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TfL defers system upgrade in £375m cost-saving plan

TfL defers system upgrade in £375m cost-saving plan

IT staff also face the chop

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SAP-based Transport for London (TfL) will put off upgrading its IT systems as part of efforts to cut £375 million over the next seven years, the organisation has revealed.

The cost-savings are part of a £7.6 billion business plan that TfL announced in light of an eight percent reduction in its budget following the government’s Spending Review last year. The planned savings have increased from a previous target of around £5 billion.

A spokesperson for TfL told Computerworld UK that the IT savings programmes will involve a number of measures, including a “deferral of technical refresh” as well as a reduction in IT staff.

As TfL reduces the number of back office employees, it also expects to see a reduction in costs for desktop equipment and support.

Other efficiency initiatives include a “restructuring of the management team” in IT, and the organisation will also be renegotiating its third-party IT contracts.

TfL’s IT suppliers range from Cubic Transportation Systems, which handles the Oyster card IT, to Easynet Global Services and Serco, which IT services for its CCTV. It also uses the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform to host publicly-available data feeds.

The UK's four mobile operators, Vodafone, O2, Three and Everything Everywhere, have abandoned plans to install a mobile network on the London Underground in time for the Olympic Games after it was unable to reach an agreement with TfL over the funding. TfL wants the mobile operators to foot the cost of setting up the network.

However, TfL still expects to go ahead with a plan to have Wi-Fi access at up to 120 tube stations by the Games, which start in July 2012.

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