Virtually every large technology goods and services provider in Australia has thrown their hat in the ring as the Northern Territory Government prepares to overhaul its ICT contracts in an $80 million whole of government purchasing initiative.
The list of companies that have downloaded the tender documents (posted online in the territory's tendering system) reads like a who's who of Australia's technology industry. IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, Oracle, Dell, Cisco, Avaya, Telstra and Optus are just some of the names on the list. Even Apple has expressed interest.
The massive tendering initiative has come about because the territory's current ICT contracts — worth approximately $80 million per annum — are due to expire in 2010. In August 2008, NT minister for business and employment, Kon Vatskalis, had flagged the government's intention to go to market to refresh the deals.
The Northern Territory is looking for suppliers in virtually every area, with contracts up for grabs ranging from the supply of telecommunications and IT infrastructure outsourcing services (including desktop and server support, for example), to the supply of hardware such as printers, network equipment and more.
Each package of work will have a separate contract, with the territory expecting to award contracts in January 2010, and services to cut over to the new suppliers in June.
The tender documents did not say which companies currently provided the services; however, Telstra, Fujitsu and Darwin-based firm CSG are all known to have large contracts with the Territorial Government.
Broadly, the territory is seeking to fulfil a number of goals through the purchasing initiative, ranging from providing a single centralised email, instant messaging and portals infrastructure, to taking advantage of the potential of green IT.
It also seeks to enable its workforce for mobile working, enhance its security, optimise the use of its ICT assets, improve its disaster recovery capacity, and boost the speed of its telecommunications links.
The contracts may also be utilised beyond the territorial government. CouncilBiz, a subsidiary body corporate of eight local councils in NT is currently receiving services under the existing territorial contracts for telecommunications, desktop and help desk services, and is currently reviewing its options for future ICT services.