring together key business people in Scottish Water with senior people from our new partners.”

The formal structure behind this involves quarterly meetings in which the business executives lay their challenges on the table. The service partners’ job is to work to deliver to those aspirations, with a risk/reward programme recognising developments that create value for the business.

The arrangement is structured so that if Scottish Water chooses to do a particular project that emerged from the Innovations Forum then the value derived from that is shared with the partners.

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