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IPA revises overview of HMRCs 300m datacentre migration

Romolo Tavani –

Infrastructure and Project Authoritys annual report ranks HMRCs 300m datacentre migration as unachievable, but before publication it seems the organisation has already established a big change of heart

Caroline Donnelly


Published: 29 Jul 2022 15: 15

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has secured a better rating because of its 300m datacentre migration programme from the government watchdog that month published a written report stating the project was unlikely to achieve success, Computer Weekly has learned.

THE UNITED KINGDOM governments Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), which oversees the delivery of new railways, schools housing also it transformation projects, published its 2021/2022 report on 20 July 2022.

The 80-page document has an update and insight in to the status of large-scale programmes which are listed beneath the Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP), with each project graded utilizing a red, amber and green (RAG) traffic light-style system to point how likely they’re to achieve success.

For instance, projects which are graded Green are ones which are apt to be delivered successfully promptly, within budget, to a higher standard and also have no major conditions that will probably threaten delivery.

At another end of the scale are Red projects that present with major scheduling, budgetary and quality control conditions that look like unmanageable or unresolvable, meaning an effective project delivery is unachievable.

HMRCs ongoing datacentre migration programme, referred to as Securing Our Technical Future (SOTF), is probably the projects listed on the IPAs GMPP, and, in its report, its status is listed as moving from Amber, this means successful delivery of the project is in doubt, to Red during the period of days gone by 12 months.

The datacentre migration part of the five-year project was originally scheduled for completion in June 2022, and centres on the decommissioning or migration of servers and services hosted in three HMRC datacentres to either the general public cloud or the governments Crown Hosting colocation facility.

Project approval

The project was officially given approval to proceed by HMRC CEO Jim Harra in February 2020, and in late January 2022 it emerged that IBM had secured an 11m contract to aid the department with exiting three datacentres operated on its behalf by Fujitsu.

Based on the IPA report and its own accompanying documentation, around 55% of the services mixed up in move have either been retired or migrated up to now, however the 244 services that still require attention include concern for the Authority.

Examination has uncovered that the rest of the services, associated enablement and decommissioning work tend to be more complex, expensive and time-consuming than previously thought, the IPAs assessment stated.

Because of this, the status of the project have been changed from Amber to Red, based on the report, as the accompanying documentation states the project is along the way to be reviewed, with revised costings and a fresh completion date.

The project has been at the mercy of several pauses due to the UKs extrication from europe, the documentation stated, which have affected its completion.

As the baseline very existence costs remain at 312.06m, the programme business case happens to be being updated, that may increase the very existence charges for various reasons, including increased complexities, [new] datacentre requirements and extra scope, the documentation added.

However, as the IPAs report states the project is classified as Red, Computer Weekly has learned that HMRC has successfully had the SOTF reclassified as Amber.

In a statement, a spokesperson for HMRC said: Moving services to public cloud and Crown Hosting is helping us transform how exactly we operate, enabling us to create and run more resilient services, update them easily where we have to, and scale up quickly at peak times of the entire year, the statement read.

We always plan any changes to your IT estate thoroughly and, although it is a highly complicated project, we have been confident in the migration plans we’ve set up.

These plans add a revised finish date for the project, that is now because of conclude in December 2023, and a rejigged business arrange for it.

Because of the progress made, the RAG rating has improved from Red to Amber, that was confirmed by an IPA Gate 0 review conducted in early May 2022, the spokesperson added.

Computer Weekly contacted the IPA for confirmation with this change, however the authority declined to comment.

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