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49 suppliers make it onto UK's £2bn new Big Data shopping list

BAE, Palantir, Splunk among those making the cut

The British Government (HMG) has launched a £2 billion Big Data and Analytics procurement framework for all UK public sector organisations, with 49 suppliers – including the likes of Atos, Palantir, and Splunk – successfully making it through the selection process and now ready to offer services under the framework.

The framework covers “Design, Build and Run” (DBR) capability and “Commercial Off-The-Shelf” (COTS) software. In theory the Big Data framework (which provides government buyers with confidence in pre-vetted companies able to support them with their data needs) is available from the smallest local authority project to a large central government requirement. Companies are on it for two years with the option of two 12-month extensions.

Big Data framework: Who's in?

Suppliers include the usual "Big Tech" and Systems Integrator (SI) suspects as well as a smattering of SMEs (The Stack has asked Crown Commercial Services how many and will update this article when we have an answer -- the supplier list doesn't specify). IBM, BAE Systems, PWC, Capgemini and Fujitsu are among those making the cut for DBR services. Google, Hitachi, SAP, Softcat, Nerds With Words and Palantir join those providing COTS solutions.

Accenture, Atos, Civica and Faculty Science are signed on for both lots.

“Big Data and Analytics is an emerging and evolving capability, with its prominence heightened by COVID. It is fast becoming recognised as business critical and a core business function, with many Government Departments now including Chief Data Officers. The National Data Strategy and implementation of its missions reinforce the requirement to access and interrogate Government data more effectively to improve public services,” said the government’s contract note.

“The supplier ecosystem created by the framework is designed to grow internal capabilities and reduce recognised skills gaps, supporting the creation of intelligent BD&A functions across the UK Public Sector,” it added.

Contracts for COTS suppliers were awarded on 9 August 2022, and DBR suppliers on 20 September 2022 – with a total of 165 companies applying, and 49 awarded. HMG announced both sets of winners on 20 October 2022.

Having easy access to big data and analytics suppliers, covering almost every level of project, will hopefully be a boost to implementation of the UK’s National Data Strategy.

The provision of actual suppliers, within an easy-to-access framework, is a step beyond some of the government’s other work towards the NDS, such as analysing the research on the development of an NDS indicator suite.

Earlier this year tech industry lobbying group techUK called on the government to pick up the pace on data sharing capabilities, warning the UK was being left behind by the EU and other regions. Making big data and analytics capabilities more easily available is certainly a useful step.

But an awful lot of work remains for the government to tackle – a backlog not helped by the months of political paralysis the UK has found itself trapped in. And although data legislation may not be at the top of new ministers’ in-trays, ironically this is one of the ways the government could boost growth, speed up innovation – and unlock the UK’s potential.

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