The Victorian government has released the first of a number of approaches to market that will see it consolidate and outsource state-wide network services as part of its long-touted VicConnect reform program.
Stage one of VicConnect will see it appoint a single "VicConnect manager" to design and establish a new government network, taking over a range of functions previously managed by either IT services agency CenITex or individual Victorian agencies.
The Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI) directly approached suppliers on the whole-of-government eServices Register to indicate their interest in the deal.
The state will also look to secure telecommunications services from range of suppliers to meet whole-of-government needs. The VicConnect program aims to replace the ten year-old Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy (TPAMS) deals, worth hundreds of millions of dollars split between Optus, Telstra and NEC.
Victorian chief technology advocate Grantly Mailes told iTnews TPAMS was "a ten year-old procurement framework whose time has come" and which "no longer suits the needs of the Victorian government".
Once the new network is up and running under the oversight of the new manager, the Victorian government wants to see third party suppliers, particularly those offering cloud based services, connect directly into the network.
"ICT services will be offered through VicConnect on a ‘contestability’ basis, that is, there will be sufficient competition among suppliers to ensure that government is able to maintain competitive pressure on its suppliers, driving down costs and spurring innovation and service excellence," according to tender documents.
The successful bidder will be expected to complete early stage scoping and design functions within the first three months of the contract, and to have a core network rolled out within eight months. Once the first nine months has passed, DSDBI wants to see the first cloud services enabled by the new high-bandwidth network.
Security monitoring and perimeter network management will become the ongoing responsibility of the vendor.
VicConnect was first touted by technology minister Gordon Rich-Philllips back in March 2013, upon the kick-off of a market consultation with hand-picked vendors.
Industry passed the message to government that the services available today greatly exceed those available when TPAMS was first established, and have moved up the value chain from "bits and bytes" to on demand business solutions.
It is understood the progress to a tender has been delayed by the process of transforming and outsourcing the operations of state IT service provider CenITex.