Feeds

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

Slow handclaps for Siemens shambles

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.