The government is to test the feasibility of moving to a single enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform across Whitehall.
In a £100,000, four-month tender as part of the Next Generation Shared Services programme, the government said it is seeking an external partner to deliver a high level design for the business case.
“With a large number of Oracle ERP solutions requiring an upgrade, we intend to take the opportunity to maximise the value to the taxpayer before embarking on any major programme, through the use of a short feasibility study,” said the contract note.
But it is unlikely that the government will overhaul its Oracle estate any time soon, having recently signed a renegotiation agreement with the ERP provider to save £75m by 2015 across central government departments, the emergency services and NHS.
Oracle currently holds 70% of all government software licences, according to the government’s asset register, with the government’s spend with Oracle greater than £200m, Liam Maxwell, director of ICT futures at the Cabinet Office said earlier this year.
The move for a standardised platform follows research from Computer Weekly, which found that some government departments were spending three times more than others for ERP software licences. The Cabinet Office told Computer Weekly earlier this year that Oracle and SAP were the worst offenders for pricing inconsistencies.