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Telecommunications Cost Consultancy for EMA

CAS was awarded the framework agreement for telecommunications consultancy covering a 4 year contract period.  This followed the successful OJEC (Official Journal of the European Council) tender process. CAS assisted the European Medicines Agency to review the costs of its telecommunications processes, and to find more cost-effective solutions.

The EMA is responsible for dispatching advice to residents of all EU countries on issues like medication side effects; possible regulatory breaches by pharmaceutical companies; information on potential epidemics. Part of its role requires managing over 300 consultative committees drawn from throughout the EU, some comprising experts and others of patients, who together advise on medication design issues. With such diverse roles, it is important for the EMA that all its stakeholders receive prompt and glitch less service. Reducing the costs of this service, while keeping it efficient, is both beneficial for the EMA and for the EU budget.

The award and overall consultancy assignment comprised the following main projects:

  • PABX (Private Automated Branch Exchange) Maintenance Contract Review and Tender.
  • Fixed line and Mobile tariff assessments and benchmark review
  • Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery, Review and implementation
  • VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Feasibility Study, Strategy and implemetation
  • Unified Communications Study and Review
  • Mobile Communications Review and Tender for 3rd party voice and data services providing better value for money
  • Audio and Visual Facilities Review, with user guide and training documentation
  • Audio Conference analysis and user best practice documentation
  • Technical Authoring for user guides – mobile services and audio and video services
  • Telecoms Consumables Tender for framework agreement with multiple suppliers to provide: telephones, headsets, patch cords, cabling and business as usual items

One example of savings through our recommendations was CAS’ production of a strategy which enabled a lower cost VoIP short/medium term solution to be implemented on existing equipment, rather than a replacement system.  This provided breathing space for a longer-term plan for a Converged Voice/Data solution to update the fragmented legacy infrastructure, removing the administrative and technical hindrance of two separate systems. CAS was able to develop this solution adaptively, taking into account the potential need for relocation to other premises. This enabled the EMA to occupy additional floors within its current building, making major cost savings on IT infrastructure costs and replacement telephone systems.

The overall solution also achieved improvements to their Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery operations: consolidating their services meant fewer emergency contingency precautions. This cut capital expenditure, and enabled better planning and forecasting of budget expenditure over the short/medium term.

Each project required a complete review and audit of existing equipment, services and facilities. To do this we performed site surveys, audit, and analysis of billing, services, contracts, SLA’s (service level agreements) and equipment.

A key aim was to establish that the equipment lines and services were being billed correctly; that they were being used for the intended purpose, and not surplus to requirements. In some cases it was deemed necessary to source alternative support arrangements.

CAS identified considerable cost savings in a number of areas within the ICT, Communications, Facilities budgets and ongoing maintenance contracts.

Over the past 12 months, CAS has assisted EMA through several projects where full OJEC procedures were required; this used the restricted procedure and included:

  • Development of notice wording for issue of notices and tenders into the European Journal
  • Creation of technical and contract specific equipment into the PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire)
  • Creation of evaluation criteria for the PQQ
  • Production of the specification of requirements for short-listed suppliers
  • Creation of evaluation criteria for supplier responses to the specification
  • Attendance at final short-listed supplier presentations
  • Assistance through contract negotiation and “best and final offers” process

Examples of the recent services/contracts that have followed the above process are private branched exchange maintenance and telecoms consumables.