Defra picks £46m Microsoft licensing partner

Written by Sam Trendall on 25 September 2020 in News
News

Phoenix Software picked for three-year contract

Windows 10    Credit: Microsoft

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has awarded a £46.5m contract to meet its Microsoft licensing needs for the next three years.

The deal was won by Phoenix Software, a specialist licensing reseller based near York. The contract came into effect on 1 July, and runs until 31 July 2023, with no provisions made for an extension. During the first year of the engagement, Defra expects to spend £14.2m.

Licensing services will, according to the contract, initially be provided across the entities that comprise the “core Defra group”. This includes the department itself, the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Marine Management Organisation, and the Rural Payments Agency.

The deal was awarded via the third lot of the £6.5bn Technology Products and Associated Services framework, which runs from December 2019 to December 2022.


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Defra is in the midst of migrating away from a long-term IT outsourcing agreement with IBM. After 17 years and about £1.5bn spent via the contract, the engagement is due to finally expire next year. 

In 2017, the department launched the UnITy project to disaggregate the deal and replace it – and a similar long-term outsourcing contract between the Environment Agency and Capgemini – with a series of contracts covering individual product or service areas.

This has so far included the award of a £135m IT hosting deal to Atos, and an £80m contract with DXC to provide end-user devices and related services.

Phoenix Software was founded 30 years ago and, in 2017, was acquired by rival licensing reseller Bytes. 

In the 2019 financial year, Phoenix banked a net profit of £4.1m on sales of £152.4m. In addition to Microsoft, it also provides products from a wide range of software and hardware vendors, including HPE, IBM, and Oracle. 

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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