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CGI & BrightBox: Building an ecosystem for success through true partnership

The saying goes that a problem shared is a problem halved. When that problem amounts to a challenge that requires landing some of the best tech and development resources to work on transformational government projects, never has the saying held so much credence.

CGI is one of the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world, working with both private and public sector clients.

It provides industry and technology expertise, supporting organisations to innovate, modernise and support easy and secure access to digital services.

Government is no exception, and in many respects is leading the march in this area.

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Pressed to deliver critical services to citizens, while at the same time improving operational excellence and reducing costs, Government infrastructures and systems are being upgraded, improving citizen experience, while strengthening cybersecurity and compliance in a growing threat landscape.

It’s an area where a resourcing ‘ecosystem’ and a panel of strong resource partners really comes into its own.

A hot market with demands on skills and expertise

Antony Collard is Vice President at CGI, and is responsible for running two sub-sectors with the organisation’s Government business customers across a range of projects.

As a systems integrator, CGI provides different resources to different clients, and through their work with Government that involves everything from providing resources into an intelligent client function, helping support with cyber security, architecture, and strategic design.

This work can also involve working alongside Government employees, supporting policy design, as well as existing ‘in flight’ projects.

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Meanwhile, in their role as a strategic delivery partner, they augment support teams through the delivery and management of Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT), from technical resources , and architecture to user-centered design.

It’s all-encompassing across the technology spectrum, and it’s an area that can be challenging to resource.

Antony describes the market as “hot”, with demand for tech skills and resources arguably at an all-time high.

It’s for that reason CGI knows the importance of having access to the right people, which in Antony’s own words comes from the power of a strong partner ecosystem.

What is the CGI partner ecosystem..?

For CGI its partner ecosystem is critical to its success, but it also supports the Government as it looks to meet some of its own objectives. That means ensuring small businesses are part of the wider supply chain, and removing reliance on large, single-entity suppliers. It removes risk, and it provides depth of expertise.

“It’s a unique way to operate – we’re not just doing it ourselves,” said Antony.

“It’s having an ecosystem of partners that really helps. It means it’s not just us that has to have a bench. We can spread that work around and it makes it easier to get what we and our clients need.

“And it’s a model that works well for the Government sector. On the one hand, it meets its need to hit a target of deferring more money and disaggregating from large contracts with one provider. On the other, it reduces the administrative burden, and crucially shares revenues with SMEs.

“Having an ecosystem works for us in a number of ways. It means we can work with some really good companies, and it means we can augment our bench with theirs. And if you get the right people and you have the right symbiotic relationship then you’re able to get the right quality and you can work more in a partnership/critical friend way, rather than big supplier.

“Rather than viewing a supplier that’s there to serve, you act as a true partner. It's an opportunity to work with other people, augment our bench and move work around. This enables us to be super-efficient with how we work and how we land our people.”

Working with BrightBox

By disaggregating work among a group of supply partners, CGI has the ability to add real value. And BrightBox is a key partner in allowing the business to deliver exemplary value through its contracts with Government.

“We look for trust, honesty, openness, a willingness to collaborate, and an understanding of each other’s situation and each other’s end game. It’s understanding how you can help – listening, not just taking orders. That’s what we get when we’re working with BrightBox.

“Pragmatism and managing expectations are essential when it comes to any assignment. That’s why it’s important that with our partners, such as BrightBox, we can start with a conversation that begins with ‘what can you do and how can you help?

“They make sure the people they give us are of the highest quality. Some organisations would simply hand you hundreds of CVs of people that don’t fit the bill. BrightBox are interested in our actual requirements and going and finding the right people.

“Not once has the client turned round and said this isn’t what we were after.”

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