Information Management Solutions (IMS)
Information Technology Strategy
8th October 2007 Draft Version 1.3
This document defines the IT Strategy for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The IT
Strategy expresses the key ways in which Information Management Solutions (IMS) plan to support the
delivery of the Business Strategy.
It supports the IMS Strategic Framework and is complementary to the IMS IS Strategy.
It is valid for 12 months from issue or until superceded.
This document is designed to express the HMRC IT Strategy to HMRC Business Directors and IMS
It should also be read by Solutions Architecture and Business Solutions staff.
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1 Introduction ...................................................................................................4
3 Mission and Strategic Themes......................................................................6
4 Road to World Class IT.................................................................................8
5 Transformational Government Agenda .........................................................9
6 Key Architecture Principles .........................................................................10
7 Alliances and Products ...............................................................................13
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HMRC has a Business strategy setting the ambition for the Department over the next few years. This IT
Strategy is a view on how IMS will deliver the required IT capabilities to support the Business in the
delivery of their Business Strategy.
This document defines the IT Strategy in the context of
• The mission and vision for IMS (“where we want to go”)
• The IMS Road to World Class (“how we intend getting there”)
• How HMRC is contributing to the delivery of the Transformational Government Agenda
(“how we intend delivering in the wider context”)
• The key architecture principles (“the guidance we will have”)
• The key alliances and products we will use (“the technologies we will use”)
The focus of the IT Strategy is to have an Enterprise Architecture underpinned by key architecture
principles which are described in this document.
This document is informed by the HMRC Business Strategy through the IMS Strategic Framework and
the HMRC IS Strategy, and informs the HMRC Enterprise Architecture. The relationship between these
key documents is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 - Key Document Relationships
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The HMRC Business Strategy is:
We will be alongside our customers, making it easy for them to participate and contribute to
the UK’s wellbeing.
We will be customer focused, treating our customers according to their needs and
behaviours to deliver our corporate objectives:
a) We will design our processes from the customer perspective so that interactions feel
tailored to their circumstances
b) We will simplify our interactions with customers
c) Our guidance will be clear and strive to offer customers certainty wherever possible
d) We will be accessible, embracing effective new ways for delivering quality services.
• We will tackle non-compliance while minimising the effect on the majority of our
customers who want to comply.
• We will work with others to deliver wider government outcomes, recognising
customers want service without barriers.
We will use our understanding of customers’ changing needs and behaviours continually to
inform, challenge and improve everything we do.”
To deliver on this Business Strategy, HMRC has laid out plans to transform itself over the next five
years, focusing on:
• Putting the citizen at the heart of the business - with more online functionality and sharing of data
between departments creating a more complete picture of our customers
• Closing the tax gap - making it easier for customers to comply with their tax obligations
• Modernising the Department – future proofing it by making it making it more efficient, robust and
These focus areas are reflected in the definition of 4 Departmental Strategic Objectives (DSOs). These
set the targets for the Department for the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR07)
period, and refine elements of the Business Strategy.
• DSO1 – Improve the extent to which individuals and business pay the amount of tax due and
receive the credits and payments to which they are entitled
• DSO2 – Improve the customers’ experiences of HMRC and the UK business environment
• DSO3 – Reduce the risk of illicit import and export of material that might harm the UK’s physical and
The IT Strategy is to create and use Enterprise Architecture as the framework to define and deliver the
IT capabilities required to support the business needs, underpinning the plans of work over the coming
years. As these plans gain more definition, Solutions Architecture will refine the current future (“to-be”)
Architecture view to reflect the actual changes that are planned and will produce annual views of the IT
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3 Mission and Strategic Themes
The IMS Mission is
“To drive massively more efficient and effective processes and systems for our customers”
In order to achieve this mission statement IMS will:
• Drive forward a services based enterprise architecture approach which helps us to increase the
agility of our IT systems
• Drive increasing value for money through the active pursuit of the reduction of total cost of
ownership of our IT assets (including reducing the cost of change)
• Identify and manage the adoption of innovative technologies whilst ensuring we control both
delivery and reputational risk
• Work through the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Council to implement the Transformational
Government Agenda, by looking for opportunities to create or consume cross-Government shared
services, and work more collaboratively across Government
These improvements will be implemented as part of wider IMS actions around four key themes for
• Drive a renewal program for our key Application Suites supporting our core business.
This replacement programme will enable an improved customer experience and improved business
Providing a consistent and shared way of providing customer interactions and services, which
service customer needs in near real-time, and provide an end-to-end electronic service for
Adopting standard industry processes and approaches for non-differentiated services,
primarily in the mid- and back-offices, through the aggressive adoption of certain key
Implementing contemporary technologies and service orientation techniques, in-line with our
key package vendor strategies, to improve the agility and integration capabilities of our IT
• Increase re-use of IT assets/services both inside our Department and across Government in
order to reduce our total cost of ownership and improve the speed of delivery.
This must be managed against a need to reduce inter-system dependencies which, unconstrained,
increase the complexity of change. We will therefore:
Drive to erode departmental boundaries, looking first to consume proven existing services and
components, and second, to create and consume shared services where there is no realistic
Seek to identify suitable approaches or components already implemented by other
Government Departments before buying or building new systems, or identify opportunities to
develop solutions which can meet specifically identified opportunities in other Government
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• Improve data quality, integrity and reuse so enabling efficiency improvements, improved
customer experience and compliance risk assessment.
This will be achieved by:
Identifying core Departmental information resources and ensuring there is a single point of
Reducing duplication and implementations of the core business rules and processes used to
maintain that data
Creation of and adherence to a corporate data architecture.
• Create a utility, virtualised infrastructure which increases the speed of delivery and reduces
cost by provisioning standardised platforms and reducing the amount of system specific
We will look to
Identify and adopt the most cost-effective hardware platforms, using advanced virtualisation
techniques to maximise the use made of that hardware investment
Look to provision system and supporting software in an application independent manner,
effectively allowing commodity provisioning and pay-per-use technqiues to be used for as
much of the enabling technology as possible
Allow flexible internal working practices and allow applications to be effectively used by non-
Departmental staff i.e. staff from Other Government Departments (OGDs)
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4 Road to World Class IT
HMRC has a programme of work to take IMS and our IT suppliers on a Road To World Class IT so that
together we can meet the increasing challenges of the demands placed upon us by our customers. The
programme addresses people, processes and technology through 3 themes:
Shaping New Behaviours
Getting the Fundamentals Right
Creating World Class IT Services
These themes do not of themselves determine the IT Strategy but they are fundamentally important to
our ability to deliver that strategy.
Within the Shaping New Behaviours theme, Solutions Architecture has specific responsibility for
delivery of the “Exploiting Innovative Technology” initiative. This is a framework and process describing
how Solutions Architecture will keep abreast of technology innovation and manage a funnel process to
assess the applicability and value that the technology may bring whilst balancing this against the risk
that we might incur by introducing it.
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5 Transformational Government Agenda
The Transformational Government Agenda is a strategy to transform the business of Government. It is
directed to provide technology leadership in 3 core areas:
1) The transformation of public services for the benefit of citizens, businesses, taxpayers and front-
2) The efficiency of the corporate services and infrastructure of government organisations, thus
freeing resources for the front-line
3) The steps necessary to achieve the effective delivery of technology for government
Simply stated, it is to deliver:
• Citizen and Business centred services
• Shared services
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6 Key Architecture Principles
There are a number of key guiding principles to help drive consistency in the way in which IMS
supports the delivery of the Business Strategy:
Area Principle Implication
1. Cost and 1.1 - Reuse before Buy HMRC should consider all cost effective solutions, including
flexibility before Build Open Source, to meet business requirements, operating a
reuse before buy before build strategy together with pressure to
Solutions already in existence inside HMRC or in other
Government Departments should be considered before electing
to buy or build new components. However resuse of bespoke
solutions should be carefully evaluated against potential off-
Reuse may be achieved by using multiple instances of the
same solution in a ‘niche’ way, or by scaling up a single
1.2 - Build once for Re-use of ‘fit for purpose’ solutions and designs, both HMRC,
Government Government-wide and Open Source. Where clearly identified
opportunities exist, solutions and designs should be made
reuseable across the Department or Government. However
solutions should not be designed to be unecessarily generic
where obvious requirements do not exist.
1.3 - Reduce Total Cost of We will adopt a total cost of ownership model (over five years)
Ownership (TCO) for solution design and delivery, balancing the cost of
development, support, business change, disaster recovery and
retirement, against flexibility, agility, scalability, ease of use and
reduction of complexity.
1.4 - Maximise Return on Deliver Solutions with maximum Return on Investment (ROI).
Investment For example, we should seek to maximise available
infrastructure capacity, target the most cost optimal platforms
and look to share infrastructure services between projects.
2. Delivery 2.1 - Pursue partnerships We cannot ‘do it all’. We will need to pursue partnerships with
Options in service provision citizens, voluntary sector, OGDs etc. We should encourage
entrepreneurial behaviour in our partner community.
2.2 - Delivery and Projects and Programmes must contribute to the realisation of
Strategic Plans must be our strategic objectives and our goals must be aligned as such
aligned to meet business at the outset.
3. Balancing 3.1 - Use Proven IS and Technical Infrastructure solutions must use
Reputation and Technologies commercially viable and stable technology products, stacks
Delivery Risk and patterns. They should comply with Departmental security,
with 4. confidentiality and privacy policies.
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Area Principle Implication
4. Innovation 4.1 - Solutions will be We will base our core solutions and systems upon a common
implemented using platform implemented with products listed in the technology
products listed in the policy. We will adopt a “fit for purpose” mantra, seeking to:
technology policy • Leverage partner competences, adopting solutions from our
strategic partners where-ever possible; and
• Use proven technology stacks, adopting combinations of
products that have been proven to work together, where
possible, previously in the account.
Essentially we will seek first to re-use the technologies that are
already inside HMRC and only look to new products or
solutions where those are found to be inadequate.
Indeed we will actively seek to reduce the technology diversity
across the estate. Where we have multiple products that
perform the same or similar function we should seek to identfy
the primary choice, normally that provided by a strategic
partner, and consolidate on that solution.
4.2 - Generate business New Technology
advantage through use of • We will early adopt only / use niche players only where the
innovative technology balance of risk is offset by the need to market differentiate.
• We will have managed adoption plans which minimise
exposure. We will require solutions to be deployed and live
in a limited context for at least 6 months.
• In support of the IMS Road to World Class IT (in particular
the initiative for Horizon Scanning and Disruptive
Technologies) we will have a process to identify, trial and
prove innovative technologies and solutions.
• We will work in tandem with our IT partners and the Aspire
EcoSystem to deliver innovation in a collaborative way.
5. Leveraging 5.1 - One version of the For core Departmental information assets a single version of
our information truth truth should be maintained with clear Business ownership.
assets We will seek to ensure that we only provide one point of
capture for information, that we verify and cleanse that data as
early as possible and that we then seek to maximise use of this
In order to ensure our data is timely we should also seek to
minimise latency and links between the source data and the
consuming services: i.e. all systems should seek to obtain their
data directly from the master source rather than from other
5.2 - Build trust through We recognise that customers’ trust will be driven by the way we
proficient management of handle their personal data. We must ensure that such data is
customer information correct and maintained securely.
6. Increased 6.1 - Build in Mobility We will ensure solutions are built to allow, where appropriate,
Efficiency and near real-time consumption by any appropriate device from any
Agility government department, in any location.
Applications should not predicate the location of users and
where possible should support access from mobile devices or
(secure) devices on approved networks outside of the
6.2 - Maximise Process We will automate processing wherever possible and minimise
Automation the need for clerical intervention, ensuring processing systems
are efficient and economical.
We will target automation for the majority of standard
transactions, but not seek to automate complex transactions.
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Area Principle Implication
6.3 - Near Real Time We must always seek to provide responses to customer
responsiveness to requests as rapidly as possible, and to maximise the accuracy
customer requests and validity of those responses. This means that for e-
transactions responses should be provided in near real time
and should have been fully processed.
Batch based connections between front-office services and
core business systems should be avoided where possible, as
this builds in time constraints to the flow of data.
6.4 - Service Orientation We should ensure that we use industry standards to provide
and Use of Industry open interfaces into and between our systems. This will allow
Standards elements to be replaced without major re-work, and customers
to interact with our systems through their preferred mechanism.
This applies both to the technology standards that define how
to interact and the business definitions that define the structure
and meaning of the information exchanged.
Where suitable industry standards do not exist we should seek
to facilitate their development rather than relying on internal
We should always seek to provide programmatic interfaces to
our systems to allow customers own systems to interact directly
7. Drive out 7.1 - Share Common We should seek to use common, shared implementations of
complexity Business Logic business logic rather than replicating it between different
systems or channels.
Whether a customer interacts with us by portal, telephone or
paper the rules that are applied should be consistent. Whether
a rule is applied during a customer interaction or during a
periodic automated process in the back-office the result should
be identical. This can only truly be achieved by building a single
instance of the logic and sharing it between functions.
Where this cannot be achieved because of security,
performance or other limitations we should seek to duplicate
the logic implementation rather that redeveloping it.
7.2 – Reduce net No change should increase the net complexity of the estate; if a
complexity -decommission new system is introduced any systems it succeeds should be
when replace decommissioned and the costs of this included in the business
case for the new system
8. Secure and 8.1 - Accessible for all HMRC is committed to being an exemplar in the provision of
Available users services that are accessible to the widest possible range of
people - both staff and customers; all our future IT systems and
software should be designed (and our existing systems
modified) so that wherever reasonably possible anyone with an
impairment that affects their use of IT is not disadvantaged,
excluded, or disabled by those systems.
8.2 - Secure (protect We will deploy access controls at system boundaries
confidentiality and appropriate to the level of identified risk
integrity) Systems will be designed to prevent the modification of data by
potential attackers and safeguard the accuracy and
completeness of its information;
We will only deploy products on the estate with a recognised
level of information security efficiency.
8.3 - Available when All systems will be designed to meet customer availabity
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7 Alliances and Products
We will look to simplify the Department’s complex IT estate that has evolved and grown by
acquisition/merger over time. We will significantly reduce the number of standard server variants (pre-
defined industry standard hardware and software components) using the smallest number of sensible
variants to support our business applications on a “fit-for-purpose” basis. We will achieve this by
leveraging a set of core technology partners in developing our solutions.
We will define a number of core technology stacks, based on our key vendors, and define each
technology element for each stack.
Our key server stacks are:
Key Server Stacks Current Key Products Future Direction
Enterprise Server HP-UX Superdome Server Undecided
Oracle Database Server HP-UX and Solaris Servers Commodity Suse Linux Server
Commodity Suse Linux Server,
HP-UX Server, WebMethods
Messaging Application Server WebMethods and BEA
and BEA AquaLogic
HP-UX and Solaris Servers, Commodity Suse Linux Server,
Java Application Server
WebLogic Server, JDK WebLogic Server, JDK
Web Server Windows IIS and Apache Windows IIS and Apache
In addition our Enterprise Architecture will be heaviliy influenced by a number of other key technologies,
• EMC/Documentum for non-structured Data storage and collaboration
• Business Objects for Operational Reporting and Management Information
We will leverage the Aspire Contract EcoSystem to bring appropriate innovation, technology and
experience from our partners to bear in delivery of new capabilities for HMRC.
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