Authority leans towards changing prime supplier with an emphasis on supporting schools and keeping jobs in local economy
Highland Council has announced that Wipro Holdings is its preferred bidder for the future delivery of core ICT services, pointing towards the end of Fujitsu UK in the role.
The council said it is still in a commercially confidential procurement process with Indian based Wipro – therefore no indication of the contract length and value is yet available – but expects to announce the formal award around 12 September.
Among the features expected in the new deal are the provision of some 20,000 tablet devices to school pupils in the region, and a new investment in networks and bandwidth to schools.
The successful bidder will also be required to make a significant reduction in the cost of ICT services over the lifetime of the contract, and provide a programme of community services. Bidders for the contract have proposed to have a significant workforce based in the Highlands.
Despite this, the news has met with some unease in the region. Herald Scotland highlighted Wipro’s background in providing offshore services, and pointed out that incumbent Fujitsu already employs 130 people in the Highlands on the council contract.
But Georgina O’Toole, public sector research director at analyst company TechMarketView, pointed out that Wipro has offices in Aberdeen and East Kilbride.
Writing in the analyst’s UKHotViews, she said: “Though, some offshore delivery may make sense for Wipro in terms of delivering the savings, it may not necessarily make sense politically. There may be other ways in which Wipro plans to deliver the promised savings.”
Councillor Bill Fernie, the council’s chair or resources, said: “Through this new contract we aim to achieve significant cost savings and deliver services in innovative ways, making the best use of new technologies and enabling business change and transformation as well as modernising classroom technology.”
Image by S. Alexander Gilmour, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons