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BBC Agrees Enterprise IT Deal With Atos In Final ‘Aurora’ Project Contract

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BBC says new contract will save a third on existing deal as corporation seeks to overhaul its IT state

The BBC has named Atos as ‘Enterprise ICT & Hosting’ provider after the company won the final contract in a major overhaul of the corporation’s IT.

Atos will supply everyday technology used by staff such as laptops, phones, business applications, hosting services and operate the tech helpdesk.

Previously, the BBC had awarded all of its IT services to one firm. However, due to cost concerns arising from licence fee freezes and a number of technical mishaps, the broadcaster has sought multiple suppliers as part of the ‘Aurora’ re-procurement programme.

The BBC will manage the contracts itself and claims the structure will save money and allow for flexibility, allowing it to take advantage of new technologies as they emerge.

BBC Online

BBC Aurora Atos

“The BBC has made significant savings over the past Charter to ensure as much of our money goes straight into the programmes and services people love. With this contract we’re once again cutting the cost of running the BBC so we can continue to fund quality programmes and improve services for audiences,” said BBC Deputy Director General Anne Bulford.

Coincidentally Atos had been that supplier following its takeover of Siemens IT Services (SIS) in 2011. SIS won a ten year £2 billion contract in 2004, which was extended by another three years in 2014.

However staff frequently reported technical issues and some claimed the structure was responsible for the failure of the Digital Media Initiative (DMI), which was scrapped despite an investment of £100 million.

Atos’ new deal lasts for five years, with an option to extend it for another three, and the partners claim it will save the BBC ‘one third’ in costs and contribute to “hundreds of millions” in savings made across the whole of Aurora.

 “The BBC is reinventing itself for a new generation and the technology we use is critical to that mission,” added BBC CTO Matthew Postgate. “Today’s deal allows us to improve the way we work, making our systems and tools simpler and more efficient. It completes a major piece of work re-sourcing our core technology services, allowing us to drive the use of IP technology in broadcasting and make the BBC internet-fit.”

BT won a £100 million contract to supply the BBC with network services last year. This replaced an existing deal with Vodafone which was provided through the wider contract with Atos. Vodafone  remained a technology partner of the BBC, providing a data centre, telephony services and additional connectivity in London.

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