In a change from the usual face-to-face ‘beauty parade’ of tender respondents, Plus Dane Housing recently used Skype for Business to run over 70 demonstrations online as part of its goal to choose a new housing management system, with the ultimate aim of reducing its 17 core business systems to just two.
Jill Burns, head of transformation, Plus Dane Housing, said, “Because of the interest we received from organisations wanting to work with us, we ended up needing to run a total of 72 demonstrations over an eight-day period. Given the scale and geographic spread of Plus Dane, with staff split across five offices in Liverpool, Congleton and Runcorn, this had the potential to be a logistical nightmare.”
With up to 74 staff needing to attend each of the demonstrations, Jill and her team decided to use Skype for Business to support the process. This allowed staff to attend demonstrations in person or remotely via Skype, and for the pitching organisations to go to the Plus Dane office most convenient to them.
Burns said, “As well as allowing every demonstration to take place and be attended by all interested parties, the cost savings of using Skype in this way were absolutely staggering. We estimated that it saved our staff almost 20,000 miles in travel, equating to about £9,000 of potential mileage claims, and around 90 man-days of lost staff time. Furthermore, we were quoted over £15,000 to hire a suitable venue for the eight-day period, so obviously the use of Skype meant that we didn’t even need to consider that option.
“As an ancillary benefit, the staff who were involved who hadn’t used Skype before have continued to champion its use in their own roles, so that the general uptake of Skype across Plus Dane is rising, resulting in not only time and cost savings but also greater collaboration. The benefits we experienced on our individual project are now being replicated across the organisation.”