BBC searches for new IT outsourcing agreement

BBC searches for new IT outsourcing agreement

The BBC has unveiled plans to change the way it outsources its IT functions, by shifting from a single supplier model.

Until now, the corporation's approach to IT outsourcing has been to use a single provider, with the £2 billion deal signed with Siemens in 2004 - and subsequently transferred to the IT services provider's new parent company Atos - set to expire in 2015, Computer Weekly reports.

A spokesperson for the corporation explained: "We are moving from one monolithic contract covering everything to multiple contracts with a number of specialist companies. This allows us to get better value, greater flexibility and access to new technology as it emerges.”

The new plan, called the Aurora Programme, will see seven different contracts offered out, so the broadcaster can tap into the emerging technological expertise of various companies.

By doing so, it hopes to be able to tap more swiftly into the latest developments in areas like cloud services, platform, infrastructure and storage-as-a-service, as well as new broadcasting technology and bring your own device.

Known as a tower model, this will cover not just the services provided by Atos but stretch to cover other functions as well. The BBC has so far spoken to 35 possible providers.

The corporation spokesman said: "This new tower model is the best approach to ensure the services are provided in a way that offers maximum value for licence-fee payers."

A similar approach to outsourcing has been adopted by organisations like the Metropolitan Police and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The relationship between the BBC and Siemens has not always been a happy one. In 2008 the IT firm was awarded a contract to create a new digital link between production and an archive of digital content, which staff would be able to access during production.

In the event, the supplier failed to deliver the technology on time and the BBC brought the project back in-house. However, this did not solve matters and the whole plan was eventually axed at a cost of £98 million, with project head John Linwood suspended and subsequently sacked.

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