Skills will be key to MoD technology overhaul

One of the main consortia bidding for the £5bn contract to overhaul the Ministry of Defence's IT infrastructure has warned that...

One of the main consortia bidding for the £5bn contract to overhaul the Ministry of Defence's IT infrastructure has warned that the correct skills mix will be key to project managing the ambitious 10-year scheme.

IBM has joined forces with BAE Systems and Steria to bid for the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) contract, which will provide IT support to about 300,000 MoD and military staff. It will also integrate more than 100 legacy systems.

Roger Wyn-Jones, programme director of IBM's DII team, said, "The success of the project management will be down to having the correct mix of skills in the team."

Wyn-Jones said IBM is planning to help the MoD keep pace with future IT trends. "This is a very long-term deal and we will be contributing our research and development to help the MoD anticipate where technology is going so that its IT investment is future-proofed," he said.

The other partners in the bid are hoping to build on their experience of working with the MoD. Nigel Yard, programme director at BAE Systems, which works on a number of UK military projects, including the Royal Navy's Future Carrier initiative, said, "Our military domain knowledge across all aspects of the MoD will be particularly important here."

Three other consortia are also reported to be in the running for the DII deal, and the MoD is expected to draw up a shortlist of bidders next month. The contract is scheduled to be awarded in the first quarter of 2005.

An MoD spokeswoman said, "A number of companies have submitted the pre-qualification questionnaire and we are now in the process of evaluating them."

The MoD has a poor record of delivering complex technology projects. A report from the National Audit Office last December slammed the MoD for underestimating the risks involved in major projects and for time slippage in procurement programmes.

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