​Whole-of-government software and services panel now open

The Digital Transformation Agency is on the hunt for providers of off-the-shelf software and services.

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has published a request for tender seeking vendors for its latest Whole of Australian Government (WoAG) panel arrangement.

As the second part of its Software Licensing and Services Panel, the DTA, on behalf of the Australian government, is calling for providers of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software and services. It is expecting to appoint "one or more" vendors to the "non-exclusive" arrangement.

The Software Licensing and Services Panel was established earlier this year, with the first category being for a Microsoft Licensing Solutions Provider, which was handed solely to Data#3 in March.

The DTA went to market to find one or more Microsoft resellers to appoint to the WoAG Software Licensing and Services Panel for round three of its agreement with Microsoft.

Software and services offered to government under the second category are expected to include the likes of financial and accounting; productivity, business intelligence, and performance improvement; digital workplace, big data, analytics, data quality, artificial intelligence, virtual assistants, and process automation; development tools; project management; database management; cybersecurity; and data protection, disaster recovery, and business continuity.

The DTA said on Wednesday that while there are currently only two categories under the Software Licensing and Services Panel, it may in future approach the market in relation to additional categories.

The operation of the panel will be reviewed annually by the DTA, and may be refreshed or reopened to add more or different panellists, categories, or deliverables, it explained in the tender documentation.

The DTA is attempting to spread the AU$6.5 billion spent annually on IT by the Australian government across the smaller players by refreshing the way the government procures IT-related services.

Starting with the archaic panel process, the DTA in June published the Digital Sourcing Framework and proposed eight principles to underpin all digital and IT government panels.

The Digital Sourcing Framework, developed by a team comprised of representatives from seven different government departments, followed consultation that the DTA began in April, which placed a focus on opening procurement up to smaller firms.

Former Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation cum Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor -- who offered his resignation on Tuesday in the wake of Australia's leadership spill -- revealed in November that since August 2016, SMEs have been awarded 75 percent of AU$50 million in technology contracts published on the Digital Marketplace.

However, during a Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit hearing in February, it was revealed that consultancy giants EY and PwC were classed as SMEs by the Australian government as a result of multiple subsidiaries or a number of ABNs registered to the parent company.

The definition of an SME is 200 employees or less, the joint committee was told.

Taylor, who considers Australia's approach to cybersecurity "world leading", and who last year called the Australian government a "big bureaucratic beast", believes that in order for the government to make good on its promise to undergo a digital transformation, it needs to change the way it procures products and services.

Submissions for category two of the panel close September 20, 2018.

PREVIOUS AND RELATED COVERAGE

New SME-favouring IT procurement rules up for discussion

The Australian government is moving to make the way IT contracts are awarded less archaic, seeking feedback on its draft IT procurement framework.

Government IT procurement still favouring the big end of tech town

The Department of Human Services this week handed out AU$54.9 million to Dell EMC, IBM, and Oracle.

IBM scores AU$1b for whole-of-government IT

Big Blue given more money by the Australian government to deliver further technology solutions across all of its agencies.

The 14 government IT projects on the DTA's 'engage' list worth over AU$10m

The Bureau of Meteorology, Human Services, Education, Finance, Defence, Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Bureau of Statistics, Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Court all have high-cost IT projects being watched closely by the Digital Transformation Agency.