How Skanska improved its communications

Skanska is a Swedish construction group with operations worldwide. Its UK business is one of the country’s top contractors, responsible for building iconic structures such as 30 St Mary’s Axe (the Gherkin), Heron Tower, Barts and The Royal London hospitals and the QEII Bridge. It also manages services contracts, including upgrading London’s gas infrastructure, long-term street lighting projects and landscaping for the London 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford.

The UK business has a number of challenges, which it describes as ‘big rocks’. Sustainability is one, as is environmental impact. In the company’s words: ‘the ultimate aim of our Journey to Deep Green™ is for all Skanska projects to have a near-zero impact on the environment’.

Efficiency and working smarter is a big part of this. The company’s Five Zeroes policy requires zero loss-making projects, zero accidents, zero environmental incidents, zero ethical breaches and zero defects.

With Skanska staff likely to be called to sites anywhere in the country, often in remote locations – and expected to be up and running as soon as possible – the business needed a communications solution it could rely on. Any communication delays would impact on the productivity of its engineers, and ultimately affect customer expectations.

In the UK, the Skanska business comprises 11 operating companies. It had grown to include a number of network suppliers, making the communications estate more complex, costly and difficult to manage. As part of a broader initiative to move to shared services across the group, Skanska wanted to consolidate its communications with one supplier, adopting a managed service. The solution had to provide rapid connectivity for all new Skanska sites, and create and meet strict SLAs

Agility and accountability

Vodafone won the business due to a great relationship with the account management team, supported by excellent endorsements of Vodafone’s experience within the construction sector. This got the attention of the IT Infrastructure and Security team at Skanska.

The Vodafone solution provides an IP-VPN in a three-year deal. This consolidates business critical communications onto a single, high availability IP WAN across all Skanska locations. Vodafone is also partnering with SAS to deliver a more rapid deployment of solutions to new sites.

This creates a number of benefits for the Skanska business. It allows for the creation of more deployment options rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, matching the diverse nature of Skanska sites. The company benefits from having communications up and running from day one on all new sites and switching to a single provider also reduces the costs and complexity of contract management, and ensures a consistent level of service with one point of contact.

Being on a single network allows Skanska to share best practice across all 11 companies – extremely useful in meeting the Five Zeroes objective, and the faster roll-out of the new applications. It has already led to the take-up of a new financial tool, allowing Skanska a real-time view of all projects. Partnering with Vodafone also creates a path towards communications convergence.