Case study: Balfour Beatty extends Fujitsu contract to support messaging

Balfour Beatty has signed a new contract with Fujitsu to provide email, extending an IT transformation deal the companies agreed in July 2013

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Balfour Beatty has signed a new contract with Fujitsu to provide email, extending an IT transformation deal the companies agreed in July 2013.

Ten months has passed since Fujitsu won an IT transformation contract with Balfour Betty to transform its IT infrastructure and outsource second- and third-line support. Danny Reeves, CIO Balfour Beatty (pictured), speaks about how the Fujitsu contract supports his IT strategy and the rationale behind extending it to messaging.

The construction services company plans to implement a single collaborative messaging platform to support 14,000 UK users, across approximately 900 sites, based on Microsoft Exchange.

Fujitsu will support the implementation of the messaging platform using Microsoft Exchange 2013 to replace 14 existing email platforms and enable the use of Microsoft Lync.

Speaking to Computer Weekly about the new deal, Reeves says: "When we signed the original agreement we highlighted other projects we wanted to do." One such project was consolidating and simplifying the company's disparate email systems.

This new contract extends the user computing part of the original Fujitsu contract, Reeves says: “We are standardising on applications and devices. Now it makes sense to standardise on messaging.”

Email consolidation

Balfour Beatty mainly runs Microsoft Exchange, plus some Lotus Notes, but with a number of email domains – which means there is no single Balfour Betty email address."We will standardise on Microsoft Exchanges 2013, which will run as a service, using our existing Fujitsu hosting contract," Reeves explains.

The upgrade will enable Balfour Beatty to share a global address list and roll out Lync, Microsoft’s unified communications platform, for instant messaging. "Implementing this collaborative messaging platform will help our employees better engage with each other and our customers," Reeves says.

While Balfour Beatty will not be rolling out IP voice and video, Reeves says: "We will have the back-end infrastructure to support this."

He says the Exchange service is built and operated out of existing Fujitsu datacentres, and effectively run as a private cloud.

End user standardisation

Through the original agreement, Balfour Beatty's user computing environment is predominately based on laptops or mobile devices. Around 20% of its user computing environment will be desktop-based. Reeves says the plan is to standardise around a standard laptop, ultrabook and mobile workstation device plus a standard and power desktop environment. The workstation and power desktops will be used to support its building information model applications.

As Computer Weekly previously reported, the company will be standardising on Windows 7. It has reduced its master application list from 5,800 applications down to 450. Originally, Balfour Beatty's intention was to have 1,500 applications. "We exceeded rationalisation, and have standardised [on Exchange 2013 for] messaging and Office 2013." Reeves says that, instead of running eight or nine different applications for tasks such as creating PDFs, the company standardised on a single application. It is using Adobe for its PDF writer and reader software. Balfour Beatty took this approach across its software inventory, reducing the number of applications to under a tenth of the number before the Fujitsu contract.

Preparing IT for digitisation

Through the original contract, Balfour retains first-line support. Part of the contract involved outsourcing second- and third-level support. Reeves says this frees up IT to focus on the business. "A key part for us is to focus on the business. We are an international construction services business and we partnered with Fujitsu to provide commodity IT services.

Over the last 20 years IT has focused on driving out cost and improving efficiency. The IT industry is now moving into the value part

Danny Reeves, CIO, Balfour Beatty

"It provides a foundation for us to launch into disruptive technologies. I am putting a team together to redraw our technology roadmap, which will look at new areas we want to focus on."

His ambition is to improve business value for Balfour Beatty. "The early years of IT was about technology. Over the last 20 years, IT has focused on driving out cost and improving efficiency. The IT industry is now moving into the value part. Businesses are starting to recognise there is real value in their IT estates."

Speaking about Balfour Beatty's IT function, he says: "We are in the construction industry and we are starting to look at how we can derive value from IT.“ But, as he has previously admitted: "In construction and engineering – which is a very mature and low-margin industry – we’re at a very early stage of technology adoption for business value. By leveraging the technology and using the available data to re-engineer operations, we can create value for the company."

The company will be moving into a pilot roll-out of its user computing strategy in July, which includes the Exchange 2013 email service, and aims to migrate 13,000 users by the end 2014.

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