CSWP economic development group improves IT across the board to enhance business efficiency in 90 locations

“We have been delighted to have BT Engage IT as our partners to help us navigate our way through the choppy seas of change.”

Roger Dowthwaite, Chief Operating Office, CSWP Ltd

Business challenge

  • Radically overhaul IT services to better support the business and deliver measurable improvements
  • Create new IT policies and structures
  • Re-engage with disaffected users across multiple locations and rebuild the reputation of IT
  • Enhance availability, access, flexibility and performance for business-critical systems
  • Plan, manage and optimise ongoing IT development in more structured, effective and business-driven ways


  • Strategic Consulting including systems audit/review and recommendations for change
  • Extensive remedial and IT ‘housekeeping’ work provided by onsite engineer
  • New Managed Services contract including: centralised Service Desk with 2nd and 3rd line escalation; Incident, Service Request and Problem Management; Change Management capability
  • Strategic direction via a Technical Design Authority (TDA) from BT Engage IT
  • Service Delivery Manager for ongoing support and governance


  • A change in culture: IT is now delivered and managed in more effective user-centric ways, and is now seen as a key business enabler
  • Improved IT and enhanced business efficiency through more professional IT service and support
  • Value for money in IT resources and service provision – visibility of IT costs
  • Improved management control of all IT functions, services and assets
  • Simplification and consistency in quality of service and support for all employees across 90 locations
  • Proactive development: recommending and using technology to further improve efficiency and enable business opportunity
Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership (CSWP) is an award-winning group for local economic development and regeneration that unites private, public, education and voluntary agencies to deliver ‘investment, jobs and a better life for everyone’. BT Engage IT had previously delivered services to CSWP including server monitoring and hardware break/fix. In 2009, however, staffing changes in CSWP’s internal IT structure presented an opportunity to change the IT function from top to bottom, to benefit users ranging from head office staff to key local personnel, including careers advisers, at 90 satellite locations.

Strategic Consulting

“For various internal reasons, IT had become a hindrance rather than a business enabler, and perceptions of IT were wholly negative,” recalls Clare Hillier, Facilities Manager.

Senior management decided to completely change how IT was delivered and managed, resulting in a new Managed Services contract with BT Engage IT. The first step was Strategic Consulting, with a BT Engage IT consultant reviewing the business and recommending changes. Hillier says this was “very thorough, and included extensive interviews with users.” The independent findings confirmed senior management concerns. “The way IT had been run was reactive, and quite chaotic,” Hillier continues. “IT was not seen as a ‘whole-company’ thing. There was a lack of communication, people worked in silos, and IT was actually seen as an obstruction to working effectively.” For example, while in-house helpdesk staff were helpful, the problem was you couldn’t actually get through to them, with calls going unanswered, and staff outside head office ignored. Hillier says the situation deteriorated to such an extent that “users gave up complaining, as it fell on deaf ears. It was time for change.”
The consultant’s report covered IT policy, procedures and strategy, and included specific recommendations for immediate changes to systems and processes.

“He helped shape our policy in a clear-eyed way, providing a dispassionate viewpoint,” Hillier says. “He took the time to understand the business, how we worked and how we are funded, which meant he wasn’t trying to foist things on the partnership that wouldn’t work for us.”


‘Securing the platform’

From Spring 2009, work on implementing a new contract speeded up. The consultant was appointed Technical Design Authority (TDA) at CSWP and given a place on the new IT steering group. “We had a lot of remedial work to complete as well as implementing our new helpdesk,” Hillier says. “The review had covered areas like anti-virus deployment, backup policy and even the layout of server rooms. So many areas had been neglected and needed urgent attention that, if they’d failed, would have caused serious trouble. So we worked with BT Engage IT to secure the platform.” This included a technical specialist/engineer working onsite for six months. The original helpdesk, which involved two staff attempting to support 360 users in 90 locations, was shut down and its role transferred to BT Engage IT’s centralised Service Desk.
“The Service Desk model is great,” Hillier says. “If people have a problem, they pick up the phone, call the desk and they’re helped. That wasn’t our experience before. Everyone receives the same service, regardless of location, and staff appreciate that. People can actually do their jobs, and it’s raised expectations, so they’re even more demanding. I get management reports and statistics, something else we didn’t have previously, and I can see how the service is scaling up to meet rising demand. BT Engage IT is meeting and exceeding its targets: calls answered in a given time, types of call handled in the right way, and so on.”

Moving ahead with confidence

Hillier continues

"We have a more professional IT service and can work more efficiently. We’re a not for profit organisation, and I feel we get value for money.”

For example, she says the TDA has been working to reduce costs regarding CSWP’s wide area network. “Without his support we’d be floundering. All users have equality of access, and it’s helped reduce the ‘them and us’ attitude between head office and elsewhere. And we’re more in control: we have greater visibility of IT costs, greater visibility of assets, and can make more informed choices when considering new technology.” She says CSWP can now be more receptive to new ideas. “The IT regime was so rigid and prescriptive before. Today, if someone has an idea we think might be beneficial, we can explore it properly. That’s because how we manage IT has changed, with BT Engage IT’s help. Our consultant recommended we manage IT through a technical group, which includes representation from across CSWP, and answers to a strategic group. So people feel IT belongs to the whole organisation. We’re no longer working in silos and can provide a better service as a joined-up company. We can take on new contracts, adapt to future needs and grow with confidence.”

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