One of the ICT recommendations of the National Commission of Audit (at Chapter 10.7) was that “a ‘cloud first’ policy, particularly for low risk, generic ICT services should be clearly articulated and enforced by the Government. Over three to five years, this could progressively reduce ICT costs as cloud computing becomes the default option”.
Furthermore, it went on to say that “In order to make it easier for departments to source cloud services with confidence, the Commission proposes the Department of Finance establish a whole of government cloud computing provider panel to confirm the viability, capability and costs of large-scale cloud computing providers. Agencies could then obtain quotes for such services as the need arises.”
The NCOA recommendation suggests a Multi-Use List arrangement for the Cloud panel. “Competition should be maintained in the market for cloud providers by adding new vendors and services as they become viable. This would also allow government to establish standards for such services. The range of offerings in such a panel would allow agencies to procure public or private cloud computing services, with appropriate levels of security”.
It would appear that Finance has lost no time in acting on this recommendation in spirit, even though the mechanism by which the Government accepts or endorses the Commission’s findings is not yet clear.
While not referencing the NCOA recommendation but instead referencing, “the eGovernment and Digital Economy election commitments and following the success of the DCaaS MUL”, Mundi Tomlinson has invited industry to comment on “possible cloud procurement models, with a view to approaching the market to form a whole of government panel”.
The current Data Centre as a Service Multi Use List (DCaaS MUL) will expire in October 2014. By using the expiring DCaaS MUL as the reason for commencing the procurement process, Finance sets itself up well to move as quickly as possible on the NCOA recommendation, if and when it is formally accepted by Government.
Tomlinson states that “as part of the consultation process a Cloud Procurement Working Group has been established to consult agency representatives regarding their requirements for cloud services” and that “in order to achieve a balanced view of what the market can offer” she invites supplier to respond to Finance’s , Service Provider Survey by 5.00 pm AEST on 28 May 2014.
She also said that “Finance intends to invite interested cloud computing providers for face to face discussions in the near future. The providers will be selected from a mixture of small, medium and large companies and the discussion will focus on issues relevant to the requirements of the Cloud Panel. Interested providers can indicate their willingness to participate in these discussions in the survey”.
Leaving aside the recommendations on the use of cloud technologies, Intermedium recently reported on another number of recommendations from the NCOA, such as Content management systems, Document automation systems, Workflow / case management systems, Storage solutions, as well as Data analytics (software, hardware and integration) solutions.