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BBC selects Atos for £560m enterprise IT and hosting services Aurora contract

The BBC has signed a five-year deal with French IT services company Atos, for the provision of enterprise IT and hosting services in a deal worth up to £560m.

The broadcaster had released a tender for the contract back in April last year that it said would form part of its switch to a multi-sourcing approach for its Aurora programme. Aurora has been built to replace the BBC’s existing 10-year, £2bn deal with Atos.

The BBC said that contract announcement followed “an exhaustive public procurement process”, and that the deal supported its digital transformation efforts. It claimed that the new contract would deliver savings of over a third of current costs to the BBC.

Matthew Postgate, chief technology and product officer (CTPO) at the BBC said that the deal would enable the BBC to improve the way it works.

“[The deal] makes our systems and tools simpler and more efficient. It completes a major piece of work re-sourcing our core technology services, allowing us to drive the use of IP technology in broadcasting and make the BBC internet-fit,” he stated.

In the initial tender notice, the BBC detailed its need for enterprise ICT services as: a technology service desk, user tools, collaboration tools, unified communications, fixed-line telephony, mobile carrier services, security and identity services, software-as-a-service (SaaS) management services, device management services, hardware and software provisioning.

For its hosting platforms and applications services, the BBC said that it required applications management, hosting infrastructure services, networking services, cloud management and technical accommodation

The contract, which the BBC can extend for up to three further years, will see new services going live later this year.

It is the last contract of the Aurora project to be awarded. Last January, the company chose BT to provide its broadcast network in a £100m, seven year deal, as part of the Aurora project.

The BBC will be under scrutiny in regards to the programme, after its £100m Digital Media Initiative (DMI) failure which led to the sacking of former CTO John Linwood, and subsequent legal proceedings which found that Linwood was not responsible for the failure of the DMI.

The National Audit Office last year suggested that the BBC had learnt from the failure of the DMI.

However, in February, the BBC rated the delivery of the Aurora project as only “feasible”. This means that significant issues already existed which required management attention, but these could be resolved if addressed promptly.

The BBC has taken a ‘tower model’ approach to the programme, which has been criticised by the government in the past for being an old-fashioned and expensive approach to providing IT services.

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