The Ministry of Defence has launched a competition to build an 'evolutionary' new open source analytics platform to help it better understand its data, as CIO Mike Stone announced the MoD needs to drop its cautious approach and embrace open source.

The department is seeking prototype solutions to help analyse its structured and unstructured data.

The platform will help the MoD to understand its internal information, documents, processes and interactions, allowing it to streamline processes, collaborate and share knowledge more easily.

The department has £250,000 available for the first phase of the competition, with up to £2 million allocated for phase two, which will be awarded to the most successful phase one projects. The project is being run by the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) on behalf of the MOD's information systems and services wing, led by CIO Mike Stone.

"Traditionally the MoD has been cautious of adopting emerging and unproved technologies. However, we need to adopt these freely available capabilities and services now," said Stone announcing the intiative.

"I hope this CDE competition will encourage industry, and particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are delivering analytics and digital enablers, to help us develop a capability that will become an important part of defence transformation," he added.

Stone joined the MoD a year ago with a promise to "dramatically improve" the department's IT by adopting more user-friendly technologies and exploiting cloud and mobile.

Last week the department announced it has started to move its 420,000-strong workforce to Microsoft Office 365.

The IT team are working to improve 30 different issues identified by Stone, including better access to the internet and social media, quicker logon times, better file sharing, browser choice, reducing device size and weight and more regular password resets.

Companies interested in competing are invited to attend a briefing event at techUK in London on June 24 and have until August 13 to submit their proposals online.