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ATO end-user tender finally goes to the market

by Staff Writers •
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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is at last finalizing the process to meet its future End-User Computing requirements. Last week, the ATO put an end to speculation the procurement was on hold, with the release of a tender for end-user computing service bundle (ATO statement, 25 March).

Earlier in the year, vendors were concerned by rumours suggesting a procurement delay but representatives of the ATO moved in February to quash rumours that the exercise had been put on ‘indefinite hold.’

In early August 2008, the ATO announced a shortlist of five companies to contest the contract expected to be worth up to $60 million per year, with a couple of surprises.  Following expressions of interest from 10 suppliers, the ATO shortlisted CSC, EDS, KAZ, Unisys and Lockheed Martin. 

The short-listed companies participated in a series of workshops designed to enable the ATO to finalise its requirements and the bundle scope.  Originally, the ATO expected to short-list two potential prime contractors after the trial process, with whom negotiations would be held.  It now appears all the short-listed companies are still in the race.

Released in April 2008, the EOI for end-user computing covers 33,000 workstations and laptops, around 1,800 printers (MFDs are excluded at this stage) and 370 infrastructure servers, with the contract potentially to last for 10 years.  

During an industry briefing, the ATO reported its end-user computing requirements were worth approximately $40m per year.  It is expected to grow to $60m per year during the life of the contract which is initially for 4-5 years, but extensions may continue for up to 10 years.

This is the part of the ATO’s technology refresh program that commenced in October 2007, ending its single-supplier arrangement with EDS (worth over $1b) that had been in place since 1999.  The ATO identified three ICT infrastructure bundles for market testing.

The first went to the market with a tender (EOI) for Managed Network Services released in January 2008, followed by the End-User Computing EOI in April and for Centralised Computing Services in June 2008.

No announcement has been made on any of the three tranches of the ICT supply arrangement.  In the meantime, the current outsource supplier, EDS, will continue to provide whole-of-agency ICT services to the ATO until 2010.

Industry is closely following the ATO’s end-user arrangement.  It is expected that the ATO may be one of the first agencies to implement some of the Government’s new approach on ICT procurement, including standardisation and consolidation of EUC procurement.

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