WA Education to consolidate IT service providers

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WA Education to consolidate IT service providers

Looks to enter decade-long outsourcing arrangement.

Western Australia’s Department of Education will move to consolidate IT service providers to better serve its current and future needs as part of a shake-up of its outsourcing arrangements.

The state’s largest government agency has approached the market for ideally a single provider to supply its "consolidated ICT services" needs for up to the next 11 years.

The single prime contractor will take charge of the department’s “existing ICT services currently outsourced”, which have been separated into nine distinct service bundles.

Bundles include operations, ICT customer service centre, security and threat protection, network design and management, technical design and management and project services.

There are also three bundles that will focus specifically on Oracle, Java, Microsoft - the department’s key IT platforms - and other application development, support and maintenance. 

The bundles, which the department has indicate can be framed out to subcontractors, will serve the department’s three key user groups, which first and foremost includes students and teachers.

Around 40,000 staff are currently employed to support the approximately 310,000 students spread across 810 public schools in metropolitan and regional areas.

The other two groups are corporate and business users, which account for some of the 40,000 staff employed within the department, and general IT users.

The department said the “consolidated approach will provide an appropriate, modern and flexible contract framework to meet current and future needs”, as outlined in its IT strategy. 

It expects that having a “consolidated, uniform and high quality ICT management” will allow for “the removal of conflicting and overlapping responsibilities”.

Request for tender documents indicate that the department will increasingly focus on delivering the “foundation technologies and ICT services that deliver” autonomy to all schools.

This will see improved digital capabilities, including for remote learning through virtual classrooms, and better mobility, automation and self-service at schools rolled out.

Students currently have access to 100-plus applications that support online learning, while staff have access to a range of other applications for teaching, payroll and HR.

The department is also increasingly looking at as-a-service solutions like public cloud - which it recently approached the market for separately - and adopting agile development practices. 

It said that new technologies would be consumed as-a-service where enterprise investments such as Microsoft, Oracle and Financials, Fortinet and Service Now were unable to be used.

A virtual industry briefing for the tender will be held on July 15, with submissions to close on September 8.

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