The Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has issued a request for expressions of interest (REOI) for provision of an End to End Procurement Solution (product), according to documents published on AusTender on 28 October.
Tender documents explain that the agency is seeking a single electronic solution to support its internal Procurement Unit, which “provides support services to researchers in provisioning of goods and services, manages complex procurements on behalf of researchers and major projects and manages CSIRO-wide agreements”.
CSIRO expects that the product will “improve efficiencies in business processes and deliver value for money”, and will enable better practice in areas related to procurement, including:
- Project planning and workflow;
- The development of a Statement of Requirement;
- Electronic sign-off for reviewers;
- Approaches to market (either directly or via AusTender);
- Vendor completion of approaches to market;
- Correlation of vendor responses;
- Evaluation against predetermined criteria and weightings;
- Contract management;
- Document management; and
- Archival management.
The tender documents emphasise that the product would have to be compatible for systems integration into SAP. CSIRO uses SAP e-procurement for “the end to end management of consumable transactions with CSIRO-wide suppliers”.
The use of SAP software is the result of the $34 million contract with Fujitsu that the agency entered into in January 2006. This contract saw the implementation of a MySAP-based FlexFrame business system across the agency’s activities.
CSIRO’s own information sciences and technology capability is very strong and it undertakes extensive research and development in the field. The Fujitsu contract was the first time such a significant project was not managed in house by CSIRO, with the agency instead opting to approach the market for an external supplier.
The move away from internal development of IT infrastructure was spearheaded by CSIRO CIO Roze Frost. Speaking at the AIIA Canberra Manager’s Forum in September of that year, Ms Frost argued that it is unnecessary for agencies to constantly be “reinventing the wheel” by developing “unique” systems and that off-the-shelf IT solutions are sufficient.
Tender documents for the current REOI express that the CSIRO will “consider partnerships of one or more vendors to offer a complete solution”, meaning that opportunities may arise for numerous suppliers. Beyond software solutions, “training of CSIRO Procurement Unit staff” is also included within the scope of this project.
However, the CSIRO has made clear that this REOI is only an initial gauge of interest and that it is “not bound to undertake a tender process as a result of this REOI”. Rather, “the aim of this REOI is to assist CSIRO in developing a specification for an open approach to the market for the Product,” according to the tender documents.
The REOI closes on 23 November, with presentations to be made to the agency in early December.