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Beeb hands £560m IT deal to Atos. Again

Well it's sustainable ... it's a single source producer... Yep! Boutique massive outsourcing

By Kat Hall, 12 May 2017

In an effort to overhaul its massive £2.3bn contract with Atos, the BBC has awarded its Enterprise ICT and Hosting Services contract worth up to £560m over eight years to... you guessed it, Atos.

An internal email sent to staff and seen by The Register said the deal represents the final stage in restructuring its Technology Framework Contract contract with Atos, which expired in April this year.

The mega deal was first signed with Siemens back in 2004 and transferred to Atos when it acquired the Solutions and Services unit in 2010.

Peter O'Kane, the director of BBC Infrastructure, Services, Operations and Commercial, told staff in the internal missive: "The placement of the contract with Atos presents us with a series of opportunities and challenges which I am certain we can jointly deliver and overcome."

Under its Aurora Programme, the Beeb intends to move to a multi-supplier model and in-source its core tech services, thereby saving hundreds of millions of pounds.

Aurora was initially pitched to suppliers as a "tower model", with seven various IT components to be separated and managed and integrated in-house by the BBC.

Originally the Aurora programme was supposed to begin in 2015, but the previous contract with Atos was extended for another two years at a cost of £285m in order to allow for a "smooth transition" to the tower model as well as in-sourcing some teams from Atos.

The other main supplier to win a place on Aurora is BT, which will pocket £100m over the next seven years to supply its internal network.

While the programme might not look very "multi-supplier", Auntie pointed out it also has a framework of suppliers it can call on for "systems delivery and integration services".

In a press release the broadcaster said Atos has been awarded the contract for five years with a possible three-year extension.

Matthew Postgate, chief technology and product officer at the BBC, said the broadcaster is reinventing itself for a new generation "and the technology we use is critical to that mission." He added the deal will allow it to improve its systems and services.

Atos isn't the only massive outsourcer the BBC has found it hard to disentangle itself from. Last year it renewed its telly tax contract with Capita for another five years, meaning the contract will have been running for two decades.

However, Capita's role in that contract was recently slammed by the Public Accounts Committee.

It seems some things never change. ®

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