This article is part of our Essential Guide: Essential guide to application modernisation

HMRC shares details of IT transformation plans

HM Revenue & Customs has published its IT strategy outlining how it plans to transform its IT estate by taking a platform approach, moving to virtual infrastructure and cloud-based services

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) plans to transform its “complex IT landscape” by getting rid of legacy systems and creating a digital service through a series of platforms, according to its IT strategy.

With a complex IT estate comprising nearly 600 different IT applications, HMRC wants to transform its IT, re-engineering what it has so the majority of its IT applications run on virtualised infrastructure environments with as much as possible hosted on commodity cloud services.

HMRC received a £1.3bn reinvestment as part of the spending review to transform the department into a digital tax administration.

The department’s transformation is based on a converged business model with a series of platforms. One of these is the tax administration platform, which aims to give all small businesses and individuals access to digital tax accounts by 2016-2017.

Over the past few years, the department has worked on increasing its cloud setup to support its internal platform-as-a-service (PaaS) infrastructure, of which this forms a part.

HMRC is also creating five “cross-cutting” platforms, including a case management system, data and risk analytics, debt management, finance and human resources (HR).

“Virtualisation technology brokered from multiple vendors, moving to a disaster-tolerant environment with less focus on disaster recovery, will help HMRC transform our datacentre hosting platforms from traditionally dedicated physical resources to virtual cloud-based services,” the strategy document said.

In 2015, HMRC awarded a contract to Bain & Company to help the department move away from its £800m-a-year outsourcing contract with Aspire. HMRC aims to save £200m a year by scrapping the contract when it expires in June 2017.

The department is also looking at maximising further opportunities for cost savings by “aligning our architecture domains and delivery methodology with the supplier model and new service delivery model and supporting increased leverage of our internal IT function”.

Kristian Miller, HMRC’s head of IT strategy, said in a blog post that the department is putting the customer at the heart of the transformation, “with a fundamental shift away from batch processing to real-time updates”.

Read more about HMRC IT

  • HMRC launches new digital strategy, committing to personalised online tax accounts.
  • HMRC goes live with online personal tax accounts and publishes a detailed plan on how to “make tax digital”.

“We want to use the substantial amounts of data we hold to gain more customer insight to help us maximise compliance, increase efficiency and improve the experience of our customers,” he said.

Miller added that for staff, a “better range of IT equipment” would be introduced to provide “a more engaging and social experience”.

Last year, Computer Weekly reported that HMRC was closing down local offices and creating 13 regional centres which will all be “equipped with the digital infrastructure and training facilities needed to build a more highly skilled workforce”.

“To support the new delivery methodology we have created delivery centres. These will bring together all the skills required to develop and operate key services. They will be staffed by a combination of HMRC staff and partners, and led by HMRC,” the strategy said. 

Read more on IT for government and public sector

Data Center
Data Management