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MoD to unveil new ICT strategy this year

Neil Merrett Published 20 July 2015

New approach, driven by assured, common ICT services and infrastructure, will support ministry's work at back office and operational level

 

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is in the process of putting forward an updated ICT strategy for publication later this year focused around implementing a single set of common services under the term, Defence as a Platform (DaaP).

As part of wider ambitions to implement an entirely new approach to technology use across the majority of the MoD's operations from September 2016, the ministry is looking at making significant changes to the previous ICT strategy implemented back in 2013.

"Key to this transformation is establishing DaaP, in line with the Government Digital Service (GDS') Government as a Platform (GaaP) and Common Technology Services strategies," said a spokesperson for the MoD.

"[This will] provide a single set of coherent, assured and integrated core ICT services across defence, over which we will provide services to a diverse range of users."

Last month, GDS executive director Mike Bracken said that around 20 common platforms, such as cross department licensing or payment tools, were being considered as part of its GaaP plans. He added that cabinet ministers would have the final say around the tools and platforms that will eventually go live.

While DaaP is a separate strategy from GaaP, Government Computing understands that the MoD's chief digital and information officer Mike Stone is fully engaged with GDS in supporting the transformation of the ministry's IT systems. Potential opportunities for suppliers under the revised strategy are expected to continue to be advertised though channels like the MoD Contract Bulletin.

Stone used last month's MoD CIO Information Symposium to outline his intentions for the DaaP plan as a means of delivering information technology services both at a back office and operational level.

It is understood that DaaP will be delivered as part of a three-point plan that will look at replacing existing the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) with cloud-based systems to support flexible and shared working.

The strategy will also look to support a similar transformation of the MoD's technology capabilities that are deployed to users out on operations. The final component of the strategy is expected to focus around upgrading connectivity services across the MoD's operations.

Daniel Jones - senior analyst at Kable for defence and security - said, "While the current ICT strategy already indicates that both cloud technologies and pan-government routes to market should be considered where possible, it also empowered the top level budget areas to make ICT investment decisions of their own.

"This was somewhat at odds with the corralling of pan-ministry ICT under Joint Forces Command in April 2014. The MoD's DaaP plan, which involves the sharing of components and infrastructure throughout the ministry, suggests these freedoms may be coming to an end," he said.

Jones also pointed to recent comments made by CIO Mike Stone indicating a requirement for improvements in how the MoD develops in-house ICT capabilities.

"This can be read as both an indicator of the future SIAM model for defence and as a tacit admission of the current skills gap in the department, which has required considerable external support in recent years," he said.

"Consultancy spend has already been specifically earmarked for cost savings following the £500m budget cut announced in January 2015. However, bridging the skills gap will not occur overnight and it's difficult to see how the MoD will progress with the future ICT delivery programme without considerable use of consultancy and contingent labour in at least the short to medium term."

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