17 February 2005 | Cara Whitehouse
Procurement expertise at BT helped the company secure a £306 million outsourcing renewal deal likely to save millions of pounds.
The 10-year agreement with consultancy Accenture was led by a team including procurement manager Andrew Lewcock.
The new deal extends and expands a previous agreement for human resources administration services for BT's 267,000 UK staff and pensioners.
The new contract takes effect from 1 August and will see the consultancy take responsibility for an additional 10,000 BT employees in 37 countries around the world.
According to Lewcock, procurement's "pivotal role" in the deal confirms the function's position as a strategic player in major projects.
He told SM: "Procurement had been involved in BT's 2000 deal with Accenture but this was very late in the day when lots of discussions had already taken place.
"This time around, our involvement from concept to completion reflects a recognition of the value we can bring."
Early procurement work included supplier research and the commissioning of a benchmarking exercise to assess Accenture's performance since the 2000 deal.
Lewcock said this comparative analysis confirmed the consultancy was meeting expectations and providing efficient business processes.
Although neither BT nor Accenture would confirm figures, the 2000 deal was reportedly struck for £250 million and has delivered savings of £30 million for BT.
Accenture's global experience further weighed in the consultancy's favour over BT's 13-month selection and negotiation process, said Lewcock.
Among the services the new contract will provide to BT staff will be health and safety, payroll and pension administration.
Lewcock said further savings and efficiencies could be delivered through Accenture's economies of scale and its experience in managing process change.
"We believe we have negotiated a very good deal and have further stretched expectations and performance measures," he said.
"This is an extremely high- profile contract as it touches all parts of BT and all of its staff. It is rewarding that procurement has been viewed as a department worth having at the heart of the deal, from the start."
He said there was good collaboration with the HR department and procurement will continue to help HR with management of the relationship and performance monitoring.