Defra claims initial success in switch from IBM and Capgemini as 25 suppliers express interest in UnITy

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said that 25 suppliers are interested in working to deliver its managed print services as part of efforts to replace long-term IBM and Capgemini contracts.

Defra is looking to upgrade its managed print services – Photo credit: Flickr, jared moran, CC BY-SA 2.0

The IBM and Capgemini contracts, which end in 2018, will be replaced by a larger number of smaller, more flexible contracts as the department works with more suppliers across its ICT services.

The move is being overseen by the department’s internal UnITy programme, and the aim is to reduce overall ICT spending by 25%, as well as provide better value for the money that is spent.

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The first procurement process through the scheme – for managed print services – began at the end of last year, with Defra holding a supplier open day to explain more about the plan.

Chief technology officer Chris Howes said that the feedback was encouraging, with 25 suppliers saying they are interested in working on managed print. “The response tells us that supplier market is excited about the prospect of working with Defra,” he said.

However, he added that working in a multiple chain of suppliers would be new for the department, and would require the team to be “far more hands-on, taking much closer ownership of the management, assurance and analysis than we are used to”.

In addition, he said that ensuring suppliers work well together would be crucial. “We can’t afford issues to fall between the gaps between suppliers. Creating a culture of shared ownership and accountability, all working together to fix a problem and ensuring the user has the best possible experience, is critical,” he said.

The department plans to procure for new hosting services, service desk provision and connectivity in the coming months.

“It’s not going to be quick, but it is going to be ground breaking for ICT in Defra and across Government,” said Howes. “I, for one am excited to be getting closer to working in an organisation with ICT that works better.”


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