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Zansibar – The Technology relationship

What an awful picture? Surely, the UK Government can afford a better image than this to describe the complex arrangements between public sector buyers and suppliers of products and solutions through its multi million £ web based hosted and management e-Commerce platform (I know there is a slighly better image elsewhere)!

I assume you have heard about Zansibar Project. I did some research today to find out the technology house behind this public sector solution and thought of sharing it with you. Basically, (on behalf of Executive Agency of the Office of Government Commerce in the Treasury) has signed up a contract with PA Consulting Group to provide the UK Government with an e-Commerce platform for procurement. For this project, PA Consulting Group set-up PA Shared Services Ltd, as a wholly-owned subsidiary with technology partners Elcom Systems Ltd, Impaq Business Solutions Ltd and @UK Plc. In addition, Serco Group plc also provides various strategic services.

Zansibar handles 14 XML business documents. These are being considered by OASIS for incorporation in to UBL 2.0 standard. Currently, UBL has released V1.0. ebdex Document Exchange is built using eBis-XML, and can easily accommodate UBL and ebXML promoted by OASIS and others.

Elcom provides the hosted eProcurement and e-Commerce platform. PA Shared Services provides system integration and implementation services. Impaq’s supplier portal also plays a role. Further research is necessary to understand these relationship, and what role ebdex Document Exchange could play in future to extend the coverage.

Please do share your knowledge, as I am always fascinated by the way consortiums are set-up.

In the past, I was part of number of consortiums who bid for Light Rail Transit (LRT) projects. I started with South Leeds Supertram and lost, but then went on to win Croydon Tramlink. We then lost Manchester Metrolink Phase II, but the winning consortium’s bank hired us to do due-dilligence on the proposed systems. One of the best projects was developing the Croydon Tramlink proposal from a thought to conceptual design, and then negotiate with London Regional Transport and then re-negotiate with suppliers for better terms after winning the concession to build and operate the Tramlink for 30 years. Basically, I had 10 systems to play with and a budget of £10 million. I and the rest of the team had to go through a steep learning curve after loosing South Leeds Supertram. Basically, we found out that some of us did not know much about the relevant solutions and technology…We would have been in bigger trouble had we won Leeds. But the consortium stayed on (with few changes), learned the lessons and won the next bid. At that point I took an assignment to Middle East – the end of my role in LRT systems. No regrets though!

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