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CIO Mark Hall on taxing task of making HMRC digital

Mark Chillingworth | June 28, 2013
HMRC opts for a single CIO, but Mark Hall continues the modernisation of the tax office.

"Over the coming months we will be trialling and ultimately deploying a range of devices to support new working practices in HMRC. We are looking at areas where we can introduce mobile working and paperless meetings. Therefore, devices will potentially range from conventional and hybrid laptops through to tablets. In line with government policy, we are investigating a range of commodity devices and operating systems. As much as possible we are moving to an open standard and inter-compatibility."

As part of the technology and application rationalisation that has been the core of the CIO strategy under both Hall and Pavitt HMRC introduced Enterprise Tax Management Platform, a simplified SAP platform for Stamp Duty and Land Tax in 2011. This strategy has continued with tax management moving on to the integrated platform.

"We are seeing the benefits of re-use and less integration costs. And we have seen less shadow IT as the capability has developed internally and we are seen as great at delivery and understanding the business. Speed of delivery is always a challenge. But the internal teams are becoming centres of excellence in collaboration and SAP.

"We have a process: Business Development Apps that people can develop their own spreadsheet macros on so we do encourage them to develop," he says of his strategy towards encouraging positive shadow IT within a governance framework.

There is still a deal of modernisation to carry through HMRC Hall says.

"We are looking at how we modernise the device and desktop environment. While a new Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is all about supporting the legacy and we will have to migrate away from that. But the focus is on better IT for our staff and to continue the journey of consolidation.

"We do need to shut the legacy down and de-commission the underlying infrastructure and it is all linked to how we manage the portfolio while working towards the 2017 end to Aspire," he says of the major outsourcing contract led by Capgemini but including BT and Fujitsu. Aspire was signed in 2004 and was one of the largest outsourcing contracts in the UK at the time. Critics have argued that the contract has robbed HMRC of skills, innovation and the deal has not integrated technology and delivery well.

"We have the IT sourcing strategy in outline and following the changed we made to the Capgemini contract last year that ended their exclusivity as the prime supplier. Rather than wait for 2012 we are moving towards in increments," he says.

Hall admits to liking the System Integration and Management (SIAM) model for different contracts and service models and over the years that CIO has been speaking with Hall he has always advocated and acted on righting the skill sets within HMRC, which may put HMRC in a better place to land integrations itself.


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