How does it feel to be a BBC successful tenderer?

HeadChannel is an authorised supplier for Digital Marketplace, and an Innovate UK fund winner. Recently, it has been accepted as an authorised supplier to the BBC. We sat down with the Strategy Director, Beata Green, to get her thoughts on the application process and what this acceptance means to the company. Read the interview here to learn more.

What was it that led you to decide to apply for the BBC framework?

Applying to BBC framework gives us another route to access the market. It is also another place to offer our software development services. As everyone is well aware, the BBC is the world's leading public service broadcaster. They are also both impartial and independent. And they also create distinctive, world-class programmes. I am personally a big fan of BBC myself, and I often watch their stunning documentaries, excellent series, factual programmes, and the news programmes. For me, it is an application that is supported by my admiration for this independent Broadcaster in a world that is now full of distorted, mispresented, and blandly fake news.

Is the BBC framework's idea unique in some way compared to others?

The BBC framework is similar to other frameworks with a focus that is primarily based on overall value for money. Whilst price is important, quality, reliability, safety, security, design, timely delivery, maintenance, and after-sales support also must be considered. Only after this consideration can a decision be arrived at regarding which will be the most economically advantageous to the BBC.

What does the application process to become an authorised supplier look like, was it complicated?

The application process was fairly straightforward, though we had to present detailed case studies of work completed for our clients that corresponded to the experience that the BBC required. The level of content in these case studies had to be sufficient enough to satisfy their stringent acceptance criteria and also show the BBC why they can trust us in delivering the work that they might need us to provide to them. After we handed in our submission and once the selection process had been completed, we also received feedback from them telling us about which categories we were accepted and why we had been accepted into those categories.

How does it feel to be known as one of the selected suppliers to the BBC?

It feels great being chosen as it only proves that we have the relevant experience to help in delivering the innovation. Our appointment onto the Framework recognises our commitment to providing high quality, cost-effective software development. We are confident that we can supply the BBC with value for their money and software solutions they can enjoy for years to come.

Was it hard, or time-consuming to prepare the application and become an authorised supplier to the BBC?

These types of applications are never easy and have to be very thoughtfully written to address the precise points from the tender. However, what matters is that we have qualified as one of only three hundred suppliers that will be able to bid for future projects. We have substantial experience in writing competitive tenders, and we were able to submit concrete, coherent proposals that yet again, passed us through.

Were there any legal requirements to complete the process?

No. Suppliers accepted onto these frameworks are of varying sizes and offer a wide range of digital skills. And so, there were no requirements as to the minimal revenue or size of the team. We are based in London Clarkenwell, which is close enough to be part of any face to face meetings.

What part of the application process do you think presented the most challenges for you?

In such frameworks, it is crucial to provide confidence that we can deliver quality, innovation and the results that address the needs of our potential client. And that at the same time we can provide innovation too. We need to ensure that we are meeting these expectations and that we can prove we possess the experience with our case studies or strong references.

The Framework consists of eight categories. These categories include; 'web development', 'mobile app development', 'backend development', '3rd party maintenance', 'emerging technologies', 'data science and machine learning', 'design and UX' and 'host and operate'. 

To be an authorised supplier, you have to choose three categories. Which ones did you choose to include, and why? 

We chose to focus on showing case studies that relate to our extensive experience in web and mobile app development, back end development, emerging technologies and data science and machine learning. We thought that our chances were highest with these categories as we have done lots of projects for clients, in all types of sectors, to deliver scalable, innovative, modern and user-friendly applications that were supported by the consistent software development process.

Which parts of the BBCs online portfolio did you apply for and why? Which aspects of your business or case studies did you hope to present in the application you submitted?

We focused on presenting only a relevant portfolio of our work. Some of the examples we chose to include were:

  • An app for the healthcare sector that offers hundreds of pharma and healthcare teams a unique and fully immersive experience intended to increase and measure empathy and awareness for participants. This case study was chosen as it confirms our expertise in mobile app development (across various platforms) for companies from healthcare sectors around the world.
  • An app that was intended to help high street stores in their reopening processes following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This app allowed them to reopen whilst maintaining the new safety standards that have been imposed. Specifically, the app helped with managing the number of people in the store at any given moment whilst, at the same time, avoiding long queues in the streets outside. This project was chosen as it confirmed our expertise in mobile app development for the retail industry and our ability to react quickly to a customer need (the project was done in one month after the lockdown was confirmed).
  • A platform that provides a full circle recruitment offering. This included everything from growing and managing the talent pool through to compliance and finance. It handles every step of the recruitment process from application through to payroll and invoicing. This case study was chosen as it confirms that we have expertise not only in this specific project but also in program management.
  • A system that takes data from sensors fitted to the stump of an amputee and uses it to build a digital 3D model of that stump. This, in turn, is used to create a 3D model of the prosthetic that will fit the stump. Using advanced algorithms, the model is capable of showing where the main pressure points will be as the patient walks. This information is then used to adjust the model until the pressure is evenly spread out and then send the final model to be 3D printed as the actual prosthetic. This case study was chosen because working on this project confirms that we can efficiently work in a consortium, including public sector (NHS), education industry (Universities) and take part in creating innovative solutions.
  • Examples of data analysis cleansing, combining and manipulating large datasets. This experience included the building of machine learning ready datasets, business insights into patient behaviour and data quality testing. This was chosen as it proves that we are not afraid to work with Big Data or Machine Learning.

Which type of projects are you going to look for now that you are on this platform?

Any project that is in line with our experience, which is primarily in the area of bespoke software development

What are your most vital points which assure HeadChannel will be awarded for any chosen tenders you apply for?

We have over 15 years of experience in IT bespoke software development. We have a specialised and dedicated team. And we possess project delivery skills, as well as transparency and a partnership approach.

And what about References from HeadChannel Clients? The BBC may ask for references from previous customers. Is there somewhere that we can find them listed?

Our clients are delighted to work with us, and they provide us with excellent references, which can be found on Clutch. These rankings are based on client feedback (in a one on one interview with an independent consultant), work experience, and market presence. We, sometimes, cannot provide the exact name of the client due to the contract regulations. However, we are proud that our processes are valued by famous brands and companies, both small and large. That is wonderful. Thank you so much for your time, and we will keep our fingers crossed for new tenders to be won.

If you wish to know more about the transparency and project visibility at HeadChannel, see our Gaining trust by ensuring your project is visible and transparent article. 

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