's centralised buying agency wafts £1.2bn of taxpayer cash in return for a bevy of back-office software

Software subscriptions and licence support a must for bidding businesses

The UK government's Crown Commercial Services (CCS) has issued a contract for back-office software with an estimated street value of £1.2bn.

A tender document published last week said the government is on the hunt for a smorgasbord of enterprise software including but not limited to ERP, human capital management, financial accounting, procurement, reporting, customer relationship management, and workflow technologies.

The four-year framework is expected to have a value up to £1.2bn, or about a third of the cost of an aircraft carrier.

Keen-eyed readers will notice the government has already had a cosy fireside chat with the vendors – sorry "market engagement" – for all back-office software required by central government departments which put the value of the work at something like £400m for two years with a two-year extension.

CCS was set to hold "market engagement sessions" with suppliers during June and expected to publish a contract notice on 22 September. Where the extra £800m came from is not revealed in the tender documents.

The Cabinet Office has been contacted for comment.

As with the prior information notice, the latest £1.2bn contract is designed to "provide a route to market for organisations wishing to purchase software subscriptions and licence support for back office systems direct from the software vendor."

It continued: "Buyers will be able to award specific call-off contracts through two order procedures including direct award and further competition."

Those vendors wishing to participate must get in touch by 10 December.

The CCS has already signalled a move away from "bespoke systems" towards "efficient, industry-standard processes, enabled by commercial off the shelf software" and procurement for business transformation consultancy worth £100m.

In March, the CCS tendered a £15m contract for consultancy services to shift central government ERP to a software-as-a-service model. It was looking for a partner to "facilitate an operations and technology transformation across finance, HR, payroll and procurement and move to a SaaS solution."

In an earlier strategy document [PDF], the government said it was looking to move departments to one of three application providers and named Oracle, SAP, and Workday as the vendors that meet the government's requirements. ®

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