Royal Navy, Ministry of Defence

NELSON Data Platform Beta - Live Development

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
5 SME, 5 large

Completed applications

Completed applications
2 SME, 4 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 8 March 2019
Deadline for asking questions Friday 15 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 22 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
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 private beta to live.
Latest start date Monday 29 April 2019
Expected contract length 24 months
Location South East England
Organisation the work is for Royal Navy, Ministry of Defence
Budget range £1.0m per annum with optional 2 x £1.0m per annum. (Total £2.0m + optional £4.0m over 2 years) All VAT exclusive.

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done 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. A common data platform is required to provide coherent access to Royal Navy data at sea and ashore.
Problem to be solved The NELSON Data Platform is becoming a fleet-wide, ship-agnostic big data layer that runs in a common computing environment. It will transform the analytical capability of the Royal Navy 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.

The Royal Navy requires a multi-disciplinary team to continue the rapid, iterative development of the NELSON Data Platform from current private beta to live.
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 at sea and ashore.
Early market engagement The NELSON Data Platform was presented at the DSEi 17 conference, trialed at INFORMATION WARRIOR 18, and provided to a private developer community (private beta) at a industry day at HMS President in December 2018. It will be used across all systems at INFORMATION WARRIOR 19.
Any work that’s already been done The Data Platform has been iteratively developed over the 18 months through discovery, alpha and private beta phases.
Existing team Rainbow team of civil servants, Dstl, military officers and an industry consortium. All crown servants will continue into private beta - live phase.
Current phase Beta

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Semaphore Tower, HMNB Portsmouth. Remote working is available, but it is expected that the team will be onsite at least 3 days a week including every Wednesday.
Working arrangements The supplier should work in a seamless collaborative environment with the military, Dstl 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 information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions The following DEFCONS (latest editions) shall apply: 5J, 76, 502, 513, 515, 516, 518, 520, 522, 526, 527, 529, 530, 531, 534, 537, 538, 550, 566, 602B, 604, 608, 611, 642, 658, 659A, 660, 694.

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
  • Experience developing to production quality in Scala and Python.
  • Evidence of experience building production big data solutions
  • Experience with big data technologies – preferably including Apache Nifi, Apache Kafka, Hadoop, Apache Hbase
  • Experience of API development
  • Evidence of delivering large scale projects using Agile development methodology
  • Experience of implementing test automation frameworks
  • Experience of implementing Devops for large scale solutions
  • Experience designing, specifying, procuring and building infrastructure to support big data solutions
  • Experience providing infrastructure support to users
  • Experience of virtualisation of environments, build and administration
  • Experience with containerisation, preferably Docker
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of API development using GraphQL
  • Experience of taking solutions through the accreditation process
  • Experience in securing production solutions
  • Experience in using the Atlassian suite for Agile software development
  • Experience of developing frameworks for application development
  • Experience of deploying software solutions to RN vessels
  • Experience using Jenkins for Devops
  • Experience with scaled cloud solutions
  • Experience using geo-spatial data
  • Experience with container orchestration

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 3
Proposal criteria
  • Team structure
  • Proposed Agile methodology
  • How the approach will enable accreditation
  • How the methodology will enable continuous improvement/deployment
  • How the approach will support application development
  • How the approach will build the solution from early stage beta to production-ready
  • Diversity of thought, including multiple companies
  • Value for money
  • Rainbow team including at least 4 organisations.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Willing to fail fast and learn from their mistakes
  • Takes advantage of knowledge and experience they have access to
  • Willing to advocate for Nelson internally and externally
  • Work as ‘One Team Nelson’
  • Willing to challenge cultural norms and stand up for the right thing
  • Can take others on the journey with them
  • Transparent, collaborative and proactive when making decisions
Payment approach Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Who is the current incumbent supplier please? The Alpha phase of NELSON Data Platform development is detailed here:
2. Could you please provide more information about the Industry Day 15th March, how do we register please? Please email and we will provide details of the Industry Day 15th March.
3. Are there any nationality restrictions on working in the dockyard? All personnel involved in this requirement must have SC as detailed in the requirement. There are no specific nationality restrictions beyond SC for working in the dockyard.