Awarded to Infosys Limited

Start date: Sunday 1 July 2018
Value: £6,000,000
Company size: large
The Open University

Open University Technology Partner

22 Incomplete applications

14 SME, 8 large

17 Completed applications

5 SME, 12 large

Important dates

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


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.
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

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

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 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.

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 many suppliers to evaluate
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

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.
7. Q6 - Are you looking for a team to be based onsite in Milton Keynes or are you happy for work to be carried out remotely?
Where teams are based would largely be dependent on the nature of the specific projects and the skills of the teams required. Some onsite support may be necessary for certain types of work. Our current flexible resource framework has a largely offshore base.
8. Q7 - In the essential skills and experience criteria listed, are the items listed in brackets specific technologies that you use? If so, are you looking for examples of our experience for these items in particular?
Yes, we do use these technologies and would be looking for examples of your skills and experience with them.
9. Q8 - Is this opportunity open to the incumbent supplier?
Yes, we currently have a flexible resource framework with two incumbent supply partners on it. We are not precluding these two from bidding.
10. Q9 - The opportunity indicates that you require a partner that can drive digital transformation, direction and innovation, as well as support the running of existing environments. The Essential skills and experience appear to be focused mainly on technologies and support capability. What digital transformation experience and leadership do you require, or is that largely covered by the existing team?
It is correct that the essential skills and experience focus mainly on the technologies and support capability – although also, and importantly, encompass architecture and design. We are likely to require resources at a range of skill levels, from “Follow” to “Set strategy, inspire, mobilise” (to use the generic SFIA levels).
11. Q10 - Can we request an attendance slot for the Friday Q&A session
16th March Q&A session has taken place, it was open to any supplier under this Framework as per the joining instructions.
12. Q11 - Does the OU have an overall idea of where it sees most of its budget being used? Onsite Hardware, Cloud Services, Development etc.
Although the OU does have high level budgetary plans, we would also expect to draw on the experience of the Technology Partner to ensure an appropriate balance for the budget has been struck. We are presently seeking to transition to cloud services and this is at an assessment stage with more work to do. The outcome of this assessment will inform budget forecasts. We also have a large scale procurement for our core administration systems running at present and this will further shape future budget decisions.
13. Q12 - Does the OU already have a strong vision of how it would like to see its IT services improve to provide a better deployment of learning to its students? Such as required features, simplified processes or possibly improving on stability.
Whilst we have views and these are being informed by the business community within the University, we will also want to exploit the experience of the Partner to further enhance the direction of student facing services.
14. Q13 - You mention that your internal team are supplemented by approx. 100 external personnel – in what capacity are these external personnel involved? Also are these from the incumbent agency that the winning bidder would be replacing or third party suppliers that the winning bidder would continue to work alongside?
The external staff referred to are the resources supplied by the partners currently working with us on our existing framework agreement. The nature of the projects being delivered by these staff is such that they will almost certainly need to be concluded and delivered by them regardless of the outcomes of this procurement process. Should this be the case, we would expect the Technology Partner to work collaboratively with these current flexible resource partners.
15. Q14 - Is UX and creative work part of the scope of this contract or is it purely handling the technical aspects of your requirements?
Yes, it will be necessary for us to engage on UX/UI project work as part of the Digital portfolio.
16. Q15 - You mention “the requirement to cooperate with the OU’s other suppliers”, what kind of third parties are expected to be involved?
These would be the existing flexible resource partners and suppliers including Microsoft, Oracle among others and systems integrators/specialists.
17. Q16 - The partner must provide support for current 'run' functions. Could OU please inform bidders on: • How many are bespoke systems? • Commercially what cover does OU have for another supplier to modify them?
We operate around 150 application systems with a complex range of integration points. Over the last 2 years we've implemented Oracle SOA as the primary means of data transfer between the main systems. Many of the systems are internal bespoke solutions or packaged products around which we have built APIs and other functions to meet certain unique demands. Where the systems which require change are internal OU systems there are no commercial implications for external organisations to modify them other than the usual security requirements. Where there are products requiring modification this will mainly be performed by the relevant vendor.
18. Q17 - For innovation and future state thinking, is there a view on the future systems. E.g. • What’s the TO BE systems map look like?
This work is currently in hand and we will be looking to the Technology Partner to provide us with support on developing the future state.
19. Q18a Clarifications during briefing call:
PA Consulting are providing procurement advice to the OU. They will be not be bidding for this opportunity.
Budget is expected to be £6m - £12m over the lifetime of the contract.
Experience in Higher Education is a ‘nice to have’.
As it continues to move towards greater use of cloud services, the OU will consider where its data needs to reside.
20. Q18b Clarifications during briefing call:
Indicative dates for the procurement process are as follows:
Issue requirement on DOS2 portal - 8th March 2018
Initial submission return date - 22nd March 2018
Initial submission review and shortlist approval by Procurement Board By 13th April 2018
Publish ITT to shortlisted bidders - 17th April 2018
Bids returned - 8th May 2018
Evaluation of bids (including clarification meetings) - By 25th May 2018
Winning bid chosen and approved by Procurement Board - By 1st June 2018
Standstill Period - By 11th June 2018
Contract signature - By 15th June 2018
Above timetable may be subject to change