its not one of the usual suspects so perhaps we can be optimistic
Small data centre biz Ark has won a £700m four-year outsourcing megadeal with the Cabinet Office to supply the government's entire data centre estate via its Crown Hosting contract, multiple sources have told The Register. El Reg understands that the estate will initially be run via the company's two data centres in …
Was thinking the same. Until I got to "Non-executive directors on the firm's board include Baroness Manningham-Buller, DCB, life peer in the House of Lords and former director general of the Security Service (MI5)".
So it seems the best way of winning Gov business still is to have a "Baroness Manningham-Buller" on your board. Anyone aware of any channel suppliers for those and how are they deployed?
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This seems to be a rather large piece of work for a company that size, and with a rather poor profitability rating. I'd guess that when the tender went out the decision went with the cheapest bid, possibly helped by a bit of massaging of the selection criteria and their weighting so the "right" company (read, the one part owned by someone's mate) won the contract.
"This seems to be a rather large piece of work for a company that size, "
Ah yes, but don't forget the comment about "recapitalisation". This invariably means that the firm was either effectively sold by its previous owners, or bailed out by new ones. In this case Ark were bailed out by Revcap, a private equity firm run by former Lehman staff (now there's a good sign). Revcap's focus is on property (Real Estate Venture Capital Management being the full name), so it'll be interesting to see how this one pans out.
My guess is that this isn't the old boy network, or the brown bag network. It's an outcome of fuckwit civil servants pledging to give more business to SMEs. Being civil servants they can't do anything without a definition, and that definition said that Ark were an SME, despite being part of Revcap's £4.7bn of assets. As property companies (like banks) make their profit from the balance sheet not the P&L, I would guess that now they've landed the contract Revcap will already be looking to sell Ark to the next mug that's passing. And sadly there's plenty of IT companies willing to buy revenues at any cost, without asking where the profit is.
Sounds like "Baroness Manningham-Buller, DCB, life peer in the House of Lords and former director general of the Security Service (MI5)" has got the hang of that GovCloud procurement framework perfectly!
Remember GovCloud has the word "cloud" in it. A new-fangled word... same old sh*t.
Take another look at those directors – stuffed to the gills with the usual suspects: G-Cloud, GDS, HMRC and Skyscape, the company with just one director, who owns all the shares – Whitehall SNAFU
Then take a look at the original plans for G-Cloud – efficient, consolidated, centralised, trusted, green: G-Cloud Overview
Remember that Skyscape claim to have picked up 50% of all G-Cloud business – they're no longer an SME: Skyscape – the Surprise as a Service company
What does that add up to?
It's not clear, especially with this latest revelation that the Cabinet Office have taken a 25 percent stake in ARK, but it doesn't add up to central government outsourcing to the private sector, especially SMEs, while taking advantage of the cloud with its mythically low costs (practically free), magically releasing billions to be spent on cakes, bunting and post-it notes for GDS's walls.
700,000,000 pounds! That is a hell of a lot of something.
Over 4 years that's £2.50 per year for each person in the country.
On AWS, that would buy 25 GB of data - 500 MB per week, each. That's the sort of numbers I would expect to see for the BBC, not for .gov.uk.
Of course it's not all spent on data, but if that were all spent on hardware that would be a similarly vast amount of something.
Does anyone know what they were actually asked to provide?
The tender is linked in the earler Reg article. £700M is the traditional journalese maximum number, the tender is for 50-700M. And presumably the bid is specified in £/GB etc, and how much it's actually going to cost depends on the takeup. Since we have no idea what the figures in the bid are, there isn't really any basis to make a comparison.
Interesting. Ignoring for a moment the question marks over the directorship because they've been well covered above, my first thought here is that this will meet the government's 'contracting with SMEs' target in one go for a long time.
On the one hand that may be a vote of confidence that an SME can be trusted with a significant project (whatever the behind the scenes networking, this is too high profile to avoid a detailed risk and planning exercise).
On the other hand if they screw it up we'll be back to Capita, EDS etc. in the blink of an eye and for the foreseeable future. There are lots of medium sized UK data centre providers who'll be irritated at missing out and scared that Ark may screw it up for everyone.
Wonder if they are going to force departments into this solution irrespective of whether it works for them. Last I heard this deal lives and dies on whether the big departments get on board ... and with an election in the offing, and Francis Maude having resigned will GDS have the same authority to mandate approaches as they have over the last four years?
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