Awarded to BAE Systems Applied Intelligence Limited

Start date: Thursday 24 May 2018
Value: £1,583,096.09
Company size: large
Programme NELSON, Information Warfare, Royal Navy, Ministry of Defence

Royal Navy: NELSON Data Platform Product Development

13 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 8 large

10 Completed applications

5 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Monday 16 April 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 23 April 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 30 April 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Programme NELSON was formed to rapidly accelerate the exploitation of advanced data analytics and AI in the Royal Navy. A core element is to deliver a common maritime big-data platform.
This requirement is to iteratively develop the Data Platform from its current alpha to an operationally capable and accreditable beta.
Latest start date
Monday 14 May 2018
Expected contract length
7th May 2018 - 31st March 2019
South East England
Organisation the work is for
Programme NELSON, Information Warfare, Royal Navy, Ministry of Defence
Budget range
The procurement contract envelope is for up to £1.9m (inc VAT).

About the work

Why the work is being done
The data platform is a fleet-wide, ship-agnostic big data layer that runs in a virtualised environment. It will transform the analytical capability of a ship’s systems by making all appropriate data available in one environment. This will enable better analytics using more data, but will also reduce costs of integration, and improve agility of upgrades.
Problem to be solved
Traditionally, an analytical application has been tightly coupled with the data that drove the processes in that application. This led to every application needing its own pot of data which resulted in duplication. As different suppliers were involved with different systems, data standards were inconsistent making the growing pots of data incompatible. This has resulted in less effective analytical applications.

The Royal Navy requires Business Analysis, Delivery and Product Management, Development, QA and Continuous Delivery expertise to continue the rapid development of the NELSON Data Platform to iteratively improve the environment for data analytics.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a developer of an analytical capability for the Royal Navy, I need real-time and historic data available for my application through a well-documented and managed API, so that I can quickly and iteratively create applications for use on Royal Navy platforms.
Early market engagement
The NELSON Data Platform was presented at the DSEi 17 conference, and industry days for the Exercise INFORMATION WARRIOR 18.
Any work that’s already been done
The Data Platform has been iteratively developed over the last year through discovery and alpha phases. A prospective bidders’ presentation with Q&A will happen on Friday 20th April 2018 at Portsdown Technology Park to demonstrate the current technology, and enable bidders to understand the current code base. Bidders should email by Wednesday 18th April to attend this event.
Existing team
Test and evaluation infrastructure has been (and is planned to continue) to be provided by QinetiQ. Development of the Data Platform has been completed through a mixture of fixed work packages by a variety of industry suppliers, and through a team of civil servants and military personnel.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
NELSON has an office at Portsdown Technology Park for c.8 people, with access to conference facilities for up to 30 people.

It is anticipated the team will need a second ancillary office to accommodate all the team which would need to be provided by the successful supplier.

Our current remote working arrangements enable this, but any ancillary site would need suitable network connectivity and conference facilities.
Working arrangements
The supplier should work in a seamless collaborative environment with the military and civil servant team members. Automation of all processes (such as TDD and CI) from data ingestion to testing and delivery will be a key deliverable. Agile ceremonies and processes will be adhered to and continuously improved through retrospectives. Expenses will be limited at the standard MoD rates. Frequent travel between Portsmouth, supplier site(s) and users (e.g., Northwood, Devonport) should be expected. Fortnightly sprints will be the basis for planning and delivery, with the whole team expected to be co-located on retrospective/show and tell days.
Security clearance
All staff and project members must be SC, and there is a need for a small proportion of the team to have DV clearance. It will be required for a Programme NELSON Data Sharing and Non-Disclosure agreement to be signed.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Other conditions may apply to this contract, such as the list below; full text can be found here:

DEFCON 5J (Edn 18/11/16)
DEFCON 76 (Edn 12/06)
DEFCON 501 (Edn 11/17)
DEFCON 502 (Edn 05/17)
DEFCON 513 (Edn 11/16)
DEFCON 522 (Edn 11/17)
DEFCON 658 (Edn 10/17)
DEFCON 659A (Edn 02/17)
DEFCON 660 (Edn 12/15)
DEFCON 703 (Edn 08/13)

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Demonstrable track record of rapidly improving technical maturity of product development through effective application of tools, people and processes
  • At least five years Agile product development including Business Analysis, Project Management, Development & QA
  • Evidence of working in blended teams with clients and other suppliers/partners as technical subject matter experts, delivering change through effective collaboration and leadership
  • At least five years of cutting edge development of data services using best of breed data technologies (e.g., Spark, GraphQL, Hadoop)
  • Prior success in delivering high quality APIs, services and applications
  • Experience of implementing, maintaining, enhancing and utilising, highly effective automated testing frameworks
  • Continuous Integration and DevOps experience using a variety of tools and techniques
  • Proven experience of understanding integration with BI visualization dashboards both custom and off the shelf
  • Proven experience of understanding the data requirements of data scientists.
  • Experience of delivering highly scalable and resilient data and analytics system on common cloud providers
  • Understanding and experience of Royal Navy infrastructure and data, and wider Defence infrastructure and data.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • At least five years’ experience of building secure, performant APIs for Big Data / Data Warehouse solutions.
  • Proven track record of defining and implementing coding standards and improving code quality iteratively to deliver measurable business benefit.
  • Proven track record in defining and implementing test strategies in agile environments with a high degree of automation.
  • Understanding and experience of relevant Ministry of Defence ICT policy (e.g., JSP 604)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach, methodology and evidence of relevant past work as detailed in suppliers' proposal and presentation
  • Relevant expertise and experience of key team members
  • Ability to immediately start work with full team resources with the required skills, knowledge, and experience needed to complete the work including roles
  • Demonstrate the ability to flex resources rapidly through partnerships to provide niche skill & expertise such as cutting edge DevOps technologies
  • Ability to concisely frame and articulate the problems we want to solve
  • Evidence of successful working in blended teams with clients and other suppliers
  • Demonstration of depth of understanding of our requirements
  • Relevance and quality of presentation
  • Answers to questions during the interview/presentation stage
  • Value for money
  • Hybrid team composing of staff from no less than three separate organisations to ensure technology diversity
  • Written proposals should be no longer than 2,000 words.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Proven track record of supporting diversity and inclusion in STEM
  • Work as a "one team" with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Agile and flexible to changing/uncertain requirements
  • Transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Experience in developing an agile working culture
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Focus on rapid, iterative delivery based on user needs
  • Contribute to an inclusive working environment
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Are we able to find out who developed the current alpha capability?
The current alpha capability has been delivered through a variety of contracts, sprints, hackathons and internally by civil servants as a series of interconnected minimal viable products. As a result, the easiest way to understand who has delivered what capability is to examine the users of git commits; visibility of the code base will be available at the Q&A session on 20th April.
2. Can you confirm whether you expect suppliers to form teams of at least three companies or whether the Authority intends to form a team from three or more separate submissions?
It is expected that suppliers will form teams. The Authority will only select one final winning bid which will contain a team.
3. Can you confirm what role QinetiQ will be playing in the final team? In addition to providing the test and evaluation will QinetiQ also be allowed to bid under this opportunity to provide the delivery team?
QinetiQ have and will continue to provide the physical infrastructure required for the testing and evaluation of the Data Platform, including access to networks and sensors (e.g., radars), through the Long Term Partnering Agreement. QinetiQ is not a supplier on the DOS2 framework.
4. Can you confirm which programming languages and toolsets have been used so far and whether there will be any restriction in the programming languages and toolsets to be used in delivery under this project?
This list is not exhaustive, but gives a general impression of programming languages, frameworks and tools used currently.

OS - primarily linux
IaaC - terraform, puppet, bash, docker
Data - Nifi, Spark, Kafka, variety of db technologies
API - GraphQL
Analytics - R, Python
Other - Go, Javascript, git

Restrictions may come from Defence policy, and NELSON endeavours to re-use Defence investment where possible. Nonetheless, individual technology decisions reside with the programme team, including being open minded to changing current technologies.
5. The DOS notice states "It is anticipated the team will need a second ancillary office to accommodate all the team which would need to be provided by the successful supplier.". Please can you clarify if the supplier would be required to provide permanent facilities for the NELSON team (c. 8 people) or would this only be required for periodic meetings, demos etc. And should this be priced within the procurement envelope or provided as an additional price?
The second ancillary office should be provided as a permanent facility for the NELSON Data Platform team in conjunction with the current office in Portsmouth Technology Park. The cost for this office should be included in the procurement envelope, but clearly articulated in the proposal.
6. Can the Authority please confirm whether those contractors shortlisted for evaluation will be required to use the Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2 template for the submission of the written proposal?
Contractors should include all information noted on the proposal template ( but are not required to use the specific file or layout of the template.
7. For the avoidance of doubt, can the Authority confirm that evaluation will not include case studies or work histories as assessment methods despite the proposal criteria including reference to "relevant past work" and "relevant expertise and experience of key team members"?
The Authority can confirm that that evaluation will not include specific case studies or work histories as assessment. However, experience and expertise of the team in general terms can be included in the written proposal.
8. Can the Authority please confirm whether it has any view on the desired team size and structure?
The Authority has stated roles in general terms, “Business Analysis, Delivery and Product Management, Development, QA and Continuous Delivery expertise”, but is looking to industry to suggest innovative and good value teams.
9. Can the Authority provide any details of what are considered to be suitable network connectivity and conference facilities for the potential ancillary site?
Suitable network connectivity would include high-speed raw internet, RLI, SLI and JMNIAN.
10. Please can you clarify if suppliers should form partnerships prior to the DOS Evidence response. If so, should joint submissions be provided or would you prefer each individual supplier to submit a separate response.
DOS Evidence responses should demonstrate a bidder’s planned partnership. Only the prime bidder should submit, as the other members of the partnership are subcontracts to them and therefore included in that submission.
11. Please can you confirm that we need to respond to the essential and nice to have skills on the Digital marketplace portal by the 30th April. But the 2000 word submission isn't required unless the supplier is shortlisted? There is some confusion following the industry day on Friday.
Closing date for applications: Monday 30th April
Applications should not include a written proposal or presentation; this is only required for short listed bidders at the later evaluation stage.
Short list interested bidders, notify bidders of shortlist outcome, provide assessment information to successful bidders: Tuesday 1st May
Closing date for written proposals (via email): Wednesday 9th May
Presentations at Navy Command: Friday 11th May
Notification of outcome: Monday 14th May
Expected contract award: Friday 18th May
Expected commencement date: Monday 21st May
12. Can the Authority please confirm that the award of this contract will not exclude the winning Contractor from other opportunities including those with Royal Navy and those relating to Programme NELSON?
The Authority can confirm that winning this Data Platform contract would not exclude Contractors from bidding and potentially winning other opportunities involving NELSON.
13. Can the Authority please confirm this contract would be outside of IR35?
The Authority believes that intermediaries legislation doesn't apply to this engagement.
14. Can the Authority please share the slides from the prospective bidders presentation with Q&A on Friday 20th April 2018 at Portsdown Technology Park?
The Authority can provide the slides from the prospective bidders’ presentation via email. Please email before Friday 27th April 2018 2359 GMT for a copy.
15. Can the Authority please confirm the intended schedule for the evaluation phase (including clarification question submission deadline, clarification response deadline, the proposal submission deadline and the expected date for presentations)?
Please see answer 11.
16. Can the Authority please clarify the timelines for the contract? The latest start date is stated as 14 May 2018 but the contract length is stated as beginning on 7 May 2018.
Please see answer 11.
17. Can the Authority please confirm whether for shortlisting suppliers are required to indicate the intended participating organisations in our hybrid team? And if so how should this be done, given the scope and word count restrictions of the skills and experience items?
The Authority expects bidders to demonstrate their capability to provide a hybrid team at the short-listing stage; this could be done by explicitly stating the proposed organisations involved, but is not required. The evaluation of the hybrid team against the criteria will not happen until the written proposal and presentation stage. It is up to bidders how they best articulate their proposal at post-short listing stage, but bidders should refer to answer 6.
18. Can you confirm if the above proposal template is required as part of the initial response (required by Monday 30th April) through the Digital Outcomes and Specialists portal or is this proposal to be completed after a company has been shortlisted?
Please see answer 11.
19. In order to support potential teaming of ‘no less than three organisations’, could the Authority please share the names of the organisations that attended the prospective bidders presentation with Q&A on Friday 20th April 2018 at Portsdown Technology Park?
The Authority is unable to share the names of the organisations that attended the prospective bidders Q&A as it is not the Authority’s direction to specify how a supplier meets this requirement.
20. Assuming it is appropriate is it possible to obtain contact details for other attendees so I can approach them to discuss a possible joint bid?
Please see answer 19.
21. Can the Authority confirm if the criteria have any evaluation weightings?
The scoring methodology is as defined in the Framework Agreement and published in the requirement.
22. Clarification of DEFCONs (5J - 514) to be included in contract.
DEFCON 5J (Edn 18/11/16) - Unique Identifiers
DEFCON 35 (Edn 10/04) - Progress Payments
DEFCON 76 (Edn 12/06) - Contractor's Personnel at Government Establishments
DEFCON 90 (Edn 11/06) - Copyright
DEFCON 91 (Edn 11/06) - Intellectual Property Rights In Software
DEFCON 129J (Edn 11/16) -The Use of the Electronic Business Delivery Form
DEFCON 501 (Edn 11/17) - Definitions and Interpretations
DEFCON 502 (Edn 05/17) - Specifications Changes
DEFCON 503 (Edn 12/14) - Formal Amendments to Contract
DEFCON 513 (Edn 11/16) - Value Added Tax
DEFCON 514 (Edn 08/15) - Material Breach
23. Clarification of DEFCONs (514A- 531) to be included in contract.
DEFCON 514A (Edn 03/16) - Failure of Performance under Research and Development Contracts
DEFCON 515 (Edn 02/17) - Bankruptcy and Insolvency
DEFCON 516 (Edn 04/12) - Equality
DEFCON 518 (Edn 02/17) - Transfer
DEFCON 520 (Edn 02/17) - Corrupt Gifts and Payments of Commission
DEFCON 522 (Edn 11/17) - Payment and Recovery of Sums Dues
DEFCON 525 (Edn 10/98) - Acceptance
DEFCON 526 (Edn 08/02) - Notices
DEFCON 527 (Edn 09/97) - Waiver
DEFCON 529 (Edn 09/97) - Law (English)
DEFCON 530 (Edn 12/14) - Dispute Resolution (English Law)
DEFCON 531 (Edn 11/14) - Disclosure of Information
24. Clarification of DEFCONs (532A-605) to be included in contract.
DEFCON 532A (Edn 06/10) - Protection of Personal Data (Where Personal Data is not being processed on behalf of the Authority)
DEFCON 534 (Edn 06/17) - Subcontracting and Prompt Payment
DEFCON 537 (Edn 06/02) - Rights of Third Parties
DEFCON 538 (Edn 06/02) - Severability
DEFCON 539 (Edn 08/13) - Transparency
DEFCON 550 (Edn 02/14) - Child Labour and Employment Law
DEFCON 566 (Edn 03/18) - Change of Control of Contractor
DEFCON 602B (Edn 12/06) - Quality Assurance (without Quality Plan)
DEFCON 604 (Edn 06/14) - Progress Reports
DEFCON 605 (Edn 06/14) - Financial Reports
25. Clarification of DEFCONs (608-660) to be included in contract.
DEFCON 608 (Edn 10/14) - Access and Facilities to Be Provided By the Contractor
DEFCON 609 (Edn 06/14) - Contractor's Records
DEFCON 611 (Edn 02/16) - Issued Property
DEFCON 620 (Edn 05/17) - Contract Change Control Procedure
DEFCON 632 (Edn 08/12) - Third Party Intellectual Property - Rights and Restrictions
DEFCON 642 (Edn 06/14) - Progress Meetings
DEFCON 643 (Edn 12/14) - Price Fixing (Non-qualifying contracts)
DEFCON 656A (Edn 08/16) - Termination for Convenience – Under £5m
DEFCON 658 (Edn 10/17) - Cyber
DEFCON 659A (Edn 02/17) - Security Measures
DEFCON 660 (Edn 12/15) - Official-Sensitive Security Requirements
26. Clarification of DEFCONs (687A-703) to be included in contract.
DEFCON 687A (Edn 06/01) - Provision of A Shared Data Environment Service
DEFCON 687B (Edn 06/01) - Shared Data Environment System Transfer Arrangements
DEFCON 694 (Edn 03/16) - Accounting For Property of the Authority
DEFCON 703 (Edn 08/13) - Intellectual Property Rights - Vesting In the Authority