The Government Procurement Service (GPS) has revealed plans to create a framework for the support and maintenance of enterprise application software across Whitehall, which could reach £100 million in value.
The Cabinet Office has decided following a comprehensive review of the use of frameworks in government, that it would limit the number of such arrangements in future to reduce waste. If the enterprise software support framework does go ahead, it will a significant strategic choice and is likely to be considered critical for government departments.
In recent months the Government Digital Service (GDS) and key technology leaders within the Cabinet Office have been pushing departments to use the G-Cloud and the soon to be launched Digital Services Framework, which favour the use of agile, more cost effective SMEs.
However, a prior information notice issued by GPS this week has indicated that it has the need for the "direct provision of support and maintenance for enterprise application software inclusive of any customisation and independent of normal product lifecycles as defined by the relevant software owner (for example to provide continued support beyond a product's stated end of life)".
The chosen suppliers will provide break-fix support, advice on patches, development, testing and implementation of bug fixes, as well as assistance with upgrading, replacing, or otherwise changing the enterprise application software.
GPS proposes that the framework be divided up into four lots - support for Oracle software, SAP software, IBM software and other enterprise application software.
It will last for a minimum of four years, with the option to extend by up to two more years.
In other news, the Cabinet Office also recently announced that it will establish a Crown Commercial Service, which will centralise procurement and allow the government to purchase goods and services as a single customer. It will be in use as of Autumn 2013.