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Greater Manchester Police:
Billing information helps police with their enquiries
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) was formed in 1974 by the amalgamation of the Manchester and Salford joint force with the constabularies of Lancashire and Cheshire. The combined force serves some 2½ million people and covers an area of 500 square miles – with over 8,000 Police Officers, 349 Special Constables – as well as 4,658 civilian staff.
Like all police forces, GMP has a critical role to play in society. It not only needs to provide a safe and secure environment for citizens, but also needs to be accessible around the clock. Communications technology plays a pivotal role, and GMP has an extensive voice and data communications network.
Chris Edge, IT Director at GMP, says: “BT provides us with a wide range of communications services and has been working collaboratively with the force for many years.” In recent times BT has been assisting GMP with voice and data convergence to leverage greater value from its BT provided IP-based wide area network. This has been a substantial enabler for cost reduction, achieved through the rationalisation of a dedicated voice network.
GMP is also a user of BT’s value added billing services, such as BT Billing Analyst. Chris Edge explains: “BT billing applications were very useful in helping us manage our voice communications infrastructure, but we had reached a point where we needed additional help to deliver the next level of savings. BT recognised this and appointed one of its consultants to assist us.”
BT’s Analyst Consult is a free service to help customers make the most of BT’s billing applications. BT consultants are able to access additional network-based call information. They are also equipped to offer training and guidance to assist customers to optimise their communications infrastructures.
The BT consultant introduced GMP to BT Analyst Elite. This is a networked version of BT Billing Analyst, which enables much broader access to billing information to authorised users throughout the organisation. To assist with the rollout the BT consultant also delivered BT Billing Analyst training. Chris Edge comments: “BT Analyst Elite enabled us to speed-up and improve information flow to different departments. It has reduced the administrative burden on the central team and has helped us assure greater accountability for communications costs.”
The next phase of work involved the identification and cessation of unnecessary lines. Chris Edge continues: “Using BT Billing Analyst enabled us to identify which of our lines never make an outgoing call, but before we could remove them we needed to assure ourselves that they were not required for incoming calls or other services such as alarms.”
BT’s Network Call Performance reporting system and specifically the Network Call Analyst module provided the answer. It allows GMP to analyse and manipulate data on calls made and received on all of its lines. It provided that additional layer of data to enable GMP to identify lines no longer essential to its day-to-day operations.
To mitigate the risk of ceasing lines that were still actually required BT temporarily ceased the lines for a three-month period. At the end of this period GMP and BT reviewed the outcome and agreed permanent cessation of the lines as appropriate.
GMP also signed up for Analyst Alert, which provides a priority email message to a designated person against predetermined parameters to highlight unusual activity. GMP was interested in long duration calls, a particular issue that had become evident through analysis of billing data. In addition, a revised business line rental plan and associated calling package was proposed and implemented. The latter was matched to the actual GMP calling profile to provide the force with the best value for money.
As a direct result of the programme over 500 underutilised or unused lines have been identified and ceased (many being the consequence of the GMP voice and data convergence programme). The Analyst Alert service also quickly proved its worth, helping GMP to identify equipment problems. Chris Edge explains: “We use a dial up link to the DVLA at Swansea for selected applications but the call was not always being ceased at the appropriate time – running up unnecessary call charges. With BT’s help we were able to identify this and fix the root cause.”
There were other savings too. The new line rental arrangement reduced expenditure by £44,000 per annum. Furthermore a combination of the revised calling plan together with improved visibility and management of unnecessary calls – particularly those to premium rate numbers – has reduced overall call costs by around five per cent. That would have been difficult, if not impossible, without BT Analyst Elite.
The combination of these actions has realised annualised saving for GMP of approaching £300,000, money that can now be invested to further enhance Manchester policing. Chris Edge sums up: “The power of its billing services and applications, coupled with a proactive approach, really differentiates the BT offer. The advice and guidance BT has provided has helped us to leverage greater value from our communications expenditure through informed decision-making.”
- BT Billing Analyst
- BT Analyst Elite
- BT Analyst Alert
- Network Call Performance Reports featuring the Network Call Analyst module