Simac ICT Belgium will deliver and maintain the network and security infrastructure at the Province of Flemish Brabant for the next four years. Other provinces and local authorities can also make use of the terms of that framework contract. With this new contract Simac once again underlines its strength as an end-to-end provider of infrastructure and integration services. Over the term of four years, that contract will be worth over five million euros.
For the next four years Simac will supply all hardware and software for LAN, wireless and security including installation and maintenance. The assignment consists of one lot with different parts, LAN infrastructure, WLAN infrastructure, security infrastructure, network cabling and datacenter infrastructure, maintenance contracts and various managed services.
Technological choices for Cisco Meraki and Fortinet
For the new framework contract, the Province of Flemish Brabant made important technological choices. The technology of the previous framework contract was no longer seen as manageable and efficient. That is why the choice was now made to work with Cisco Meraki in combination with Fortinet firewalls. "In our specifications we described what the ideal world was for us, where we wanted to go with our network and security infrastructure," says Luc Jaspers, Head of Information Technology at the Province of Flemish Brabant. "Because we open up our framework contracts to cities and municipalities, scalability was also included in our terms and conditions. The technology we chose had to be suitable for small environments as well as for buildings where 1,000 employees work". In addition to scalability and manageability, the Province of Flemish Brabant paid a lot of attention to the strength of security.
From left to right: Christophe Lonnoy (Business Development Manager, Simac), Johan Diels (Director, Simac), Ann Schevenels (Deputy, Province of Flemish Brabant), Luc Jaspers (Head of IT, Province of Flemish Brabant)
"In the past, hackers did not target government bodies, but we are no longer spared."
The fact that everything is becoming increasingly digital means that performance increases in importance, an evolution that was reinforced by the pandemic. "Now, for example, the provincial council, which used to be a physical meeting, has to be streamed live. Many other applications are also moving to the cloud". Price, quality and sustainability (efficient power consumption) completed the selection criteria.
The advantages of an end-to-end integrator
As this is a framework contract for services, the qualities of the service provider play a key role in the choice. The Province of Flemish Brabant examines, among other things, the staff turnover of the potential partner. "We want to know whether we are dealing with a stable partner, or one where people come and go," said Luc Jaspers. "That is a very measurable criterion. Furthermore, quality is tested by the demand for a project plan, the profiles of the consultants proposed by the integrator and the references in the public sector that can be submitted.
In the end Simac emerged as the winner of the tender. "Simac has distinguished itself by being the only integrator offering Cisco Meraki. The ease of installation and manageability stood out, even though this cloud solution was completely new to us". The Province of Flemish Brabant was already familiar with the qualities of Simac as a service provider and integrator. Three years ago Simac won the framework contract for server, storage and hyperconverged infrastructure at the Province of Flemish Brabant. "We know their people, we know that Simac has competencies that can help us. Very important: Simac has a lot of experience with local government. The public sector has a different dynamic and a different way of working than a private company. It makes things a lot easier if that knowledge of government processes is present". For the Province of Flemish Brabant it was also an added value that Simac is an end-to-end integrator. In addition to the Integration business unit of Simac, Cabling & Infrastructure (for all cabling) and Simac BMS (for network monitoring) are also involved in this framework contract. "That is certainly an advantage for us. We can set the whole train in motion via a single point of contact," said Luc Jaspers.
Stable and professional partner
After years of cooperation, the Province of Flemish Brabant regards Simac as a true partner, not just as a supplier. "We know that they think along with us and that we work collaborate on an equal level. That works very efficiently," Luc Jaspers explained. "Simac is very professional: in their relationships, in the agreements they make, in their technical expertise, ... They know what they are talking about. At the same time, we are only one phone call away from each other. Once Simac is in charge of something, I know I don't have to worry anymore. For us it is very important that they are a European player, but feel like a local player. That is especially an advantage for the municipalities that also make use of this framework contract. For local authorities it is easy that they can talk to local people and for the helpdesk they don't end up in a faraway foreign country".
"Winning a new framework contract at the Province of Flemish Brabant is very important to us."
. "It proves how strong Simac is with Flemish authorities and it recognizes the power of our end-to-end service offering. Our wide range of services and our relationship with top suppliers allows us to relieve our customers of their worries".
"Technical expertise, quality, attention to detail, attitude, commitment to the customer. These are the characteristics that distinguish Simac and that's why we also win these cases."
"What makes this case unique is the teamwork between the various Simac business units in order to be able to offer the customer a total solution. We must and will attach even more importance to this in the future. By the way, it is an absolute asset that we can now develop a total solution for the provincial government itself, but also for the local authorities and other Flemish provincial authorities. Whether it concerns servers, data storage, hyperconverged infrastructure, networks or security solutions, they can now come to us for a tailored solution for all these domains".