Cabinet Office cleared for £30m plan to move back-office apps to SaaS

Written by Sam Trendall on 31 July 2020 in News
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Spend-control data shows approval for eight-figure investment in project to migrate from on-premises infrastructure to hosted environment

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The Cabinet Office has been approved to spend £30m on its ongoing work to move back-office applications from an on-premises to a hosted environment.

The department’s finance, HR, payroll and procurement software is currently run from the single operation platform (SOP) infrastructure delivered by Shared Services Connected Ltd (SSCL) – a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Sopra Steria. 

SOP, which is used by the Cabinet Office’s 8,500 staff as well as by other government departments, is an on-premises offering based on Oracle’s eBusiness Suite technology.

The central department’s contract with SSCL expires on 31 October 2023, and the Cabinet Office announced last year that it wished to move its back-office applications to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) environment. 


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The programme to do so would, the department said, be split into three stages: prepare; procure; and change. London-based consultancy Veracity last year won a £3.9m one-year contract to deliver the early-stage work on the migration scheme – which is dubbed SOP2SAAS.

In April, a £15m contract notice seeking an “implementation partner” to fulfil a two-year programme of work “to facilitate an operations and technology transformation across finance, HR, payroll and procurement and the replacement of SOP and associated systems with a SaaS ERP solution which meets the authority's requirements”.

Newly published spend-control data for the first three months of 2020 shows that, on 15 January, the Cabinet Office received approval to spend as much £30.058m on the SOP2SAAS programme.

This was one a number of big-ticket outlays that were cleared during the quarter, with other approvals including £60m to be spent on the so-called clearing hub for Whitehall departments to procure consultancy support for EU exit work.

On 19 March, the Cabinet Office – which also manages the spend-control process across government – received approval to spend £22.11m on “excess storage deployment”.

The department also got the green light to update the licensing agreement across England and Wales for public-sector use of the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File database of UK addresses. This will cost £19.5m, the data indicates.

Two property investments were cleared during the quarter: £8.25m on 20 Great Smith Street in Westminster; and £11.16m on the site of the new civil service hub in Croydon – on which building work will being shortly.

A £1m marketing campaign for the COP26 climate-change conference was cleared in January. The event, which will be hosted in Glasgow, has now been postponed by a year to November 2021, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

During 2020’s opening quarter, the Cabinet Office was cleared to spend a cumulative total of £152.1m across seven different projects or items.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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