​Australian government spent AU$364m on Microsoft licensing in 2013-16

Microsoft licence spend has been revealed as the Commonwealth seeks providers for a Microsoft licensing panel refresh.

The federal government has published a request for tender (RFT), seeking Microsoft Licensing Solutions Providers, after revealing governments in the country spent over AU$364 million from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016 on Microsoft licences and software assurance.

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), on behalf of Australian governments, is seeking one or more Microsoft resellers to appoint to the Whole of Australian Government (WoAG) Software Licensing and Services Panel for round three of its agreement with Microsoft.

The Microsoft Volume Sourcing Agreement (VSA3) began July 1, 2016 and will wrap up June 30, 2019. Just over a year in, the DTA flagged a need for the services of one or more vendors to provide services to entities participating in the VSA3 arrangement.

"DTA also wishes to facilitate other entities, who have negotiated their own arrangements with Microsoft, being able to use the panel to procure deliverables under those arrangements, and associated services," the RFT reads.

The DTA said it hopes to appoint one vendor to transact the Australian government's Microsoft core desktop licences, but is open to more than one successful vendor to provide non-core desktop licence functions.

The operation of the panel will be reviewed annually by the DTA and may be refreshed or reopened to add additional or different panellists, categories, or deliverables, the RFT notes.

The call for providers follows Microsoft announcing last week it had set up two new Australian datacentre regions at Canberra Data Centres in the nation's capital, eying-off the federal government's AU$6-9 billion annual IT spend.

The new offering from Microsoft allows the tech giant to skirt the legislative roadblocks that previously prevented it from providing protected-level services to Australia's governments.

CDC built its facilities in advance as top secret, which allows Microsoft to offer services from within CDC, inheriting the characteristics already in place and thus complying with Australian government requirements.

The federal government operates a handful of panel agreements, including for datacentre facilities, IT hardware, telecommunications and telecommunications management, and cloud.

The panel agreements form part of a whole-of-government digital strategy created after it was revealed the government was spending over AU$5 billion per year on IT.

To date, the cloud services panel has signed up around 100 preferred vendors, with Microsoft, Datacom, IBM, and Macquarie Telecom among the first to get on board.

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