IBM wants to make Australia a top 3 global digital government

Through a billion-dollar deal that will give it access to Big Blue's artificial intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity, and R&D capabilities.

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IBM Australia and New Zealand managing director David La Rose at IBM Think in Sydney 

Image: Supplied

The Australian government has the potential to be one of the top three digital governments in the world, according to IBM Australia and New Zealand managing director David La Rose.

That top three status, however, is through a partnership with Big Blue.

"One thing that is constant in our lives, both professional and personal, is change," he said, delivering the keynote address at IBM Think in Sydney on Wednesday.

"IBM is also changing, and hopefully that's starting to resonate with the way we're showing up. We're resetting relationships, expanding long-standing relationships to ensure that we can help you be the partner of choice and the trusted partner as you go through those challenges in your particular industry."

A good example of this, La Rose believes, is the billion-dollar deal it inked with the federal government last year.

In July, the local arm of IBM was handed a AU$1 billion contract from the Australian government to be its whole-of-government technology partner, which meant all 17 departments -- even those not incumbent to IBM -- will be using Big Blue systems for the following five years.

SEE ALSO: Department of Human Services is building a new private cloud

"I think [this] really demonstrates the way we showed up differently, taking a relationship that has been going on for decades, but principally with four agencies, and expanding that to the full federal government ... to really advance their digital footprint and to take Australia into one of the top three digital governments in the world," he said.

"Giving them access to technologies like AI, blockchain, giving them access to our research and development lab in Melbourne, giving them access to our cybersecurity lab up on the Gold Coast."

But it isn't just government; La Rose said IBM is also providing impact within the private sector.

"We've also had examples of showing up differently in the private sector, resetting relationships, most recently with clients like CBA and ANZ bank," he said.

SEE ALSO: Westpac turns to IBM for hybrid cloud

Speaking with ZDNet following the announcement of the billion-dollar federal government contract, global VP and CTO of IBM's Cloud Platform Jason McGee said the new contract provided an opportunity to take past learnings and put them into practice in the future.

"IBM has been a partner with the Australian government and many customers because we have a long history together. Because we learn from projects that we do together, we are able to take those experiences and take our technologies and move forward with clients," he said.

"I think we will just focus on what we're trying to accomplish next and we have a long history of being a trustworthy partner and really bringing technologies to help them serve the customer."

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