South Australia's Department of Education
and Children's Services (DECS) has signalled its intention to use
Microsoft software extensively for at least the next three and a
The department today asked resellers for prices and proposals
to supply a wide range of Microsoft software and associated
services over the three years from March 2007.
"DECS proposes to enter into a three year Microsoft Campus and
School Agreement with Microsoft," the department said in tender
documents released this morning, noting an existing agreement
with its current reseller would end in February next year.
The department requires "a Microsoft Large Account Reseller
(LAR) to manage the supply of Microsoft software and deliver
value-added services, thus providing an efficient and effective
administration of the proposed agreement".
In addition, DECS expects Microsoft through the selected
reseller to allow schools, preschools and corporate offices to be
able to access the vendor's software at academic-style discounted
DECS, like other education departments around Australia is one
of the nation's largest users of IT. The department's IT
operations are headed up by chief information officer Kay
DECS currently has around 42,000 primarily Windows-based
desktop PCs and laptops, with a "minor proportion" being Apple
Macintoshes. The number of desktops is not expected to grow
significantly in the next few years.
The new agreement will see the department gain access to an
equivalent number of licences for key desktop and server
software, with use cases including employee home access.
For example, DECS requires client access licences for popular
Microsoft server products such as Windows Server 2003, SQL Server
2005 and Exchange 2003, with the option to purchase additional
server licences and other less well-known products like BizTalk
Server and Visual Studio. Desktop licences required include Office 2003 Professional and Office 2004 Professional for Macintosh.
The move comes as both open source and Apple advocates have recently criticised the nation's education departments for what they see as a restrictive process locking out Microsoft's rivals from the purchasing process.
For example, Australian Mac User Group president Greg Sharp
several weeks ago publicly attacked education departments on his group's Web site for what he saw as a changed focus to Microsoft platforms associated with cost-cutting exercises.
But at least one local technology magazine has recently reported that DECS also uses a wide range of non-Microsoft software, including technology from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Novell, Sun Microsystems, Oracle and Cognos.