South Australia will consider whole-of-government buying schemes for desktop-as-a-service and unified communications as it begins a $100 million re-think of the state’s central technology procurement.
Last July premier Jay Weatherill opened the gates to all IT vendors interested in selling to the state, inviting them to pitch their wares to the Department of Premier and Cabinet under what he called the ‘innovative ICT EOI’ [expression of interest].
The rationale behind the tender free-for-all was to come up with new ways of approaching some $100 million worth of public sector IT spending conducted on an uncoordinated, agency-by-agency basis.
The government estimates it currently spends a total of $650 million on IT in a year, $260 million of which is already channelled through a number of centrally mandated contracts and panels.
However, the government will now wade through a total of 187 EOI responses from 103 different businesses suggesting alternative approaches to IT buying.
The tender evaluation team has split the process into a number of rounds, beginning with proposed whole-of-government desktop-as-a-service and unified comms deals.
“We’ll be pursuing those proposals in more detail with the providers who were shortlisted as a result of the EOI,” DPC executive director Ruth Ambler told iTnews.
Once that is done, Ambler said, the next phase of the evaluation would consider potential whole-of-government approaches to cyber security and cloud storage, before moving on to business intelligence/analytics, printing-as-a-service, and ERP systems such as human resources and payroll.
“The digital transformation program will significantly change the way we do business – delivering savings across government while modernising our equipment and our processes, so that we can provide better services to the people of South Australia,” she said.
Early stage talks will inform whether the government decides to go with selective or open market tenders for each of the bundles of work.
Existing South Australian procurement schemes have already proven very lucrative to the vendors that manage to secure a place on the centrally mandated lists.
For example, six telco providers last year won the right to share in a $525 million contract to deliver voice, data and mobile services to SA agencies.
Later in 2015, Dimension Data secured a $32 million deal for whole-of-government email services.