The Department of Defence's peak technology strategy arm has started running the ruler over its cohort of technology suppliers as it considers establishing a new procurement panel for applications and systems integration services.
"The Chief Information Office Group (CIOG) is currently reviewing its strategy for sourcing ICT applications and systems integration services, including the potential to establish a panel for these services, which would create deeper relationships with industry to rapidly support upcoming demand," a statement posted on the Federal Government's tendering system said today.
Defence has invited Australia's technology sector to respond to a discussion paper it has produced on the subject, and has directly contacted a number of its contractors on the matter.
"The information obtained from this market research will assist CIOG in defining its requirements and determining its approach for sourcing ICT applications and systems integration services," Defence wrote.
Like other large government departments such as the Australian Taxation Office, Defence more or less constantly has some large purchasing or technology refresh project underway.
For example, on the software front, Defence revealed in May that it had given existing partner Red Rock the go ahead to upgrade its ailing human resources platform PMKeyS, in a project that will also involve the integration of another HR system, the Central Reserve Pay System.
On the desktop front, Defence in April kicked off a long-awaited mammoth project to overhaul the way it provides desktop services to around 115,000 users, issuing a landmark request for tender document on the matter to suppliers.
In July, Defence's browser was on the radar, with the department confirming plans to upgrade its 90,000 desktop PCs from version 6 to version 7 of Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser.
And this is all while other purchasing initiatives have been underway. For example, in May, Defence confirmed that it had awarded a core IT services contract to Fujitsu — the existing supplier, courtesy of its acquisition of former Telstra subsidiary Kaz.
Finally, in July, Defence revealed it had inked a new 10-year lease agreement with datacentre specialist Global Switch.
It's not clear which of those initiatives, and others, are included in the review that Defence's CIO Group under chief information officer Greg Farr has kicked off. However, one thing is clear: Defence is not showing all of its cards just yet.
"CIO Group is not under any obligation to consider, use or incorporate any feedback, comments or information provided through this market research," the department wrote on the procurement site. "This market research should not be considered as an invitation to register interest or a request for tender."