The BBC has learned from the disastrous Digital Media Initiative (DMI) and taken a number of steps to strengthen its oversight of critical projects, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).
The NAO, along with the Public Accounts Committee and PwC, released separate reports showing how the BBC's lack of oversight led to the "complete failure" of the £100m DMI project.
The NAO said in a report on the management of the BBC's critical projects that progress had been made, but that further action was needed. The NAO called for the BBC to better define the anticipated benefits of a project from the outset, as this makes it easier to gain confidence that projects will achieve value for money.
A greater top-down focus on how projects perform against delivering the BBC's vision is also required. In particular, the NAO called for members of the BBC executive board, including non-executives, to take a more active role in deciding which projects are included in the portfolio.
Among the NAO's recommendations are that the BBC should make it clear who is accountable overall for projects, possibly as a result of the BBC losing a case brought against the organisation by its former CTO John Linwood. Linwood was sacked by the BBC, but the judge found that he was not responsible for the failure of the DMI.
One of the BBC's critical projects, known as Aurora, is to procure and integrate IT services across the organisation. Aurora is intended to move the BBC from a single-supplier to a multi-supplier model for IT services, co-ordinated by an in-house service integration and management function. The programme is intended to replace the broadcaster's existing 10-year £2bn deal with Atos.
The BBC released a tender for enterprise ICT and hosting services last month in a £560m contract as part of Aurora.
Delivery of the Aurora project was rated in February as "feasible", meaning that significant problems already existed that required management attention, but could be resolved if addressed promptly.
Aurora is expected to deliver increased benefits as a result of changing the BBC's delivery approach, which includes moving the completion date back.
The NAO said that in only one case did costs increase significantly. This was the BBC's Smart project to replace and integrate systems used for finance, procurement, HR and training, which saw costs rise from £39m to £55.7m as a result of delays during the implementation phase.
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