Network Rail has announced a major overhaul of its IT supplier setup in an effort to cut down on the headache created by running IT services from 270 separate suppliers.
Previously the firm had 16 major suppliers that were invited into each tendering process for IT requirements. This led to long lead time for new services and a multitude of different systems ending up in use within the organisation.
To try to streamline this now just five firms are to be offered the chance to pitch for contracts through mini competitions. These are Accenture, BAE Systems Detica, Cognizant, CSC and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
While this will still mean numerous services may end up in use, it should drastically cut down on the overall number, Network Rail told V3. The new system will also help spread the risk from contracts by placing more emphasis on the integration processes by the successful supplier.
“We’re following a model similar to the way we work in construction where we hire a major construction firm that then works with their trusted sub-contractors to complete the project,” the Network Rail said.
Network Rail’s chief information officer Susan Cooklin said the new system should enable IT to help with the smooth running of the organisation, which oversees the movement of 24,000 trains a day across the UK.
“We run one of the busiest railway networks in the world and rely heavily on IT to keep everything moving,” she said. “By creating this framework we will be able to more flexibly scale our resources to meet demand, while retaining our vital assurance role.”
The setup ultimately means suppliers could walk away from the framework empty handed but each seemed confident they would be able to meet the organisation's needs.
David Wilkinson, an executive in Accenture’s UK and Ireland Transportation Practice, said: “Technology will play an increasingly vital role in improving a rail network that every year provides 1.3 billion journeys and carries 100 million tonnes of freight. We are pleased to have been selected by Network Rail to help develop their technology to support a range of business improvement programs.”
This sentiment was echoed by Rohit Gupta, head of Cognizant's Manufacturing, Energy and Transportation practice in the UK. He said: "Cognizant is excited to partner with Network Rail and provide leadership to this extensive programme over the next four years. Over the next 30 years, passenger demand for rail will more than double and freight demand is expected to go up by 140 percent. To meet this ever-growing need, we will closely collaborate with Network Rail and ensure that their IT systems are future ready."
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