The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is seeking a strategic partner to offer it advice and support on its Defence Core Network Services (DCNS) change programme, in a deal that could reach as much as £80m.
The change programme aims to deliver better integrated end-to-end ICT for the MoD, where it hopes it will achieve greater agility while cutting costs.
The MoD is initially looking for the chosen partner to advise on replacing its five major network contracts, which include defence electronic commerce services (DECS); defence fixed telecommunications services (DFTS); defence information infrastructure (DII); defence high frequency communication service (DHFCS); and Skynet 5, which are military satellites.
Georgina O'Toole, director at analyst firm Tech Market View, believes that the DCNS programme could significantly change the face of the defence software and IT supplier (SITS) marketplace.
"The outcome of the DCNS programme has the potential to massively disrupt the UK defence SITS landscape. [It] is intended to put in place the next generation of ICT services contracts," O'Toole wrote in a blog.
"Many of the leading UK software and IT service providers derive a significant amount of revenue form the existing contracts: DII (HP, Fujitsu, Logica); DFTS (BT); SkyNet 5 (Logica); DECS (Capgemini). And they work alongside a wide range of specialist providers, such as defence contractors and communications specialists," she added.
"These contracts have various end points and one of the key roles of the strategic partner will be to better manage the transition to new contracts".
O'Toole claims that the MoD is working with key government contacts to establish how it should work with suppliers in the future.
"Essentially, the MoD is looking for a supplier to offer them support and expert advice to build on the strategies, plan and approach for the government," states the blog.
"How this plays out will be fascinating to watch. The big prime approach has gone. The MoD is working closely with the Cabinet Office, including UK Government CIO, Andy Nelson, to determine the new contractual model," it continues.
"One thing is clear; the MoD is facing numerous challenges in moving forward with DCNS, including feeling pressure to drive out more cost and the need to fit with the pan-Government agenda".
The contract is set at three years initially with the option for the MoD to extend it on an annual basis, for up to four years. Interested parties have until 13 April to participate in the tender process.