The Open University

Open University Technology Partner

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
16 SME, 15 large

Completed application

Completed application
0 SME, 1 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Thursday 8 March 2018
Deadline for asking questions Thursday 15 March 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Thursday 22 March 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work The Open University (OU) is seeking a Technology Partner to support the delivery of its digital outcomes. Digital services are vital to the OU as it continues to find new ways to engage with students, deliver high quality teaching and learning, and manage the institution effectively.
Latest start date Friday 15 June 2018
Expected contract length The contract is expected to last for two years, with the option to extend for a further six months.
Location South East England
Organisation the work is for The Open University
Budget range Total budget over the life of the contract is expected to be in the range £6m to £12m.

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done The Open University is embarking on a major digital transformation programme over the next 2-3 years with the objective of improving the experience of Open University students. While this transformation is taking place there is also a need to continue to deliver services to the four key faculties in a 'run' environment (architecture, project delivery and service). The supplier must be able to mix strategic thinking and direction setting, deployment of innovative solutions, tools and systems improvements, standardisation and improvement in end to end processes as well as the execution of an existing 'run' environment
Problem to be solved Increase student numbers and improve student retention through the provision of a world class student experience, supported by a modern and cost efficient IT environment. Although the university has a substantial IT department, it does not have the breadth and depth of skills or capacity to respond to current and future needs.
Who the users are and what they need to do Students want to take advantage of digital technologies to support their learning, and their general engagement with the university. Staff want to use digital services for teaching and to support the effective running of the university.
Early market engagement A review has been undertaken of the various digital contracting options available through government frameworks and The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has been consulted to gain market insight. With CCS guidance it has been agreed that the Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2 Framework Agreement (DO2) is an appropriate procurement mechanism. Informal market sounding has identified that use of DO2 will give access to a number of candidate suppliers.
Any work that’s already been done Some of the strategic thinking on Digital Transformation is already taking place and there is a dedicated programme team looking at numerous work streams (IT is one of these work streams). In parallel the IT department continues to support the legacy applications with operational support, architecture and design as well as a fast moving 'change' programme spread across a number of small to medium sized projects.
Existing team The existing team is made up of a number of functions and those functions have a mix of OU employees supplemented by personnel from incumbent suppliers. The existing team can be broadly split into architecture and design, service delivery (small, medium and large change programmes), service operations with a generic governance wrap on process, procedures, control and compliance. The establishment headcount in the IT organisation is approximately 350, supplemented by approximately 100 other external personnel.
Current phase Not started

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place The services will be provided from both the United Kingdom (primarily the OU's campus in Milton Keynes) and any other agreed onshore / offshore locations dependant on the ability to provide high calibre capability, skills and scalability
Working arrangements The OU want a Technology Partner that will drive the digital transformation and improve the overall service on the current 'run' functions. The Technology Partner must continually drive improvements and efficiencies , working with the faculties and IT teams as well as leveraging expertise from their own organisation. They should be an integral part of the OU IT team, embracing the ethos and driving OU objectives.
It is anticipated that there will be a mix of on-site and off-site working. The majority will be office hours (e.g. Mon-Fri, 09:00 to 17:00), but some 24 x 7 operation may be required.
Security clearance No specific security clearance but adherence to OU security and compliance standards

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions Additional terms will cover:
- The requirement to cooperate with the OU's other suppliers
- An appropriate set of KPIs
- Regular reviews at working and executive level
- Requirements for innovation and continuous improvement

Skills and experience

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

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Architecture and design (across solution, systems, infrastructure, network, database, hardware and service)
  • IT infrastructure (MS Azure, Oracle Solaris Virtualisation, VMware vSphere)
  • Enterprise applications (Siebel, Kentico CMS)
  • Open source applications (Drupal, Moodle)
  • Development languages (MS Visual Basic 6, MS .NET, PHP, C)
  • Integration (Oracle SOA suite)
  • Databases (Ingres Database, Oracle 12C, MS SQL Server 2015, PostgreSQL, mySQL, MS Azure databases)
  • Storage (iSCSI, HPE StoreVirtual)
  • Operating systems (MS Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Oracle Solaris)
  • Service management and support (across the ITIL ‘stack’, and including network support, IT facilities management and managed desktop services)
  • Security (security administration, penetration testing)
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • Mobilisation and implementation plan (4%)
  • Skills of key staff (10%)
  • Technical expertise (30%)
  • Security and data protection (6%)
  • Team Structure 4%
Cultural fit criteria
  • Management of team(s) and working practice (4%)
  • Collaboration with other suppliers (4%)
  • Recruitment and retention, training and on-boarding of personnel (4%)
  • Working in a university environment (4%)
Payment approach Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Q1 - At what point do you anticipate needing a price and based on what, when it is not yet clear what software/services/equipment is needed to fulfil your requirements? What criteria will be looked for when scoring the 30% on price? Pricing will be sought at the tender stage. It is anticipated that suppliers will be required to submit a rate card, together with proposed discounts for committed volume, forecast commitment and overall volume. Evaluation ‘forecast price’, determined by applying the supplier’s proposed rate card and discounts to a representative scenario of resource usage.
2. Q2 - Are you looking to award to one supplier or are you considering awarding to several suppliers? The University intends to award to one supplier.
3. Q3 - What is the criteria for scoring "Recruitment and retention, training and on-boarding of personnel" ? Is this for training of your existing IT staff and OU personnel that use the systems involved? Further detail will be provided in the tender document. It relates to the supplier’s staff (for example, how they would be on-boarded to work for the OU).
4. Q4 - Where can I download the tender requirements? The tender document will be made available to shortlisted suppliers.
5. Q5 – What is the technical evaluation criteria? • Mobilisation and implementation plan (4%)
• Skills of key staff (10%)
• Technical expertise (30%)
• Security and data protection (6%)
• Team Structure 4%
6. Can we request an attendance slot for the Friday Q&A session Yes. Suppliers on this Framework are invited to attend the Adobe Connect Q&A session. If you cannot find the details please log-in to the Digital Marketplace with your supplier account details and you will be able to view the details and the link.
The deadline for asking questions about this opportunity was Thursday 15 March 2018.