Smaller government agencies could see their financial and administrative burden reduced by changes being pushed forward by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) and the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
The agency has released a discussion paper outlining ways in which Data Centres as a Service (DCaaS) can be offered to agencies with an ICT spend under $2 million per annum, and on 14 February new and improved contract and RFT templates were made available, streamlining the process of procuring low-risk goods and services worth less than $80,000.
Intermedium’s data shows that of the 116 Federal agencies procuring through Austender, 57 spent less than an average of $2 million on ICT per annum over the past three years.
These agencies, with smaller budgets and lower average spends per approach to market incur a greater administrative burden per ICT contract than their larger counterparts.
The new Basic Contract Documentation Suite aims to address this issue providing simple templates for contracts and RFTs that can be filled in by agencies entering into procurements worth less than $80,000 which have been assessed as low-risk.
The templates, developed within the Department of Finance and available from Austender, include standard legal declarations and conditions and step-by-step instructions on how to customise the document with details specific to the procurement.
Agencies procuring ICT are advised that they should use the Source IT contract templates in the first instance, if there is one available for their category of procurement. Source IT templates are available for simple supply arrangements where no significant development is required, including licensing and support for commercial off the shelf software, hardware acquisition and support and IT consultancy. If their approach to market does not fall into one of these categories, agencies will have the option of using the new template.
AGIMO is also looking to lower the financial burden on smaller agencies by offering shared services arrangements for the supply if ICT infrastructure on a usage-based cost of service provision.
A Data Centre as a Service proposal has been opened to discussion via the AGIMO blog, and suggests five types of data centre services that could become available to agencies that are too small to establish their own data centre facilities, including:
- Basic hosting;
- Hosting and data recovery;
- Fully outsourced services using the supplier’s facilities;
- Full managed services using agency-owned equipment; or
- Scalable ICT delivery, or cloud, within a private or community model.
The proposal has been designed to minimise the challenges that smaller agencies will face with the implementation of the Australian Data Centre Strategy underway.
These provisions follow a series of whole-of-government coordinated ICT procurement arrangements which have been established by AGIMO to leverage the government’s buying power to ensure that price benefits are enjoyed across agencies, not only by those procuring in large volumes.
AGIMO is still considering its options and industry feedback on the most recently proposed of the panels, the Whole of Government ICT Services Panel (WISP), and procurement plans indicate that Finance will approach the market to establish membership of the panel in Quarter 4 2010-11.
The structure and mechanisms of the ICT panel arrangements, especially the quarterly BAFO-round bidding mechanisms, are designed to drive down ICT prices across the Federal Government market.
John Grant, First Assistant Secretary, Procurement Division of the Department of Finance and Deregulation will be the Keynote Speaker at Intermedium's Federal breakfast briefing on 'The Fast Changing ICT Procurement Landscape' on Wednesday 6 April 2011 at The Boat House by the Lake in Canberra.