BBC brings in IBM to replace SopraSteria for major technology refresh

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Robots, mobile, cloud and analytics all on the agenda as Big Blue holds Beeb’s hand through Charter renewal

The BBC has signed a multi-million pound contract with IBM to supply outsourced finance, accounting, payroll and associated technology services, with Big Blue replacing SopraSteria after a ten year gig.

The procurement is designed to deliver a simplified and efficient service that will make a “significant contribution” to BBC efficiency targets, said the broadcaster.

IBM will work closely with the BBC to deliver finance and accounting services, including application management, purchasing and sales transaction processing, artist and contributor payments processing, financial management and project accounting, payroll processing and expenses and customer support.

BBC testOver the life of the contract IBM says it will “transform” the services introducing a range of mobile, analytical, cognitive and cloud based technologies to increase productivity and efficiency. This includes mobile applications to support remote working, and the use of robotics to drive process consistency, accuracy and efficiency.

There will also be cloud-based software as a service to support payroll and expense processing, and analytics to provide increased insight into customer service, business compliance and controls and performance management.

IBM was selected from a shortlist of four companies after a “rigorous evaluation process” against a number of criteria, said the Beeb, which included value for money, cultural alignment with the BBC, service delivery capability, the ability to drive improvements to the BBC’s business and financial processes, and transition and exit planning.

IBM will act as prime contractor for a five year term with an option for a two year extension. The switch-over to IBM will take place in November 2016.

Ian Haythornthwaite, BBC director of finance, said: “We are confident that this contract will bring advantages to the BBC in terms of simplicity and innovation as well as making a significant contribution to our savings targets.

BBC-LogoThe BBC will benefit from IBM’s proven expertise in managing outsourced finance and accounting services, and we look forward to developing a close relationship with them. I would like to thank our colleagues at SopraSteria for their valuable support over the last decade.”

Anita Karlsson-Dion, VP client services, IBM Business Process Services, said: “We are well aware of the significant challenges facing the BBC as it enters the year of Charter renewal. We are looking forward to bringing the best of IBM’s innovations and collaborative working to deliver a highly effective service and an improved user experience for all BBC employees and customers.”

@AntonySavvas