Ministry of Justice has made no savings at all from cloud strategy claims report

The UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has saved nothing from its cloud strategy as the department still buys 2.3 million licenses, reports The Register. According to the report, a government insider said Oracle is “extreme in its defence of existing licensing” and “stopping any flexibility.”

A freedom of information (FOI) request forced the MoJ to reveal that it buys 53 separate Oracle products including 961,000 internet expense licences, 250,000 licenses for each of three human resources systems and 100,000 payroll licences.

With 3,000 staff at the MoJ’s headquarters, that would average around 767 licenses for each employee. If all staff employed by the MoJ’s partner agencies were considered, then 33 Oracle licences have been bought for each of a total of 70,000 staff.

The MoJ transferred its people, services and IT to the Cabinet Office-run shared services centre in November last year. The FOI response revealed there had been no licensing cost savings yet to be associated with the move, since the licences are held in perpetuity and do not expire. The Technology Oracle Support and Maintenance Shared Services Oracle Support contracts will expire in April 2016, which could save £100m over the lifetime of the shared services centre contract.

The MoJ has refused to disclose the total it is spending on Oracle software, claiming this is a matter of commercial confidentiality.

The MoJ needs to review its use of Oracle, said analyst Clive Longbottom, senior researcher at Quocrica. “If the ministry being held to ransom by Oracle, through the systems integrators and consultants that the government insists on using, then it’s time to insist on a replacement database,” said Longbottom.

The analyst argued that Microsoft or IBM would be ‘more than willing’ to help the MoJ to move them over to their systems. A more nuanced data storage platform using a non-relational database alongside Hadoop could save them a lot on Oracle licences. “Oracle fights to the death to look after its licence revenues,” said Longbottom. “It is still in a legal battle with Rimini Street over how the third party support vendor manages Oracle licensing.”