Public Sector Focus

16.01.17

Cloud phone systems redefine public sector costs

James Passingham, chief technical officer at Foehn, highlights some cost-saving possibilities in the company’s Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Phone Systems for the public sector. 

The rise of cloud phone systems 

As central funding dries up and cloud services experience a rising tide of popularity, more and more government bodies and local authorities are choosing this technology platform to modernise their phone systems and drive ‘next stage’ cost savings.

As IT, with its ability to deliver ‘much more with less’, takes up a bigger proportion of departmental budgets, public managers and IT professionals alike are becoming aware of the different service flexibility, productivity benefits and financial savings delivered by the cloud. 

However, the telephony market is traditionally awash with jargon and confused messages over cloud’s benefits, which is why Foehn has produced a free Buyer's Guide for public buyers considering or procuring a cloud phone system. 

As communications technology evolves, unified communications fail to match their hype, and ageing systems wear out, we’ve found public bodies at different stages with their thinking; some are holding on to what they have while others are well advanced with their approach. Typical scenarios include: 

  • Public bodies already using hosted telephony
  • Organisations with on-site telephone systems that are reliant on external maintenance partners
  • Public bodies maintaining the status quo or upgrading, but driving down system set-up and ongoing maintenance costs 

Changing mindsets 

But successful take-up of Open Source solutions and modern cloud-based IP (Internet Protocol) communications is as much about challenging established thinking as the technical aspects of a new telephony solution. 

Some public organisations are reluctant to change, content to sweat an asset with some life in it rather than rethink customer service possibilities. Others recognise the combination of cost-saving, flexibility and operational benefits from a modern IP system. Whatever the organisation’s point on the journey, mindsets are most effectively changed through successful implementations showing clear cost savings, greater service flexibility and new ways of working. 

The office of the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) moved to a hosted PBX and cloud phone system in the cloud, better supporting its offices and streamlining the work of its call centre. As well as saving at least 30% on telephony and network system costs, the LGO now has 50% faster network connections. At Boston Borough Council, the senior management team procured a council-wide cloud telephony system for improved call centre performance, flexible working and greater disaster recovery resilience. 

The Buyer’s Guide: cost-savings and new service options

The Public Sector Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Phone Systems provides practical information, guidance and top tips for buyers making the decision to move to cloud telephony. It shows how a modernised communications infrastructure reduce overall running costs and improves departmental service capabilities. It also sets out advantages of Open Source in telephony as an alternative to proprietary systems. 

Almost all public bodies need to factor in rapidly-rising service demand alongside steep budget decline when moving to cloud telephony. Here, the guide illustrates how local authorities can rethink a business case, telephony costs and introduce more flexible working. The LGO’s cloud system has brought about highly flexible working by its staff, whether in the offices, on the road, or at home, while Boston Borough Council is saving 40% over previous on-premise models over a five-year period. 

Open Source

Since the launch of the UK government’s G-Cloud in 2012 and its digital strategy in April 2013, adoption of Open Source in the public sector has rocketed: buyers have rejected the vendor lock-in, high costs, unreasonable delays and abandoned projects experienced with the proprietary approach while Open Source technologies are commonplace in UK industry, notably the telephony sector itself. 

Cloud telephony is achieving ever-wider appeal in public organisations as it delivers cost efficiencies, more workplace flexibility and new service capabilities, even as our public services are fundamentally and rapidly reshaped. 

Download the Public Sector Buyers Guide to Cloud Phone Systems, here

About Foehn 

Foehn is a multi-award winning provider of cloud communications technology, delivering IP telephony and contact centres to the private and public sectors since 2000 We are an innovative, flexible and attentive SME and what also makes us different is that we are passionate about Open Source technology. It enables us to provide innovative solutions that are more feature rich, easily integrated and cheaper than the proprietary platforms from legacy multi-national vendors. Foehn is proud to be a member of the Government's G-Cloud and Digital Marketplace framework, as well as being selected as provider of IP telephony services on the government's new Network Services framework. Foehn can transform IP telephony for public sector organisations, improve efficiencies and reduce fixed telephony costs by as much as 40%.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

LGA: New homes data positive, but still failing to meet growing housing need

24/02/2017LGA: New homes data positive, but still failing to meet growing housing need

New figures released by the government have shown that the number of new build homes has continued to rise to its highest level since 2007, but c... more >
Lancashire still pushing for devo deal despite two councils withdrawing support

24/02/2017Lancashire still pushing for devo deal despite two councils withdrawing support

Plans put forward for a devolution deal to join together 15 councils in Lancashire in a combined authority will still go ahead, despite two counc... more >
Councils divided as HS2 Bill is given Royal Assent

23/02/2017Councils divided as HS2 Bill is given Royal Assent

HS2 will be the “catalyst” in driving economic growth in the West Midlands as the eagerly anticipated high-speed rail link was given ... more >

editor's comment

21/02/2017Untapped potential

As PSE went to press, the government had just released its Industrial Strategy green paper, which has an ambitious aim to “improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country”.  Overall, the strategy was welcomed across the public sector. However, as you&rsqu... read more >

last word

Some libraries are better than others

Some libraries are better than others

Helen Milner, chief executive of Good Things Foundation, formerly the Tinder Foundation, expands on the organisation’s recent claims that protecting libraries at all costs could be hol... more > more last word articles >
149x260 PSE Subscribe button

the raven's daily blog

And justice for all

23/02/2017And justice for all

Nothing less than a ‘whole-place’ pooling of public service budgets and devolution of criminal justice system powers to local level can create the conditions for community transformation, argue former communities secretary Hazel Blears and Lord Patel, chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission. Reform of the Criminal Justice... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Shaping the future of local government through districts

23/02/2017Shaping the future of local government through districts

Mark Pawsey (pictured), the MP for Rugby and the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for District Councils, explains why he hopes t... more >
Bristol: the booming smart city

23/02/2017Bristol: the booming smart city

Barney Smith, CEO at Bristol Is Open, explains how the innovative project can help make cities more liveable and sustainable. Bristol is the... more >
Where next for devolution?

23/02/2017Where next for devolution?

Andrew Walker, policy expert on devolution at the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), explains why devolution in England needs a shot in th... more >
Introducing learning analytics

23/02/2017Introducing learning analytics

Learning analytics make use of the data generated as we learn and teach in order to improve learning and teaching. Rebecca Ferguson, a senior lec... more >

interviews

McMahon: I worry that the public are not part of the devolution conversation

20/12/2016McMahon: I worry that the public are not part of the devolution conversation

Jim McMahon, Labour’s shadow minister for local government and devolution, talks to PSE’s David Stevenson about the need to radically... more >
Solace president mandate: Champion diversity and celebrate great public services

20/12/2016Solace president mandate: Champion diversity and celebrate great public services

Jo Miller, the recently-elected president of Solace, talks to PSE about the need for championing great public services and ensuring inclusion at ... more >
The secret to the success of one public estate

19/08/2016The secret to the success of one public estate

Central government has faced strong criticism of its many estate schemes in recent years, but one in particular seems to steer clear of the backl... more >
Joint ventures: Are we better together?

19/04/2016Joint ventures: Are we better together?

Vivien Holland, local government advisory director at Grant Thornton UK LLP, examines the potential of Joint Ventures for local authorities going... more >