O2 Unify has today announced it is officially open for business and has already secured five contracts worth millions of pounds before its launch. The news comes as research from O2 highlights the number of UK businesses struggling under the strain of multiple suppliers offering communications services such as broadband, fixed line and mobile.

The survey of IT and communications decision makers working in UK businesses found that 52 per cent have between three and eight suppliers serving such needs alone, leading to unnecessary complexity, increased costs and reduced efficiency.

Worryingly, the research revealed that large numbers of businesses are doing little to turn this trend around with 56 per cent only reviewing or changing their fixed telecommunications supplier either when the contract is up for renewal or when faced with a major issue with the service they receive. The findings suggest that sticking with multiple communications suppliers provides business with various challenges including increased cost (79 per cent) and a lack of integration of services (51 per cent).

The report also highlights some clear variations by industry with financial services, retail and utilities sectors most likely to have three or more communications suppliers on their books with 66 per cent, 60 per cent and 58 per cent admitting to this respectively. In stark contrast, two-thirds (64 per cent) of organisations in the public sector ‘ currently facing an intense focus on cost cutting and efficiency ‘ use only one to two communications suppliers. Recent figures from O2 suggest that outsourcing IT and communications needs to a single provider could drive efficiency savings of up to 30 per cent.

In January this year Telefonica O2 UK announced the creation of O2 Unify, a new business with 2e2, that will provide businesses of all sizes with the opportunity to outsource their IT and communications needs to a single provider. In addition to traditional converged solutions, spanning fixed, mobile, voice and data, O2 Unify launches this week with a portfolio of services including Managed WAN, cloud data services, flexible working solutions and an extensive ICT service framework.

Paul Osborne, Managing Director of O2 Unify, commented: ‘Reducing unnecessary supplier spend is one of the most economical ways of ensuring their business is operating as cost-efficiently as possible and today’s launch of O2 Unify makes this a reality. We are very pleased with O2 Unify’s progress so far. The team is in place and we are open for business. We have already won five deals worth millions of pounds in total that will help to establish O2 Unify in the market.

‘Our research highlights how UK businesses are often dealing with an extremely complex network of suppliers. But if they fail to implement efficiencies and manage costs, they are wasting money that could otherwise be better spent on priorities such as research and development and expanding into new markets.’

Civica, an international market leader in specialist IT systems and business process services, has become the latest business to sign up to O2 Unify’s new offering. Civica selected O2 Unify as a partner to help deliver travel, subsistence and conference call savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds in the coming year by changing the way that their people meet, see, share and include their internal and external customers in what they are doing. This will be achieved by implementing a real-time communications package, based on a Microsoft Lync 2010 platform, which includes instant messaging, VoIP, real time collaboration, audio and video conferencing. O2 Unify will fully support this deployment with technical services, project management, telephony audits, ROI analysis and training. The next stage of transformation will see O2 Unify and Civica working together to review fixed / mobile costs and enable Lync 2010 corporate voice capability as a replacement telephony platform.

John Hood, Managing Director, Civica UK (Housing & Asset Management) said: ‘O2 Unify displayed significant personal commitment and professional capability during the pre-contract phase of the project, and we believe these are essential competencies in forming a successful delivery partnership. This is a competitive and affordable package that we believe will achieve our objectives.’


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