In the latest in our series looking at small, promising new entrants to the UK public sector tech supply chain, we meet Duncan Baxter, Director of Destin Solutions, a Business Intelligence (BI) company focused on local government
Tell us about your company and the value proposition, then, Mr Baxter.
Destin Solutions is based in Preston, Lancashire. We specialise in developing performance management and reporting applications designed to help councils improve their revenues and collection capabilities and staff performance.
Our service offering is developed with input from customers and employees whom have previously held senior roles within local Authorities to ensure we have fit for purpose products. These include;
Another way to put all that, I suppose, is is that we help local government bodies get a better view of their debt. For example, Tameside Council is now able to drill down into specific groups of people or issues to get to the finer details of an account so the team there can apply a more focussed approach to recovery collection when contacting customers.
Another example is the work we did at Bury Council, which can now identify how much it has charged in a specific time frame. So by taking into account discounts, exemptions and new properties, its finance specialists can quickly and easily obtain this information and use the outputs to interpret how the tax base may change in future.
We also provide online procedural manuals for Benefits, Council Tax and NNDR teams. Shared service LiNK uses it to deliver a more streamlined and consistent customer service consolidating all the necessary information their teams use to get the job done, for example.
Great overview, thanks. So Why are you going on to The Digital Marketplace? What do you expect to get out of it? Why now?
G-Cloud makes sense. Actually, it was our customers prompting us to apply for it, so that we could make the business of buying from us easier for them. G-Cloud also appears to be growing in prominence and awareness throughout the UK public sector; we have been tracking its success, and sales through this channel appear to be growing, with the Digital Marketplace accounting for £418m in spend in the last year. As a smaller, ambitious business with aggressive plans for growth we can’t afford to ignore this.
It’s also great to see the team at GDS championing the cause with councils and other government bodies to support smaller, innovative organisations to win more work across the sector. Our customers have always benefitted from a very personal, uncomplicated and hands-on service with us: we can turn things around very quickly without the politics and cumbersome decision-making processes, larger organisations are often burdened with. I think more instances of local authorities working with suppliers who adopt this type of approach can only be a good thing - and G-Cloud provides a great platform for that.
I'd also say that G-Cloud provides another excellent route to market for us. We don’t have the sales and marketing budgets that the big guys have, so getting access to this channel helps us punch above our weight. Finally, it also helps provide potential buyers with a level of comfort that we have been very firmly vetted and signals that we can compete with the very best.
How did you find the process of applying?
There was actually some really helpful guides and examples provided to help with the application process from the Digital Marketplace. We decided to keep things in-house, and allocated a Project Manager to pull the whole submission process together and liaise with other relevant members of staff. A lot of the information which was required had actually already been pulled together in one shape or form for a number of other projects and bids which had been prepared in the past, I'm glad to say.
That’s not to say it was easy! It was hard work to co-ordinate everything and make sure all the key information was included. A major factor in helping the process along was being provided with check lists from the Digital Marketplace people of key things to include in areas like the service definition document.
Glad to hear it. So, is the cloud a viable delivery mechanism for UK public services?
Cloud services are the way forward if you want to have a transformational public sector ready for change. The very concept of cloud services means the ability to switch on and off services as you need them, change them and upgrade them quickly to take advantage of the latest technology. The private sector have embraced this and taken advantage of it for years, so it's great to see a programme in place that will help drive this in the UK public space, too - and hopefully in the process put us at the forefront of delivering outstanding citizen services.
Thanks for your time Mr Baxter, and good luck on the G-cloud.
To find out more about this G-Cloud-7 Digital Contender, go here
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