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ABS approaches market for five-year hardware panel

by Sam Murphy •
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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has issued a Request for Tender (RFT) to establish a new hardware panel to support its major Business Transformation Program 2017.

The RFT has been broken down into three separate categories for:

  • Layer two and three networking equipment, including campus and data centre switches;
  • Servers; and
  • Storage equipment.

While responses under each of the categories will be evaluated separately, tender documents note that “technological change is blurring the lines between the categories and weight will be given to solutions that can demonstrate synergies between two or more of the different technologies”.

Responses close on 20 November 2013.

The panel will cover the supply of network, server and storage equipment to the ABS for at least three years, with two 12-month extension options potentially taking the panel out to 2018.

Tender documents indicate significant demand for hardware over this period: “The ABS has a continual need to refresh its hardware assets, to respond to continually increasing demands for capacity and performance”.

A significant aspect of the agency’s increased hardware requirements is the major ABS Business Transformation Project (ABS 2017) that aims to redevelop the agency’s end-to-end processes and systems.

The ABS wants to transition from a provider of static statistical data to a “customer focussed service-delivery agency” that responds to customers’ needs for richer data. In doing this it will replace its statistical business processes and information management infrastructure.

A significant element of the ABS 2017 project is the development and implementation of a Metadata Registry and Repository by 2015 to facilitate the end-to-end management and re-use of metadata. It will provide a centralised, searchable catalogue for ABS user access to metadata.

The ABS also plans to develop and implement a Statistical Workflow Management (SWM) system by 2015. The system aims to automate and centralise business processes. In the long-term, the SWM system is expected to underline a move towards service-orientated architecture and the development of new high-level data collection processes.

Strong links between the systems will be developed to promote processes that are “highly configurable and driven by metadata”. Underlying these systems is the ABS’s aim of achieving high levels of business process automation.

It plans to begin implementing the two systems by December 2013.

The first stage of the ABS 2017 project began in March 2012, with an approach to market for the implementation of Acquire@ABS, which aims to improve the quality of data and the efficiency of business processes to help the ABS “meet whole of government requirements for electronic reporting”. The approach to market for Expressions of Interest centred on requirements for eCollection (eForms and automated data submission), new devices and an ABS portal for better data handling and quality.

Additional developments under the ABS 2017 project include an Enterprise Data Warehouse, due by 2015, to provide lifecycle management of statistical data. The ABS will also develop and implement a framework for managing and re-using metadata by 2015. The Business Transformation Project currently lists no items past 2015. It is likely that these will follow and build upon the systems being developed in the earlier stages of the Project.

Another major project on the horizon for the agency is the first predominantly digital national census which is to occur in 2016. The ABS has described the census as marking “the biggest changes in the approach to field operations since the inception of Census”. The project has received funding of $470 million over five years, including an IT spend of around $70 million.

Hardware requirements for this project will also be sourced from the ABS panel, with RFT documents stating the need for “24/7 high availability infrastructure” to support the digitisation of the public census.  

ABS’s Chief Information Officer Patrick Hadley told Intermedium that “mid-2015 is really when we will have to have developed all the solutions [for the census] and start the process of thoroughly testing those under load”.

View the ABS profile on GovFacts >>>

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  • Federal
  • Hardware
  • Treasury
  • ABS Business Transformation Program
  • ABS Digital Census 2016
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Patrick Hadley