The government of Western Australia has signed a deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that is touted to be a driver of innovation across the public sector.
The common use arrangement (CUA), executed by the WA Office of Digital Government, will allow all state and local government authorities, as well as other approved entities such as universities, to utilise the "robust contractual agreement" to access AWS services and features.
The cloud giant signed a whole-of-government deal with the Commonwealth of Australia in June 2019. The WA AWS CUA leverages this arrangement.
"CUAs harness government's buying power to achieve greater savings and reduce duplication and administrative costs for agencies," a statement from the Office of Digital Government said. "They use well-established terms and conditions to mitigate financial, legal, and reputational risk, and realise significant savings across state government.
"They also support providing greater transparency of total state government expenditure on goods and services, including cloud services."
The state's Digital WA ICT Strategy, which was launched in 2016, commits to adopting cloud-based services where they are fit for purpose and deliver value for money. The strategy was aiming to have 70% of transactions with government online by 2020.
"Digital WA will transform the way services are delivered by the public sector, improving service delivery to all West Australians," former innovation minister Bill Marmion said in 2017.
Under Digital WA, the state government expects to simplify its technology platforms, systems, and standards; connect agencies and the community through digital services and system integration; and inform decision-makers, frontline staff, and the public with data and analysis on government initiatives.
Back in 2015, the WA government announced a AU$3 billion, 10-year initiative, known as GovNext-ICT, to outsource the state's IT infrastructure.
Under the grand plans, the WA government envisioned shifting the model for IT infrastructure to being purely consumption-based.
At the time, it was predicted the move would save the state AU$60-80 million in IT infrastructure expenditure annually.
"Consumption-based services have the potential to replace costly, redundant, low-scale in-house computing infrastructure and provide more rapid, agile, scalable, and cost-effective ICT services," the WA government said of the AWS deal on Wednesday. "By utilising cloud services agencies will be positioned to deliver higher quality and value for money digital services to the public".
Speaking with ZDNet in October, Max Peterson, a VP with AWS's worldwide public sector business, said government-wide procurement contracts enable government to move faster.
"In days past, a ministry or a department that wanted to do something innovative not only had to deal with all of the ideas around budget and technology and skills, but they had to deal with this repetitive thing called procurement," Peterson said. "The [whole-of-government arrangement] and the DTA have helped streamline all of that, speed it up, and at the same time, through the collective nature of that, they've helped increase the affordability of services because it's a single vehicle."
The WA government awarded Microsoft a contract to provide all of the state's agencies with access to its cloud services in September. As part of the contract, WA's state agencies will gain rights to use Azure, Teams, Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Windows Virtual Desktop.
In addition, Microsoft signed a memorandum of understanding with the state's Office of Digital Government to both deliver cybersecurity capabilities for the public sector and collaborate on initiatives to identify and eliminate cybercrime.
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