Lewisham Homes

Plan migration from our legacy housing management system and provide ongoing coaching and challenge

Incomplete applications

14
Incomplete applications
12 SME, 2 large

Completed applications

21
Completed applications
21 SME, 0 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 16 November 2018
Deadline for asking questions Friday 23 November 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 30 November 2018 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work Help Lewisham Homes ICT department plan migration from legacy systems and then provide ongoing coaching, support, challenge and assurance.
Latest start date Thursday 31 January 2019
Expected contract length 15 months
Location London
Organisation the work is for Lewisham Homes
Budget range Up to £130k.

This could break down as e.g:
Initial engagement: Approx £45k
Ongoing engagement: Approx £85k between now and end of 2019/20

We do not have specific figures in mind for each part of the engagement and so leave it to individual suppliers to make proposals based on what they think best.

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done Lewisham Homes is embarking on a programme of work to migrate from legacy, on premise applications to a modern digital architecture that will underpin the delivery of improved services to residents. To be successful we need to:
- Fully understand our options for data centre migration and make the right strategic decisions.
- Define an approach for migrating from legacy systems to our new architecture.
- Make the development and management of digital products and services a core competence of the organisation.
- Assure non-technical stakeholders that we are doing the right things, in the right way.
Problem to be solved We would like an initial engagement to help plan our approach covering at least:
- Platform: e.g. best route for cloud migration? what xAAS provider(s) best suited to our needs? what should remain on-premise?
- Services: e.g. migration path from legacy applications? what microservices are required? how best to build our APIs?
- Skills and working practices: e.g. what skills do we need? how to ensure adoption of best practices?

This would be followed by an ongoing engagement to March 2020 to help develop our staff, provide guidance and challenge of our work and provide assurance to senior stakeholders.
Who the users are and what they need to do As a developer I need to be confident employing best practices so that I can create robust products.
As an infrastructure engineer I need to understand how to best leverage xAAS technologies to improve our architecture.
As technical staff we need to learn modern DevOps approaches to keep our skills current.
As technical staff we need to understand the migration path so that we can realise our vision for a modern service.
As a member of the leadership team, I need objective assessment of our work to ensure we are producing solutions that are resilient in the long term.
Early market engagement We have discussed our brief with a range of companies that we know have worked with other housing providers attempting similar programmes, or have contacted us via Twitter in response to updates on our work / blog posts. These conversations have helped assure us that our general plan is sound, and also highlighted gaps in our thinking that have informed this brief.
Any work that’s already been done An existing piece of work has been carried out to define the data model for a new CRM system. As part of this, the main data objects in our primary legacy system and the users of the system that interact with them have been identified. We have also undertaken some proof of concept work around Docker and Kubernetes, but nothing ready for production.
Existing team Head of ICT
Digital Programme Manager
Infrastructure Manager
Infrastructure Engineer
2x DBA Developers / Application Managers
Lead Developer
2x Developers
Graduate Trainee Developer
Current phase Not started

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Old Town Hall, Rushey Green, SE6 4RU
(Catford)
Working arrangements We would prefer a team onsite for 3 days a week during the initial engagement to work with key staff in ICT.
We envisage the ongoing engagement to be based around e.g. quarterly visits and may feature paired programming, architecture workshops based around work to be undertaken, and reviews of work undertaken since previous visit however we are open to alternative approaches.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions

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
  • Have experience working to principles described in the Technology Code of Practice
  • Have experience working to principles described in the Local Government Digital Service Standard
  • Have experience building lasting capability within in-house IT teams
  • Have experience advising on design of modern system architectures
  • Have experience successfully executing legacy system / cloud migration projects
  • Have experience working with a range of xAAS products / providers
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have experience working with social housing systems
  • Provide opportunities for technical staff within Lewisham Homes ICT to be fully involved in the project
  • Experience working with data standards

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 3
Proposal criteria
  • Clarity of approach to defining future state and ensuring it meets our needs
  • Team structure, including skills, experience and relevance of individuals
  • Approach to blending Lewisham Homes ICT team’s understanding and domain knowledge with the skills of the supplied team
  • Experience successfully applying proposed approach in similar migration projects
  • Approach to ongoing capability building
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation, Lewisham Council and other suppliers
  • Work openly
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Share knowledge and experience with team members in Lewisham Homes
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Have no say / do gaps
  • Promote agile approaches to the team and wider organisation
  • Promote modern architectures to the team and key stakeholders
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

55%

Cultural fit

15%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. The notice mentions the use of Docker and Kubernetes, which is fine. Is there a preference to move towards a Linux based platform? We have no existing preference as to platform, so establishing which would be best for us would be part of the initial engagement.
2. We note that the buyer has developers within their existing team. Do the developers have a preferred stack they work with? LAMP, WAMP, ELK etc. Our existing team generally work with .Net but they're interested in learning new things (hence work with Docker and Kubernetes). The caveat would be that it would need to be sustainable, it wouldn't be sensible to build something on a niche platform that we then find it hard to support because we can't recruit staff with those skills.
3. There was mention of docker and kubernetes, so is there Linux stack experience in house or was it traditionally Windows that Lewisham wish to migrate their housing system from? The vast majority of our environment is Windows-based, but our housing management system runs on Red Hat.
4. The tender mentions some work carried out against an existing CRM. Does this suggest Lewisham have a particular CRM in mind? If so, what is it? We have a CRM data model, we don't have a CRM system in the sense of Dynamics, Salesforce etc (I've blogged about this more here - https://weeknot.es/weeknotes-from-trinovantum-w-c-24-9-18-d5cec4d93734)

The CRM data model is available on our Gitlab account here - https://gitlab.com/lewishamhomes/lh-datamodel
5. What is the current platform stack for the existing housing system?

Specifically:
Database – SQL Server, Oracle, MySql
Web Server (if in scope) – IIS, APache
Windows Application or Intranet?
Operating systems
Languages used
Database : Ingres 10.2S
Web Server : IIS element but not a true web application
Windows client that is launched via a web (intranet) page
Server : Linux Redhat Enterprise 6.1
Client : Windows 2012 or Windows 8.1 for us currently.
Language : Written in C and Ingres OpenRoad (4GL)
6. What is the current team's exposure to Agile methods? Varied. Agile working is new to the organisation generally, however we have some new starters in the team that have a lot of experience of using it in their prior roles and some members of the existing team that understand the theory but have little practical experience of it.
7. We have experience of development work with Social Housing Companies, but not directly with Local Govt – how essential is experience of Local Govt and the 'Local Govt Service Standards' evidence? It is essential that you have experience working to the principles of the Local Government Digital Service Standard, however these principles are not unique to local government and so having experience of those principles in other contexts is acceptable.
8. Is it possible to just get a feel for the infrastructure who you have in terms of number of data centres, number of virtual and physical machines etc? 2 x Dataceters in UK (London & Maidstone)

Primary DC:
Server Virtualisation Technology: VMware 6.5
Desktop Virtualisation Technology: Citrix XenDesktop 7.15
Hardware: 1 x HP Blade Enclosure with 11 x HP Blade Servers, 3 x Physical HP Proliant Servers
Storage: iSCSI SAN

220 VMs, ~25% of these VMs supports desktop virtualisation workloads (Citrix)

Secondary DC:
Server Virtualisation Technology: VMware 6.5
Desktop Virtualisation Technology: Citrix XenDesktop 7.15
Hardware: 1 x HP Blade Enclosure with 8 x HP Blade Servers
Storage: iSCSI SAN

90 VMs, ~25% of these VMs supports desktop virtualisation workloads (standby environment)
9. It would be useful to understand how many applications are listed on your core business application list? We have seven core systems, covering:
Housing management
Repairs management and operative payment
Repairs operative scheduling
Mobile working
Financial management
Document management
Call centre management (SAAS)

Most systems are under review in some form, however at this time we are only looking for detailed plans to migrate away from the core housing management system. For the other systems we would want to better understand things like:
Should they stay in our datacentre or be migrated to an IAAS provider?
Depending on timescales, should we leave them in place until such point as we replace them?
10. At this stage, none of the questions in the DM request a proposal nor a method. Is the shortlist evaluation proposing to use previous experience as a guide to how it will be used with Lewisham? Our approach to the procurement is that we have an outcome that we'd like to achieve but that suppliers are better placed than us to say how we should realise it. Consequently, we weren't intending to shortlist based on approach and are instead looking for experience from suppliers of having successfully delivered similar work elsewhere. If you feel that your experience can be best demonstrated by also mentioning your approach then please do so, but it's the experience we are most interested in.
11. The following points have not been asked in the shortlisting questions. Will these be covered in the written proposal after shortlisting?

Clarity of approach to defining future state and ensuring it meets our needs
Team structure, including skills, experience and relevance of individuals
Approach to blending Lewisham Homes ICT team’s understanding and domain knowledge with the skills of the supplied team
Experience successfully applying proposed approach in similar migration projects
Approach to ongoing capability building
Yes, the intention is that these would form the basis of a proposal from shortlisted companies, apologies if that wasn't clear in the original posting.

The rationale for this is that as per the previous answer, we think suppliers are better placed than us to say how best to realise our desired outcome. To explain how they would do that we think they need the space afforded by a full proposal, rather than the limited space available at the shortlisting stage.
12. Google Hangout Link https://hangouts.google.com/group/IbztyeVfqAqm9NrO2
13. The notice mentions members with agile skills and those who are new to it. Is there already a culture of pairing in the organisation? No, we only started creating a proper development team over the summer so these practices haven't been adopted yet. Paired programming would be another example of the things we'd be looking to embed over the course of the engagement.
14. Noting from GitLab that some of the the code doesn't have tests. This may or may not be deliberate. Would the team also need help understanding the importance of code coverage & metrics? It's deliberate in the sense that we are aware it needs to be done, but haven't done it yet because we're working on other things (we have some other repositories that aren't public). That said, I would think that knowledge of code coverage and metrics is probably not fully understood by all members and is not practiced by the team generally.
15. The buyer mentions that experience of LGDS principles is acceptable. LGDS and GDS are relatively immature agile standards, relative to some parts of the private sector. While acknowledging the journey Lewisham is on, some approaches could neglect parts of the standard to improve team fluency (bypassing wasteful processes). Would that be acceptable or does the standard HAVE to be the end goal? The service standard, code of practice etc are good yardsticks to measure against but the goal is to build the best team possible. If a supplier feels they could help build a better team by deviating from those principles they should feel free to do so, but it is recommended they explain why that is, particularly if they are invited to submit a formal proposal.
16. What would be the success criteria for the team (culture, practice etc) within the first 12 months? How would the buyer know this has been Done? The question is slightly difficult to answer and to a degree supplier-led, as we're conscious of the budget we're working to, success is dependent on our ability / willingness to learn and the team will be starting with a variety of experience levels.

We don't expect our team to become ninjas inside a year, but by the end of the engagement they should have a solid understanding and experience of the key components of good development practice, e.g. TDD, automated testing, CI/CD pipelines, paired programming and be comfortable working with microservices, containers, writing APIs etc.
17. Unfortunately I could not make the google hangout, will a summary of all questions and answers covered be posted? That was the intention, although in the event no questions were asked so there is no update to post.
18. We are a specialist housing transformation consultancy and accredited Digital Outcomes and Specialist. We are currently assisting HA's throughout the UK with digital business transformation. For some this is simply with a review of their infrastructure and network services and then the selection of the most suitable supplier to meet the objectives of their corporate plan. We are however not a direct supplier of ICT network and infrastructure solutions and this maybe what is required in this instance. Would an organisation like ours be considered a suitable candidate for this opportunity? There are two main things we need to do over the next 2-3 years and although they interlink they are separate:
- Move off our existing technology platform
- Redesign our services around the needs of users

We do not have a preference for what type of organisation bids for this opportunity but the intention is to find a partner to help us move to a new platform, ensuring that we make the right decisions and develop our staff accordingly, rather than assist with service design / transformation.
19. In respect of the initial engagement, do you have any expectations at this stage regarding the duration of this engagement and/or a view of high level milestones/deliverables? We'd expect the initial engagement to take a month or so. Deliverables are ultimately up to the supplier to define based on what they think would be best / most appropriate, but could include:
- A general systems architecture to migrate to
- Details as to what platform(s) to migrate to, or what we would need to consider if it's not something that can be decided in the short term
- Decisions around which microservices would be required
- Training and development plans for staff
20. The budget seems fairly low for such a lengthy engagement. Are you expecting the successful supplier to work with you consistently over this period or simply provide ongoing guidance, advice and support to your team on a consultancy basis, with some focused strategy workshops and training as required? The intention was that it would be more on a consultancy basis, e.g. with focused workshops, training, code reviews, etc. The rough estimate was that we'd be able to get a 1-2 weeks support per quarter from 2 people for the ongoing engagement, but obviously depends on how much of the budget is required for the initial piece of work.
21. Has any work been done on assessing current applications suitability for migration or is this anticipated to form a significant part of the initial engagement work? It would form part of the initial engagement but may not be a significant part, e.g. depending on remaining time left on the support contract of the application and our data centre it might be sensible to migrate to a SAAS product rather than move the existing application to an IAAS supplier.
22. Have you completed any initial cost benefit analysis / risk assessment to qualify the project's business case? An initial business case was produced looking at various options including:
Upgrade to a new product provided by incumbent supplier.
Migrate to a new product provided by a different supplier, managed as part of a shared service.
Migrate to a property management system core with a CRM overlay.

The business case recommended the final option which we broadly agree with, but we think can be better delivered through a combination of microservices and master data sets that collectively provide the same functionality of a property management system and CRM, rather than a property management system and CRM per se.