Feeds

BBC IT project to save £17.9m cost it £38.2m net

Slow handclaps for Siemens shambles

High performance access to file storage

MPs have given the BBC a kicking over its Digital Media Initiative, a technology development programme that was meant to deliver a "benefit" of £17.9m but ended up costing it a net £38.2m.

The Public Accounts Committee hauled the Beeb over the coals, questioning why the project was handed to Siemens in 2008 without tendering, and then simply shifted back in house when the outsourcing giant failed to meet a succession of project milestones.

Unsurprisingly the project was one of the underpinnings to the Beeb's shifting of much of its operations from West London to Salford. It is designed to allow staffers to "develop, create share and manage" content from their desktops. It has to be in place before the move to Salford can take place.

The Beeb originally expected the plan to cost £81.7m, but deliver benefits of £99.6m, a net benefit of £17.9m. However, costs will now be £133.6m, with benefits of £95.4m - or in other words, a net cost of £38.2m.

After hearing from the Beeb, MPs decided: "The contract with Siemens transferred too much financial risk to the contractor, such that the BBC felt unable to intervene proactively in the development of the Programme until it was too late.

"The contract was terminated and the Programme taken in-house, but by then the BBC had suffered two years of delay and lost £26 million in benefits as a result."

MPs notes that the BBC subsequently "found £26 million of efficiencies within BBC Divisions, and negotiated £24.5 million of new efficiencies in the Siemens Framework Contract".

With dramatic understatement, the MPS "questioned whether these savings could and should have been identified earlier".

The MPs make a range of conclusions and recommendations. However, given that virtually any Reg reader would be able to draw the same themselves, we won't bore you here.

Still, the BBC's director of Future, Media and Technology, told the committee that the organisation had realised the importance of:

  • A senior leader who has a track record of successful delivery of large, complex software development projects
  • Clear roles and responsibilities
  • Cooperation between, and integration of, the various functions on a project, including development, deployment and support
  • Clear and effective project governance with the appropriate representation on each group or board from across the project, business and suppliers.

So, £38.2m for a four bullet-point lesson on project management. Bargain.

The report adds: "We welcome the BBC's success to date in developing this technology [inhouse] and look to the BBC to share lessons with the wider public sector."

Interestingly, the report notes that "The Comptroller and Auditor General told us that he did not have full and unfettered access to all the information he required to carry out his review, delaying the start of his work. This is not satisfactory.

"We expect the BBC and BBC Trust to ensure that full access is given promptly in the future."

We contacted the BBC's press office, and got an out of office reply. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.