Enterprise IT

UK gov’t inks £9m extension with Oracle as £64m ERP overhaul looms

The UK’s Shared Business Services (SBS) has agreed a £9 million Oracle ERP contract extension for a wide range of government departments including the UK Space Agency, Department for International Trade (DIT), and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The licence extension, announced this week without competitive tender (on the grounds that swapping out two heavily customised on-premises ERP systems could take up to 30 months) will run from June 2021 to May 2023 with the possibility of a seven-month extension, SBS said.

The move comes as the shared services organisation eyes ambitious plans for an integration and cloud migration of government ERP systems, with a competitive tender for the shift to SaaS expected later this Spring.

That will see an existing on-premises Oracle suite used by BEIS, DTI, and the UK Space Agency among others — along with the Workday ERP solution used by Innovate UK –swapped for an integrated shared SaaS system with a user base of up to 20,000. (UK SBS earlier suggested that a contract value for that migration of up to £64 million.)

The ambitious ERP migration project was first announced in early 2020 in a public information notice that detailed a vision of “transforming the existing service model, implementing a new single technology platform and realising the benefits and economies of scale that a modernised solution can deliver [including]… the efficiencies enabled by a modern system, i.e. more intuitive, automated and user friendly.”

This week the UK SBS acknowledged that “changing such a highly customised BPS system any sooner [than 2023] whilst UK SBS and its clients prepare to enter a new environment would incur significantly disproportionate costs in both operation and maintenance”.

It anticipates that the ERP project and “associated business transformation” is expected to take between 24-30 months to complete: “UK SBS therefore requires a renewal / extension of the current BPS & CSA license agreements required to continue to operate the Oracle platforms whilst new software products are competitively tendered and implemented.”

See also: Is getting workloads of mainframes still a howling headache of a job?

Ed Targett

Ed Targett is the founder of The Stack. He has served as editor of Tech Monitor, Computer Business Review, and Roubini Global Economics. He has 15 years of experience in newsrooms and consultancies. His interests span technology, foreign policy, and sustainability.

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