14 March 2017

Taskforce launched to shake-up IT procurement

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The Turnbull government is looking to shake-up public sector tech procurement with a push to get smaller players involved in bidding for government ICT contracts. The procurement space has traditionally been dominated by a handful of major global IT heavyweights but it’s a paradigm that the federal government is aiming to change with the launch of an ICT Procurement Taskforce.
Assistant minister for digital transformation Angus Taylor said that the opportunity to widen the scope of how government agencies procure new technology solutions is too good to ignore.
“We’ve got to let the outside in; government needs to be porous. We need to open up our ICT contracts to smaller players to solve Government problems,” Mr Taylor said. “To capitalise on digital solutions in the private sector, we need to remove barriers for start-ups and SMEs who want to pitch their ideas and win Government ICT work.”
Assistant Minister Taylor said a future procurement platform should be able ‘to ingest and provide technology’. “In this framework you would be able to build on Government platforms to provide services and solutions. These solutions may be based entirely or partially on high quality Government data,” he said.
The taskforce is the latest initiative emanating from Mr Taylor’s office, having recently reshaped the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) into the Digital Transformation Agency to drive the government’s digital agenda. 
The new agency is responsible for co-ordinating and integrating digital delivery across government. It will also look to provide greater transparency on the return on investment from government-led ICT and digital projects.
Technology adviser and CEO of Huxxer Corporation, Antony Harrowell, said the biggest hurdle facing smaller tech outfits is getting on the panel in the first place.“The existing framework is so onerous that most start-ups just can’t compete with a more established player, especially at a federal level.”
There’s no reason that a local provider can’t provide the desired solution but they are simply not going to get a look in,” he added. Part of the problem, according to Me Harrowell, is that agencies are often unwilling to get out of their “comfort zone.” “The tender-based model and the way they are assessed immediately locks out companies that may have good ideas but don’t always fit the bill as far as keywords are concerned.”

The taskforce is expected to report back to the government in early 2017. Submissions can be made at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

Written by: Nicolas Verbeeck
Nicolas was born in Belgium and became an expert in consuming excellent beers, chocolate and waffles. During the winter period you can find him on a hockey pitch and in summer he loves to go for a swim or a surf. In 2013 Nicolas was wondering what the beers, chocolate and waffles would taste like in Australia and never came back. One reason… the weather. Nicolas obtained a masters in International Politics and tries to use this background to produce excellent conferences at Akolade.

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