back to article UK pensions dept hands Softcat £250M for Microsoft subscriptions

The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions has awarded reseller Softcat a contract worth £249.7 million ($310 million) for a variety of Microsoft software. Announced earlier this week, the contract is set to provide a licensing subscription service for Microsoft, or equivalent, products and incorporates a number of product …

  1. ParlezVousFranglais

    Ok, so probably "silly question of the century" here, but if the DWP is spending that much on MS licenses, why aren't they just buying it direct from MS?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some vendors don't like you buying direct and insist you buy via a reseller.

      I don't spend quite as much as DWP on Microsoft, but I'm still in seven figures and Microsoft point blank refuse to talk to me about anything involing licensing. Every licensing question results in the same answer: Speak to your reseller.

      1. thondwe

        The Frameworks have the resellers compete for the best discounts on a base price and "added value" - so that competition keeps procurement teams happy I guess. Resellers gain as (expensive) foot in the door? Procurement much less happy when things are direct and you can't make a case that there are alternative products when usually there are, but usually the costs to change are bonkers!

        That's a big bill - suspect a lot of Azure, Dynamics and added services included in that one!

      2. NeilPost Silver badge

        As a single Office 365 Family subscriber … it’s cheaper to buy a licence from Amazon and apply it to my account, than buy from Microsoft (even on discounted auto-sun renewal).

        Makes no sense.

        Same with McAfee.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      If I had to guess (having worked in government myself), it'll be because (a) there's probably a load of non-Microsoft products as well so they're acting as a one-stop shop for it all, and (b) they're also acting as a line of defence for licence compliance by providing insurance against being audited because they've got one extra installation of Excel tucked away on that half-dead laptop in the back of the spares cupboard in the IT department.

      1. 43300 Silver badge

        MS aren't so bothered about individual installations these day - they've largely killed that off on the client side and made it sufficiently difficult that most have moved to subscription versions of Office, and Windows Enterprise likewise licensed as a subscription.

        Still some one-off purchase licenses on the server side more often, but no doubt it's only a matter of time before they do the same there too...

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      At a guess - they have to invite competitive tenders. A monopoly supplier doesn't have a competitor so that wouldn't be a competitive tender.

      A former colleague did some work with DWP. His simple comment? "Not the sharpest knives in the box."

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What, buy directly and miss out on the chance for both Microsith and an unnecessary middleman to both get their cut? No, no, dear boy, that won’t do at all…

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, my estate audit

    of servers shows 0 MS, 95% ubuntu and 5% BSD which runs pfSense.

    User machines have Win10 Pro licences (so no ongoing costs) and )365 is (pleasantly reasonable) at around £7 per seat per month.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile, my estate audit

      you were doing well, then you admitted subscribing to shitty office 350.

      you get a fail for that one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: you were doing well, then you admitted subscribing to shitty office 350.

        For a few users who can't/won't use LibreOffice.

        The fact some people think that providing users with what they need is worthy of sneering seems to suggest that there are too many people putting the idiot into IT.

        LibreOffice is alright. But it's still not 100% compatible with MS products. And if our company wants to make money, then it either supplies original .XLSL files, or tells the customer they are wrong.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah Softcat, the only company I've ever had to use a DPO email address for to stop their continually harassing sales calls. They never could get any order correct even when I did once use them.

  4. Dave559 Silver badge
    Trollface

    I thought that UK Gov was supposed to be big on open formats and the like these days, so how come this contract is just going to the same old vendor lock-in, rather than LibreOffice (or Collabora Office) and NextCloud, or similar, being considered instead…?

    The amount of money that just gets poured into the ever-hungry maws of US software companies rather than actually supporting a whole range of professional IT jobs in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, is sadly just incredible <sigh>…

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Headmaster

      This is a very simple "If you want to buy Microsoft software, you can just get one quote from Softcat and job done". This contract isn't about what is the best word processor/email/etc.

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Trollface

      I thought that UK Gov was supposed to be big on open formats and the like these days,

      But, but the Office files are an ISO standard

  5. t245t
    Facepalm

    Microsoft Finance ©

    Explain like I'm five how, MS selling licenses to Softcat which sells the licenses (plus mark-up) to DWP provides “greater value for money for the public purse”.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft Finance ©

      Because MS won't sell the licences directly and HMG just puts up with that. Must buck the markets, must we. Well not when anyone is looking.

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