The two leaders of the £5bn Defence Information Infrastructure contract [DII], who represent the Ministry of Defence and the Atlas consortium, which is led by services supplier EDS, have spoken about progress and challenges, and the lessons learned.
Answering our questions following a joint investigation of the DII by Computer Weekly and Channel 4 News, Bob Quick, the MoD's programme director for the scheme, and Howard Hughes, Chief Operating Officer of a consortium of suppliers, Atlas, did not deny there have been problems but said the scheme was on a sound footing.
The DII is the largest single IT contract in the UK, the NHS’s £12.4bn National Programme for IT [NPfIT] having been split into separate deals. In March 2005 the MoD awarded a 10 year contract to the Atlas consortium, led by services supplier EDS, to supply and support the DII.
The DII should bring together 300 separate systems, many of which don’t talk to each other. It'll provide a single infrastructure to carry administrative and intelligence information, and data from sensors. And it will replace applications at defence sites across the world, whether they're in Whitehall or running on ruggedized laptops at a battlefield headquarters on the front line in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Howard Hughes said that, before DII, it might have taken several logons on separate systems to ensure information was transferred from a fixed site to a front-line headquarters.
Under the original plans about 70,000 Windows-based systems, known as user access devices, were due to have been rolled out under DII by mid-2007. About 16,000 have in fact been rolled out. About 290 applications were due to have been migrated to DII by mid-2007, and about 90 have yet to be transferred.
The total projected cost of DII is more than £5bn which includes the MoD’s costs and inflation. Only a portion of this will go to the Atlas consortium which comprises Fujitsu, General Dynamics, EADS and LogicaCMG. The suppliers will receive £2.3bn for increment 1 of DII and a further £750m for an add-on contract, increment 2a, which was awarded in December 2006.
Atlas will also receive about £270m for increment 2b – a total of about £3.3bn. Further increments under DII – 2c for “above secret” work and various other phases - have yet to be awarded.