Contract awarded to IT reseller Computacenter is hoped to save as much as £84m in operating costs, as part of a wider transformation agenda and move towards smaller commercial engagements
The Ministry of Defence has awarded a £150m contract to UK IT heavyweight Computacenter, which will provide hundreds of thousands of computing devices to staff with roles spanning from Whitehall to the battlefield.
The MoD has signed a four-year deal with the London-listed tech firm, which has been tasked with delivering “a high-quality, secure and sustainable service to defence personnel”, according to the government. The ministry claims that the engagement will reduce its operating costs by an estimated £84m, while also creating UK jobs at the IT provider’s headquarters in Hatfield and its offices in Nottingham.
The agreement covers the provision of about 220,000 devices, to be used by defence personnel “from head office to the frontline”.
Despite the hefty price tag attached to the contract, the government claimed that the deal “represents a wider MoD move away from large, aggregated contracts to smaller, more measurable contracts that will improve organisational flexibility”.
The agreement forms part of a wider investment programme led by the Defence Digital – a 2,400-strong centralised unit within Strategic Command and comprised of civil servants, military officers, and contractors. More than £4bn annually is being put into digital transformation with the intention to “streamline the M0D’s processes and increase our operational capability”.
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Minister for defence procurement James Cartlidge, said: “Delivering on our digital transformation will ensure high-quality, rapidly accessible global data, which is a critical component of our fighting power. Bolstered technology can strengthen our deterrence, our resilience, and our national prosperity. The service will improve performance standards and speed of access across 220,000 devices including laptops, desktops, peripherals and software applications.
MoD chief information officer Charles Forte added: “This new relationship is a significant component in our ongoing progress to bring new business into the team and ensures we are modernising and innovating in support of our internal customers to deliver greater value for money.”
A major report published by the National Audit Office 15 months ago suggested that the MoD’s delivery of the Digital Strategy for Defence was being hampered significantly by a lack of skilled personnel and the ongoing prevalence of legacy technology.
The latter issue raised its head again very recently, with parliamentary disclosures revealing that the ministry has 11 systems with a red rating on government’s legacy IT assessment framework – meaning they are at a “critical level of risk”. This figure is higher than any other department that has provided data on their legacy estate.
To help address potential cyber risks, the ministry recently revealed it is set to spend millions of pounds ramping up its use of bug-bounty initiatives, and other schemes in which ethical hackers will be tasked with testing the MoD’s tech defences to identify potential vulnerabilities.