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  • Writer's picturePeter Hanney

Disaggregation Part 2 - Setting up for Success

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

Welcome to the second of our series of articles on disaggregated infrastructure procurement in which I’ll discuss two important topics:

1. Solution Integration

2. Procurement Order

Disaggregated ICT is new, right?

When considering your move to a disaggregated model, the first thing to realise is that disaggregation isn’t new.

The traditional big, single prime contractor, infrastructure contracts were always disaggregated.

It's just that the Systems Integrator, often working behind the scenes, used to managed that challenge, undertaking solution integration throughout procurement and delivery, to give the client a single integrated design, plan and price.

Diagram showing the complexity of deliverying disaggregated solutions
Procurement Solution Integration

This is one of the reasons that procurement of these mega-deals took a year or more with bid costs for the prime supplier reaching into millions. The fact that bidders would invest that kind of effort and cost in procurement, before they have won the business, shows its importance.

What is more, the model that they put together was designed to commence at contract award, and end neatly at the end of the contract term. Whereas the disaggregated procurements undertaken today expect each supplier to start and end at a different time, whilst the overall model persists and adapts over time.

The Solution Integration challenge has moved from the prime contractor to the customer and expanded from a point in time solution, to a persistent model that needs planning and ongoing management.

So the message here is simple…. Solution Integration is key. In a disaggregated model, your first consideration should be to work out who will set the strategy to ensure that your procurement results in an integrated solution, delivery plan and predictable costs. Ensure sufficient time and resource is put into the task early on.

Procurement Order

One of the other key decisions to make in that early phase is Procurement Order. You have a big SI contract now, so which services from it do you replace first?

There are all kinds of factors that could affect this for your organisation, including how you decide to carve up your services, the pressure to re-procure rather than extend expiring contracts and many other factors. So I will simply provide what we consider to be the optimal approach …..

1. Modernise your applications - See my previous article about this here.

Modern applications don’t require complex infrastructure. Which in turn simplifies everything else you will do. Whether you have a single Application Supplier or many or in house teams, the earlier you start investing in the modernisation of applications the simpler your future infrastructure will be to procure and manage.

2. Put your solution integration team in place.

Either by using your current SI partner, buying this service from a supplier or by building a strong, experienced and well resourced internal team. Through Technology can help you with this. This should cover a minimum of Programme Delivery Leadership, Enterprise and Solution Architecture, Planning, Commercials and Information Assurance.

3. Put your future service model in place that new partners fit into an overall service model (at least behind a common first line support desk).

Then..... procure your remaining services in the order that “builds up the stack” of infrastructure services. Such that as many dependencies are met for each incoming supplier as they arrive, ie….

4. Networks

5. Hosting

6. End User Computing

7. The rest, e.g. Managed Print Services, Telephony etc.

A diagram showing the optimal way to disaggregate and procure multi-source services to replace a large ICT integrator contract
Optimal Large Infrastructure Contract Disaggregation

As I mentioned, there are many factors that affect this… so the key message to clients here is that you should consciously consider procurement order and the affect it will have on your ability to move each supplier into delivery and service.


The two points above are about setting up for success. If they are not considered as part of your move to a disaggregated model of infrastructure delivery then you risk doing the opposite.

Even with the move to cloud services, the Solution Integration effort that prime suppliers used to expend at their own risk in procurement has to go somewhere. Without a clear model for suppliers to fit into and a sensible procurement order, you risk awarding contracts only to then have apply that effort, at additional cost and delay in the first months or years of your delivery programme.


If you’d like to discuss any of the ideas in this article, or have any other questions about disaggregated procurement strategy then please comment on this post, or contact via our website or

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