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AGIMO discusses next steps for whole-of-government ICT procurement

by David Shi •
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Industry representatives have been asked to put their data centre and cloud-based wares on the table, as the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) takes preliminary steps towards the establishment of a Data Centre as a Service (DCaaS) panel.

During an industry briefing, held in Canberra on 11 November 2011, AGIMO invited members of the ICT industry to participate in a series of presentations to be given to senior Government IT officials, in order to show what they can offer as potential suppliers to the upcoming DCaaS panel.  

Attended by representatives from 63 organisations including IBM, Telstra, Fujitsu and Microsoft, the industry briefing sought to inform industry attendees about the upcoming requirements for the DCaaS project.

Kayelle Wiltshire, the Assistant Secretary of the Central Facilities Branch at the Department of Finance and Deregulation, confirmed at the briefing that AGIMO will be establishing a panel following the eventual release of a Request for Tender for the DCaaS.   

“Please expect a panel and expect the per unit price to be set,” said Wiltshire, answering a question from an industry representative.

She also said that each industry presentation must answer a set of mandatory questions, as follows:

  • What DCaaS solutions would you offer? What are their benefits and risks to government and industry?
  • What would be the minimum contract term?
  • On what basis would you charge for the services?
  • What issues are there in transitioning in and out?
  • How will support issues be managed to resolution? 
  • How will the solutions interface with agency ICT change management processes?
  • Would your services change depending on the data classification? If so, how?
  • What lessons, risks, issues can you share from similar projects?
  • How would you provision for an agency that only requires a solution for 120 days? (for cloud services only)

The subsequent supplier evaluation process may take some time, depending on the number of organisations willing to participate in the presentation series, she added.

“The more people who apply for the tender, the longer it will take to evaluate,” said Wiltshire. “If you have 20 responses, you know that will take about 3-4 months depending on how technical the evaluation is.  If you have 50+, or it is more complex, it will take longer. The large number of attendees here today is an indication of the high levels of interest I expect in any market approach.”

“We are looking to use the Commonwealth as one purchaser with the same pricing for larger or smaller agencies,” she said.

AGIMO hopes to achieve ICT efficiency through the establishment of flexible and adaptable platforms, and the implementation of technologies that shift the focus away from specific and unique systems towards the creation of a more consolidated, standardised and shared ICT environment.  

With over 50 per cent of agencies spending less than $2 million per annum on ICT, one of the primary objectives of the DCaaS project is to ensure the efficient management of ICT in shared data centre facilities, avoiding the need for these agencies to hire out costly data centre space on an individual basis.  

In alignment with the Australian Government Data Centre Strategy 2010-2025, the DCaaS aims not only to boost performance and efficiency of data centre assets, but also to reduce energy and operational costs of government data centre sites through consolidation and the adoption of newer, more efficient technologies.

Whilst the Data Centre Strategy focuses on wider, whole-of-government savings, DCaaS is more focused on providing ICT data storage solutions and generating savings for smaller agencies, such as the Federal Court of Australia, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

The creation of the Data Centre Strategy was prompted by the recommendations of the Review of the Australian Government's Use of Information and Communication Technology. Conducted by Sir Peter Gershon, the review estimated a savings figure of$1 billion that could be achieved through the adoption of a whole-of-government data centre strategy.

The industry presentations will take place between 30 November and 16 December 2011. In order to secure a presentation timeslot, interested parties are advised to register for the event through the Austender website. Registrations will close on 2 pm 22 November 2011, with no allowable late entries. Further details about the upcoming industry presentation can be found on the AGIMO blog.

Recent progress was also made on another core feature of the Data Centre Strategy 2010-2025, with Dell becoming the 14th supplier of the whole-of-government Data Centre Facilities Panel.

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