UK Cabinet Office hits pause on £9M Microsoft deal

Google Workspace hangout extended indefinitely

The UK's Cabinet Office has paused its migration away from Google Workspace to Microsoft 365, after ditching the current contract it signed with the Redmond headquartered biz last spring.

An official procurement notice this week said the department, which works across government on behalf of the prime minister's office, has "taken the decision to exercise its right to terminate" its £9 million contract with Microsoft.

The move followed the completion of a "discover phase" of the contract to introduce "a broad business transformation programme to modernise" the Cabinet Office IT platform estate by developing a new IT system, and "migrating personnel from the current legacy IT systems to a new platform," the document said.

In April last year, the Whitehall department announced plans to migrate away from Google Workspace to Microsoft 365 in line with the rest of central government.

It hired French IT service giant Capgemini to help move from the Google environment to Microsoft Office tools in a deal worth between £12 million ($15 million) and £15 million ($18.8 million).

The project was expected to transfer around 15,000 users – including ministers and senior civil servants – onto the new productivity software.

The Cabinet Office includes Government Digital Services, which began its "journey" with Google Workspace in 2010-2011. A separate Cabinet Office IT platform, which included the Google tools, was rolled out in 2014-2015.

According to officials, Microsoft finished a proof of concept and framework design for the new system. That was approved and a report was produced to support the business case for further migration.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said a "planned pause" had always been on the cards after the discovery phase "in order for us to submit the full business case and fully embed all work and learnings to inform our progress."

The Microsoft contract was part of the Falcon Programme, a £50 million ($62.8 million) scheme to overhaul departmental IT systems, according to reports.

"Following the successful completion of the discovery phase of our Falcon Programme, we are reviewing options to deliver the migration workstream," the Cabinet Office spokesperson said.

Technical partner Capgemini and a migration partner, Microsoft, were contracted to help it through the discovery phase. Capgemini was contracted to look at the platform refresh, officials said. ®

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