Q&A: Billy D’Arcy, MD, public sector, O2

We speak to Billy D'Arcy to find out how the mobile operator plans to capitalise on its recent run of public sector success.

Q: What kind of services do you plan to offer the public sector?There are a lot of opportunities around mobile voice and data, and also LAN infrastructures, gateways, unified services, applications, and voice conferencing service.

Many of the lots we've been awarded [on the PSN framework], we're starting to see some significant pipeline in. We want to make sure we can service those areas and go after the opportunities we know we can be successful in.

We won't go after everything. We'll qualify in and qualify out opportunities as we see them because, ultimately, we have limited resources.

Q: Aside from recruiting more staff, how do you plan to compensate for that?Partnering is something that Telefonica and O2 is particularly strong at...and I expect we will end up doing a significant amount of our business through partnering. I expect we will do a significant amount of our business through partnering. There are 29 organisations with [PSN] Framework status and...many of those won't have capabilities around mobile voice and data and we do...and on an opportunity basis, it would make sense for us to join forces.

Q: Are there any particular criteria that potential partners would need to meet?You look for areas where there is a good strategic fit or an organisation that has some capabilities you don't have, if it means you'll be stronger together. This provides the customer with a logical reason for selecting you as a consortium or partnership to deliver services.

Most deals and most large contract wins will be done on the back of the relationship that exists between the government departments and entities we're tendering for.

If I step back from that and see [a potential deal with a customer] we don't have a deep relationship with, but we do have a capability, I would identify [another company] who has a relationship with them, but lacks capability. I would look to partner with them, so together we would be stronger.

Q: Are any of your competitors making similar moves on the public sector at the moment, or do you feel like you've stolen a march on them?It's a very competitive market, and that's what the Government set out to achieve. They wanted more competition to spread more business across their ecosystem, particularly in the SMB space.

The marketplace has changed dramatically over the last 12 months. If we look at our traditional competitors, we're in a fortunate position because we have been awarded more lots than any of our core competitors [on the PSN framework].

I guess, what we're concentrating on is delivering innovation, because that's what the Government is looking for, through the PSN programme.

The competitive landscape has expanded for us, though, and we need to account for that, because many of our competitors we might be partnering with - in a form of co-opetition - another day.

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