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BBC signs up 18 firms to help modernise software under £40m deal

18 systems integrators join £10m/year framework

The BBC has signed up 18 companies to help it modernise its software.

The companies will be contracted under a £40 million framework to support with software development, testing and quality assurance (QA) as well as modernisation of the BBC's SAP ERP systems.

The BBC estimates that it will be spending between £8 million - £10 million a year with the 18 successful systems integrators (SIs) under the new framework. It received a total of 27 tenders.

The BBC software contracts come as it launched a new digital product model under the leadership of new Chief Product Officer Storm Fagan, who took office in August 2021, and vowed in its 2022-2023 annual plan to "increase our investment into digital product development... our focus is investing into platform capabilities that are shared across our product portfolio, such as personalisation,  metadata, and content production tooling."

Like most broadcasters, the BBC is aiming to use viewer data to drive more personalised experiences as it faces growing competition from US online content producers like Disney and Netflix. (Analysts predict that 2022 will be the last year in the UK when traditional broadcasters make up over 50% of total video viewing.)

See also: Lindsay Carter on ITV’s ambitious data transformation

Just two of the 18 contract winners are SMEs --  Redcentric Solutions Limited and SAP Source Limited.

Of the other 16 contract award winners, Accenture, Apsolut, Atos, CGI, Cognizant, Deloitte, EPI-USE, EY, HCL, IBM, Invenio, NTT Data, PwC, Tata, Tech Mahindra and Wipro all landed places on the framework.

They will deliver "general systems delivery and integration services, in addition to specialist SAP product services under two different lots. The former will span "bespoke development, quality assurance and testing of BBC internal facing systems" to span everything from "complete end to end bespoke systems delivery and support work" through to "discrete delivery capabilities at any part of the systems development product lifecycle."

The contract comes as the BBC continues with what it described in its last annual report as the "transformation of our technology operations" and streamlining of its engineering and IT functions to remove "duplication of service delivery" and "re-prioritise funding and workloads to support the digital strategy of the BBC, focusing on the development of iPlayer, BBC Sounds". The broadcaster made £43 million in technology savings last year.

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