Stone Group - Providing digital transformation solutions to organisations across the UK.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is the UK’s largest public service and has 90,000 staff working across 160 locations around the country.

DWP plays a pivotal role in making a difference to millions of citizens across the UK every day, looking after a number of areas including welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy, helping to tackle poverty and enabling people to live more rewarding, safer and fairer lives.

Carl Thompson works for the Collaborative Services team and explained how the DWP wanted to update its digital meeting capacity.

The Challenge

The meeting room infrastructure across DWP had become outdated, ineffective, and was in need of a significant refresh.

Carl explained, “We have 280 meeting rooms across our estate; however the existing solution was quite old with legacy equipment that was years out of date. Often, users had to plug one thing into another to get the service they needed. This could be frustrating for them if they couldn’t find the right cable or connection and, it was unnecessarily time consuming.”

“In addition, the process was managed by a third-party supplier which meant users had to go through them to book a room and confirm whether the room and equipment were suitable for the needs of the meeting.  We believed this process could be streamlined.”

Carl and his team developed and then specified the solution they wanted to install by piloting a Skype system to understand how it worked and how it could be applied across their estate. The Skype for business system was then tendered through the Crown Commercial Services Tender process.

The DWP had not previously worked with Stone, however the price and added-value they were offering, which was identified through the marking process, saw them win the competitive tender.

Carl said: “This was a major project for any organisation, and we wanted to have complete trust in the successful bidder to be able to project manage and deliver the programme to a very tight time scale.”

The Solution

Stone responded to the DWP specification by delivering one of the largest deployments of Skype for business to date in the UK.  Stone have a team of experts with experience and expertise in providing bespoke meeting room design services that take into account the client’s needs as well as the physical space to deliver a meeting room that is easy to use, looks great and performs to the highest possible technical standards.

To meet the diverse requirements and meeting room spaces outlined by the DWP, Stone deployed the Lenovo Smart Hub 500, an effective solution that can be adapted to suit different room sizes and meeting platforms. Simple to use and intuitive, the Smart Hub 500 allows users to get their meetings up and running with just the tap of a finger.

Stone also provided Philips display screens and Logitech cameras that support clearer, more accessible video conferencing. Stone engineers installed a range of impressive 55”, 65” and 75” Philips Q-Line Full HD displays to suit the different needs or the variety of room sizes.

With simple setup and an easy to use interface, Philips Q-Line displays provide a reliable solution that’s hassle-free to use, control and manage, whether you’re in charge of 1 screen or 100. Affordable and boasting a 3-year onsite warranty, Philips Q-Line displays deliver fantastic value for money and reliability from an industry leading brand.

  • For the smaller rooms with the 55” displays, Stone installed Logitech MeetUp conference cam solutions, and the Logitech Rally systems to support the larger 65” and 7” screens. Designed for huddle rooms and smaller meeting spaces, Logitech MeetUp is an all-in-one conferencing solution that offers big features in compact design. Convenient and versatile to mount, Logitech MeetUp is built for plug-and-play video conferencing.

    With premium components and sleek, industrial design, the Logitech Rally delivers Ultra HD video, unmatched voice clarity and modular audio for full coverage for medium to very large rooms.

    The smart hubs were also fitted with a Kensington lock and screw which prevented people from removing cables – this meant less trouble shooting for Collaboration Services team. Best of all, staff don’t need any technical or IT knowledge as the rooms were set up ready to use. The meeting rooms and AV/UC tech are bookable via Outlook which has removed the need for a third party to manage the booking process.

    Carl said: “As this was such a major project there were challenges with perhaps the main one being travelling around the country to the deadlines specified. While fitting out the rooms in major towns and cities was not too difficult, it was a different story in places like Scotland where it could take a day to travel to the location!”

    DWP had grouped the rooms into space sizes – small (six people), medium, (12 people), large (20 people) and showcase – a theatre style room that can take up to 100 people. Careful planning ensured Stone engineers worked their way around the locations to ensure deadlines were met, and they were happy to work outside office hours to get the work done on particularly busy sites.

    In addition to the redesign of the meeting rooms, Stone were also tasked with installing new audio-visual equipment on specific sites, some of which were considerably complicated.

    “Stone’s expertise really came into play in this area,” said Carl. “For example, it was important to ensure we had the right speaker, handheld mics, lapel mics and dual systems. One site had a new business centre with seven rooms, some of which can be joined to form bigger spaces. It was quite complex, but Stone’s final design and installation was first rate.”

The Benefits

“The new system is much easier to use and can be accessed via Outlook which takes out a major step around booking a room,” adds Carl. “As Skype for business has been deployed, this means the whole desktop estate is connected to the meeting room, so allows staff anywhere in the country to join a meeting from their desk.”

The DWP has a commitment to both flexible working and reducing the need for travel to cut down on its carbon footprint.  “In our travel policy, we asked staff to consider how they would travel to a meeting and to look for the most environmentally sustainable option – now, we ask them if they even have to travel to the meeting at all – because they can attend from their desk.  As well as reducing our carbon footprint, we expect to save huge amounts on travel expenses.”

Carl adds: “All our meeting rooms are now managed in-house and so we will save on using external suppliers.  Working with Stone on this project means the meeting rooms are essentially ‘off the shelf’ items which are now available in our catalogue and so staff can order their own room with verification from us. Better still, the new installations come in at a quarter of the cost of the previous ones.”

A further benefit for DWP working with Stone was the ability to remove their old legacy equipment for recycling for free. Stone offer an award-winning, fully accredited IT Asset Disposal facility, that allows them to dispose of and recycle IT equipment with the highest security standards and the environment in mind. Where the equipment is beyond reusing, it is sustainably recycled with nothing going to landfill. If anything is in working order, it cleaned and refurbished by vendor certified technicians.

“The existing supplier offered to remove our old equipment for £1,000 per room and so working with Stone meant an incredible saving of £280,000.  As well as saving public money, it made our job so much easier as Stone simply removed the old equipment as they installed the new.”

Carl said his team were impressed with Stone’s knowledge, expertise and flexibility. “We judge success on fulfilling the contract to the agreed specifications. This was a major project and Stone achieved what they said they would, when they said they would. We are looking forward to working with them on the phase two deployment where a further 50 – 100 digital meeting rooms will be installed.”

Working with Stone has saved the DWP hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Stone’s engineers were flexible and successfully worked around any issues to complete the installations time.

We are really pleased with the results which have provided a great service to our offices, especially in remote locations.

Carl Thompson, DWP Collaborative Services Team

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