IT Companies ripping off Government

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by re-stilly, Jul 28, 2011.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Now I am an IT Manager and have a healthy budget to look after but £3.5k for a PC is a little steep I don't pay that for a server. I mean what Civil Serpent Muppet actually Okayed that as a worthwhile purchase.

    Government Ripped off by IT Companies
  2. What they fail to mention is that the 3.5k will cover x amount of years support for the PC, upgrades/tech-refresh etc.

    The 3.5k isn't just for the hardware. It includes licenses for the software etc also
  3. I can buy a PC for £300 includes Win 7 Licence, Office is £150 (Open Office is Gratis), ERP Licence is £150 per year per machine support per PC is £500 per year so that is £1100 per year per machine. Still a long way short of £3500.
  4. Sorry - you are wrong.

    This stuff really boils my piss. The £3500 figure quoted was for an FCO desktop.

    Was it:

    a) hardware only, at cost
    b) hardware only, including margin
    c) hardware and OEM software, at cost
    d) hardware and OEM software, at price
    e) hardware, OEM software, desktop build etc, at cost
    etc etc etc

    Does it consider the varying elements of support cost within the "desktop" bucket, e.g networks, app support, security.

    Where is this machine - its FCO so there is every chance its somewhere weird, requiring bespoke support.

    The fact is that any wánker can pull a number out of their arrse and say "I've got the cheapest desktops in government". The commercial directors in each of the departments have pissing contests about it. Ultimately it is an irrelevance. The things that drive the overall cost are largely due to the specification of the service - i.e. how secure/available/fast do you want it. Its not the IT contractors that drive this - its the departments.

    Oh, and before anyone asks, no, I don't work for an IT contractor.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. If it's an FCO machine then they need support provided by someone with DV clearance. DV clearance costs, and the company will pass this onto the government. They also hire a fair amount of contractors on £250+ a day.
  6. neither does the report make clear that the figures are unverified -the key phrase

    "Committee chairman, Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, said that according to some sources, the government had paid contractors between seven and 10 times more than the standard rate.

    But ministers themselves did not collect the information required to verify these claims, he added."

    Nor does it show the breakdown of what the figure is for; £3.5K for a highly specified highly specialised system, or certain components, plus on-site 4hr break-fix support is value for money, whilst the same sum for a.n.other system might well be a "rip off".

    The last such report, when Mr Cable castigated some depts for paying £250 for "printer ink", was similarly flawed: it did not specify the model, cartidge/toner type, nor quantity of the different items compared. And when an IT magazine pressed for details, Whitehall point blank refused. Its taken 10 months and an ICO case, but the Govt has finally given in.. I believe it will make for interesting reading...

    Opening the door to smaller companies for desktop PC/server hardware is a nightmare... I ran standard builds, which meant one image for 95% of the corporate desktops, as they were guaranteed not not to change the hardware, thus re-installs would just work, no "windows is installing a driver... please insert..." or worse, an app broke due to a driver conflict. Dell, HP, (Compaq) could guarantee that. Dell, HP/Compaq keep the parts in stock for years (the report doesnt make clear if enterprise-level components were included). Sure, the price doesn't lower, but that is called risk mitigation - I'm mitigating the loss of my hair, time, stress (and even job) if hardware fails and we cant replace the part.

    Enterprise components are far more expensive. One example, WD drives. The same 1TB drive was available in two models "consumer" at £100 and "enterprise" at £400. Enterprise was rated for use in RAID drives, the other wasn't. That didn't stop people from trying to save money and put consume drives in RAIDS... and then complain when the drives would fall over. The Consumer-grade drives were not made for the 24/7 intense activityof a RAID system. In a similar vein SCSI server-class drives often fail in desktops; designed for intense constant use, but not daily+ power on/off cycles.

    What would be more accurate is that Govt does not make use of leveraged buying power, does not have any form of vendor management (or central purchasing), and that the size of these figures doesnt reflect waste, it reflects the huge scale of purchasing across the entire Government. And in such a super-scale system, there will be waste and inefficiency as it is impossible to provide a wholly robust audit-able purchasing policy that suits everyone's requirements.
  7. Exactly, having worked with civil service for nearly a year now, the cost around doing anything is very high - it takes some getting used to.

    I have been pushing using a free reporting tool for several months - it has cost around 30K+ just on costs on me (staff could have written reports themselves instead of me doing it). The extra money is to factor in, job protection/jobs worths/incompetence costs in the civil service
  8. I work for one of the companies (although not on a Government contract). The points above are valid - client needs 24/7 support, hotswap capability and robustness.

    I have a company laptop - the intiial cost to my cost centre is more than if I go to PC World (hiss spit). However, mine is insured for loss/damage, I am guaranteed replacement parts within 24 hours, and I get auto-backup facilities of all my data in am enterprise-standard data center with three-tier redundancy. I have data encryption and industry-standard anti-virus, all included in the price that is about 23% higher than a bog-standard replacement from above establishment would cost.

    Lies, damned lies and statuistics (to paraphrase a bit).
  9. Take that cost over the life-span of IT equipment - three years - and yo uare close to your 3.5k quoted...

    but some contracts are gilt-edged, I agree.
  10. And you reckon £3,500 is good value?

    £300 will sort you out a good desktop from PC World. The life spa of said desktop would probably be 5 to 10 years. £3,200 quid for licences repair and an upgrade?
  11. Came back from the Stan in 2002 and shortly before demobilising, was involved in presenting our new (as yet unissued) UOR kit to a General visiting.

    We had at least 4 flight cased and robust hard drives consisting of 4 separate 10MB units which was with the unit and server attached a two man lift.

    I had an Ipod in my back pocket (backpack actually) at the time and a 8GB memory stick which I had been using in the stan to transfer files and media and both of which where I had bought myself to help me in my role in theatre.

    I remember thinking at the time that the MOD seems to be getting flogged passed off kit that cant be offloaded elsewhere.

    The kit was used x1 in "anger"(apart from training and a couple of exercises) when I went to Iraq in 2003 and I haven't seen it since.

    PocketComms - Language First Aid at your Fingertips
  12. Which is because the catalogue is only security accreditted stock, if it's retro kit it means higher rate for old retro kit SME.
  13. You 'don't get it', do you. As a corporate IT manager with thousands of desktops, I don't want a cheap PC that will not be identical across the thousands I need to buy this year, let alone still be available for the next three-to four years. I need identical machines, down to component level, as I spent tens of thousands of pounds evaluating several desktops, testing an OS build against application and environment, and developing the standard build 'desktop os' image, to avoid spending hundreds of thousands or more trying to support disparate hardware

    Now if you would rather I lowered my capex expense by a factor of ten, but increased my on-going support costs bya massive factor - and the accompanying drop in productivity.... please come and do my job; be prepared for two interviews without coffee, firstly when the CEO wants to know why his company keeps failing because of IT failure. The second interview will be even shorter, its the one where he says "you're fired".

    And again, we have no idea what the £3500 price tag was for.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. 8GB memory stick in 2002? No way. No way. SD have a limit of 2GB. 4GB cards were available by tweaking, but not until 2006. >2GB required SDHC, the spec wasn't finalised until 2006.

    10MB hard disks? What kit was this? The manufacturer of 10MB drives ceased sometime around 1988... in 1991 it was almost impossible to buy <40MB. The DGITS catalogue in 1993 didnt have anything less than 80MB. Are you sure they were not 9GB SCSI or 10GB IDE drives - which would have been realistic for the time.
  15. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    Here's a quote from Philip Green's report on government purchasing.

    So it looks very much like IT companies are ripping the government off. Buying direct from one multinational supplier (or a maximum of 2 to promote competition) would probably knock lumps out of the price. After all, the IT suppliers buy from the multinational supplier anyway and just resell to the government - after putting their profit margin on top as well.