MCA Management Awards 2010: Most Collaborative Firm

Category winner

by
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

CSC

This is a new award, introduced this year to recognise the growing importance of in-depth collaboration to the success of all consultancy projects. CSC is a fitting winner, having been engaged in mission-critical delivery for 50 years, using its industry knowledge, ability to manage complex programmes and align technology to business processes and business strategy.

Yet CSC sees its most important asset as the ability to collaborate, at all levels and with all parties: collaboration with clients, end-user customers, partners, regulators, governments, opinion-formers, suppliers and specialist providers is the key to value. Value creation, CSC maintains, happens where these different interests intersect. The better the collaboration, the higher the value.

For the NHS in England, CSC is a lead change agent in the National Programme for IT, which aims to use IT as a driver for positive changes in the service. This has now evolved into both a national and a locally owned series of projects, managed through joint working with many different autonomous NHS bodies.

The consultancy's CSC Alliance is a groundbreaking collaboration of several organisations, each with specific skills, products and experience. CSC is prime contractor for three-fifths of the programme, involving six of England's 10 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs). Within each area, the CSC Alliance fosters collaboration across an entire health community, including government, healthcare trusts, GPs and community services. The CSC Alliance has continued to deliver, with more than 200 individual deployments into secondary care and more than 1,500 into primary care.

In CSC's experience, change happens in this complex landscape only through active and confident collaboration. Explains Nick Allan-Smith, assistant CIO at one of the region's SHAs: 'My aim has been to develop a strategic partnership with CSC whereby the Alliance fully understands the vision, business objectives and plans of the NHS and is able to use this intelligence along with its specialist business change skills to ensure that we exploit the benefits from technology solutions.

'I'm pleased that this relationship has developed successfully over recent years and the SHA and CSC are now working together to realise benefits for patients, staff and their organisations.'

For each engagement, CSC sets up a joint governance structure, owned by CSC and its client and often including strategic partners.

CSC and Royal Mail formed a joint team and worked from the same location on developing the solution. But it wasn't always smooth going. CSC's global governance model, however, enabled problems to be solved by providing a forum for discussion and resolution extending higher than account level. CSC opened a communication channel between senior managers for collaborative consensus building, which enabled both parties to avoid confrontation and keep the project on track.

Partnership implies equality, which is why CSC involves key partners in project governance as fully empowered stakeholders.

CSC developed an advanced debt management solution for Anglian Water to help it reach best-in-class status for resolving an issue that has led to major financial loss each year. The solution involved incorporating a specialised debt management package (Tallyman from Experian), with the client's existing SAP implementation. This had never been done before, and the deadline was very tight. CSC delivered the project and its targeted benefits on time and on budget through successful collaboration with the key parties, including CSC's SAP practice, Anglian's IT team, SAP itself, and specialists from Experian.

Collaboration can also be the key to innovative breakthroughs, as proved the case with CSC's Microsoft alliance, providing an advanced, cloud-based solution to Royal Mail, using the world's first implementation of Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite. This gives staff access to a secure, integrated communication and collaboration toolset on a single, easy-to-use desktop platform.

A partnership with Citrix delivered value of another kind. CSC collaborated on development of a dynamic desktop solution, which attracted eight blue-chip clients in its first few months and continues to grow rapidly. When analysts realised its potential, one of them raised its 'buy' rating for Citrix shares from $32 dollars to $45.

TAKE-HOME TIPS

CSC, first winner of this award, is the archcollaborator, working not just with clients but with partners, end-users, suppliers, regulators, and governments. For each project, it sets up a joint governance model capable of resolving differences through a discussion forum and upward referral. As well as various autonomous NHS bodies, other organisations such as Royal Mail, Anglian Water and Citrix have benefited from its drive to achieve innovation through deep and wide collaboration.

- Respect the need for specialisations but ensure an open flow of knowledge, skills and professional support across all boundaries.

- Involve key partners in project governance as fully empowered stakeholders - after all, partnership implies equality.

- Create a virtuous circle - reward those involved in successful collaborations and they will be motivated to repeat the performance.

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