Thu May 28 2020
The Ministry of Defence have just announced a £17.75m contract with Microsoft… Unusually without going through the normal tender processes first.
The contract will involve hosted services in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud and run for 23 months from the 01st June 2020.
The new contract will predominantly focus on providing Cloud Consultation for the MoD, as well support and maintenance services for Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform.
The MoD have stated that Microsoft were awarded the contract "on the basis that the services provided for in the contract can be supplied only by the contractor, and that competition is absent, for technical reasons."
[The] MoD will be the first and largest customer in the UK and Europe who will be running UK hosted Azure services in the cloud. The MoD requirement mandates data sovereignty and reliability and this non-negotiable requirement can only be supported by Microsoft for these services at this scale.
The MoD have been using Microsoft Azure since 2015 and at the time the former CIO Mike Stone said they’d be migrating to a ‘private instance’ of Microsoft Office 365, hosted in part by HP and the new UK Azure region.
Previously where MOD moved to O365 Cloud service, required regular and extensive access to the Microsoft product developers in the US in liaison with security cleared Microsoft Consultants in the UK was essential considering the critical and complexity which MoD represents as a customer.
"The current requirements cannot be delivered without the direct access to Microsoft Support with the scale of the MoD's of Azure cloud exploitation and the level of expertise required will not be available if we contract with a 3rd party consultancy. Furthermore, we have the evidence that by having direct links to product developers, we have been able to solve issues with the service that are unique to MOD's future requirements.
Although the MoD’s adoption of Microsoft Azure without a formal tender process may have caused some ill will in certain sections of the sector it’s likely a logical extension of their decision to use Microsoft’s Power Apps suite of low-code/no-code dev tools.
One aspect of exploiting cloud services is the use of power applications [sic] which MOD has already invested in. At the same time, there are several key initiatives that only Microsoft have the knowledge breadth and skills depth to deliver the scope of work which includes the power platform applications [sic] capability.
When asked an MoD spokesperson commented to say that without Microsoft's support and consultancy, the risk of leaving "existing monolithic contract arrangements" would just be too high for them.
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Thu May 28 2020