The UK's Met Office has handed seats on a framework contract worth up to £30m to 32 suppliers in a bid to develop a common data platform over the next four years.
Deloitte, Computacenter, KPMG and EY join a gang of lesser-known brands on the supplier list pre-vetted for projects which include "exploiting the future of data sciences" and "taking a common approach to customer data services," according to tender documents.
"The Met Office is... considering establishing a framework with a number of companies who can help with that transformation, both by bringing new skills and knowledge and by bolstering the capacity and capability of existing Met Office teams to deliver required outcomes," the weather watcher said.
"This should also include being able to supply additional resource to augment teams if and where further gaps are identified, ensuring up-skilling is provided if required," the award notice said.
However, the deal is about more than putting tech pros into seats as it doesn't include contingent labour, for which the Met Office has separate contractual arrangements.
Instead, the budding band of service providers and consultancies are to be hired to help change things to do with technology and how the Met Office serves customers.
"The amount of change ahead is large and many of these changes are interrelated and complex, and the Met Office cannot make these changes alone," the notice continued. "By extending our capacity and capability, we can move faster and focus on the areas we add real value by leveraging the expertise of partners."
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The contract notice was published in February 2021.
Founded in 1854, the Met Office provides commercial weather data, as well as public services, and is an executive agency under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It made a profit of £5.8m on £258.7m revenue in 2020/21, according to its annual report [PDF] for the year.
That report details the weather forecaster's ambitions in data science as it expands its university partnerships. Work with University College London will include applying data science to environmental problems, while University of Bristol work will involve the impact of weather hazards, such as effects of poor air quality on health, the report said.
A memorandum of understanding with the Turing Institute and a new Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence with the University of Exeter would add to its capabilities, it said. "These are exciting new partnerships that focus on solving challenging societal problems around the impacts of extreme weather, air quality and climate change," the org said in the report. ®