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Birmingham Metropolitan College cuts IT procurement time and cost

Karl Flinders

Birmingham Metropolitan College has cut the cost of buying IT equipment by 40%.

Birmingham Metropolitan College dramatically reduced the cost and time of buying IT equipment with a cloud-based system that produces benchmarking reports.

The further education college, which has about 35,000 students, is going through a phase of IT investment. One such investment comprises the purchase of tablets for its 850 staff as it rolls out virtual desktop software.

Jamie Smith, director of systems and policy development, said the college needs to cut costs.

“Like all organisations in the current economic climate, the college needs to get more for less,” Smith said.

The college outsources its IT to Capita but has retained control over purchasing equipment. Traditionally the small procurement team would carry out benchmarking exercises, request quotes for the products they wanted and then negotiate with suppliers.

Eighteen months ago the college started using ITelligence software from Mercato. Testing proved the tool would save time and reduce costs. Benchmarking is now automated and takes seconds and the system improves the college's bargaining position with detailed information about prices.  

“The key intelligence in the system is the fact that it tells you how much a supplier paid for the product. This puts you in a strong negotiating position,“ said Smith.

ITelligence has detailed information on 150,000 products from more than 2,500 manufacturers in the UK IT supply chain. The system has automated alerts that indicate when prices rise or fall.

Smith said the cloud-based system is easy to use and only took six days to implement. It has helped the college to reduce the average price per product by 40%.


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