Australian govt's IT hardware panel closer to establishment

The Department of Finance is one step closer to establishing an IT hardware panel to reduce the cost of procuring hardware supplied to government agencies.

The Australian Department of Finance has listed a request for tender seeking to establish an IT hardware and associated services panel to replace the existing whole-of-government desktop and associated services panel.

The IT hardware panel will be responsible for the provision of desktop and mobile PCs, virtual desktop devices, monitors, centralised services, installation services, servers, and server racks.

The panel is expected to be established for an initial period to June 30, 2018, with options for the Department of Finance to extend the panel for three further periods of up to 12 months each.

In a blog post this week, Australian government CTO John Sheridan said the aim of the panel is to reduce the cost of IT hardware and associated services that are supplied to agencies, as well as to simplify the procurement process so that it's equitable and transparent for vendors seeking to do business with the Australian government.

Last month, the Department of Finance called for industry input on the draft statement of requirement (PDF), which outlined the minimum expectations from the hardware to be supplied to the government. For instance, standard desktop computers are required to have an Intel Core i5 processor or better, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and at least 120GB in hard drive space.

Sheridan said that while the feedback was supportive, the department did not incorporate all suggestions into the final version of the statement of requirement (SOR). He said that agencies and panellists will have the opportunity to suggest updates during each best and final offer (BAFO) process in the future.

"Subject to Finance's approval, agencies will be able to request hardware that has specification which cannot be met by the SOR through a special 'request for quote' process," he said.

"Some suppliers have asked to be able to include value-added features to products in the SOR. The SOR has not been modified to allow this. However, suppliers will be able to offer such features during the BAFO process after they are admitted to the panel."

Sheridan added that the department is progressively adopting a standard head agreement and contract terms across its IT panels.

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