The U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has signed a seven-year, £180 million (AU$432.98 million) contract with Hewlett-Packard (HP) to upgrade its IT infrastructure and create a single online platform for all the organization's national and foreign locations, it said this week.
The contract is a public/private partnership to design, deploy and operate an upgrade to the FCO's current IT infrastructure, known as "Firecrest." The upgrade, called "Future Firecrest," will include a rollout of new hardware, software and services to over 200 FCO offices in the U.K. and abroad over a two-year period.
The deal is the largest the FCO, the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. State Department, has ever signed, it said.
Since the contract operates as a partnership, HP and the FCO will share the risk in deploying and maintaining the system, an FCO spokesman said. HP staff will collaborate with the FCO's own services department, with the FCO taking the lead in some of its foreign locations, he said.
The seven-year contract is renewable on an annual basis for a further three years. In addition to the £180 million the FCO is paying HP, it plans to spend an additional £140 million in internal costs to support the new system, the spokesman said.