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United Kingdom-Corsham: Software support services
Voluntary ex ante transparency notice
Section I: Contracting authority/entity
Section II: Object
DDSFTW/005 — Microsoft Unite
Single source for the provision of premier support, maintenance and consultancy service for 23 months from 1 June 20 through to 30 April 2022.
The ISS Commercial Sourcing Team, part of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (the Authority), intends to award a contract to Microsoft Ltd (the Contractor) for software consultancy, support and maintenance (including updates) services (including Microsoft Azure). The duration of the contract will be as stated in this notice.
It is considered that this contract can be placed using the negotiated procedure without prior publication of a contract notice pursuant to Article 32(2)(b)(ii) of Directive 2014/24/EU and Regulation 32(2)(b)(ii) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 102) 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 Contractor alone has the specific technical knowledge and skills necessary to undertake the services as they own and have developed the relevant software products and applications used by the Authority in connection with its operations.
Section IV: Procedure
As Defence Digital continues to evolve its own cloud offering to meet future business and security needs, it is critical to have access to the full breadth of Microsoft consultancy to assure the bespoke private Cloud infrastructure that is built on the Microsoft Azure technology (chosen via competition). 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. 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. One aspect of exploiting cloud services is the use of power applications 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 capability.
This contract also ensures the MOD is part of the Microsoft preview pilots for all Microsoft cloud offerings and only a handful of organisations around the world get early access to products before they are released. Having this early exposure gives the MOD the opportunity to influence and shape the products to suit our future defence needs: we will not get this access without a direct relationship with Microsoft.
Without Microsoft direct support the level of technical risk to MOD’s transition from existing monolithic contract arrangements would be too high to be appropriate for Defence. MOD is already using Microsoft expertise to mitigate these risks, in particular when leveraging expertise in the US product groups to assist us with this activity, again coupled with our on-site SMEs who provide the context of the often non-standard deployment of Microsoft technologies across Defence.
Latterly having one less commercial interface between the Microsoft Premier support and design consultancy has proven to deliver seamless interoperability, reduce risk and ensures that critical high-quality design work is delivered at pace and right first time.
Microsoft is the largest software provider to Defence; this consultancy is integral to supporting our business and military operations worldwide at all security tiers. In the case of a deployed we have previously used this contract to deploy Microsoft specialists to Operational theatres at short notice, Op HERRICK in Afghanistan, being an example.
Section V: Award of contract/concession
Section VI: Complementary information
The Authority reserves the right to amend any condition related to security of information to reflect any changes in national law or government policy. If any contract documents are accompanied by instructions on safeguarding classified information (e.g. a security aspects letter), the Authority reserves the right to amend the terms of these instructions to reflect any changes in national law or government policy, whether in respect of the applicable protective marking scheme, specific protective markings given, the aspects to which any protective marking applies, or otherwise. The link below to the Gov.uk website provides information on the Government Security Classification.
Advertising Regime OJEU: this contract opportunity is published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), the MoD Defence Contracts Bulletin and www.contracts.mod.uk Go reference: GO-2020518-DCB-16576422