In a second industry briefing on their sourcing and market testing strategy in Canberra on 12 April, Customs provided an update on decisions which had been made since the previous briefing and outlined the sourcing structure and proposed timing of their RFT bundles.
Customs CIO Murray Harrison told the briefing he believed that the market testing had gone very well to this point and had been a comprehensive and professional process. Customs will be releasing a number of bundles simultaneously to the market to allow prospective suppliers to respond to one, some or all of the bundles. He said that timelines had slipped a couple of weeks and that Customs now had a target date of 26 May for release. Tenderers will have three months to respond, with the contract/s expected to be awarded between December 2006 and March 2007. Innovative or alternative approaches will be welcome.
The bundles are:
1. Main Processing – this includes mainframe, data centre, CCF and mid-range. Customs are seeking one provider for the full service. The proposed contract term is 5 years with 2 x 3 year optional extensions. Mr. Harrison said that the extensive contract was justified by the maturity of this market and the limited risk.
2. Applications Maintenance and Support. Following an EOI in January, Customs have shortlisted 8 suppliers for a further RFT to establish a panel of providers. The shortlisted suppliers are Accenture, CSC, EDS, Fujitsu, Hexaware, IBM, KAZ and NCSI. Hexaware is an international, Indian-based development and service provider specialising in PeopleSoft, with revenue of $US120.8m in 2004. NCSI is a subsidiary of the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia and provides certification services, such as ISO 9001 quality certification. The proposed contract term is 3 years with 2 x 2 year optional extensions. Applications development will continue to be managed on a case-by-case basis.
3. Internal Telecommunications. Customs will seek to align this contract with their current contract with Telstra for external telecommunications, now being renegotiated. Mr. Harrison told the briefing that Customs had recently refreshed its voice equipment, and was seeking a single provider to run it. The tender will be open and not confined to WOGTA participants. The proposed contract term is 2 years with 2 x 1 year optional extensions.
4. Internet and Secure Gateway Services – this includes CCF and Fedlink gateways. The proposed contract term is 3 years with 2 x 2 year optional extensions.
One of the initial bundles, LAN and Desktop, is now likely to be managed internally. “We believe that a Customs officer is the right person to answer a Customs call on Customs business”, Mr. Harrison said. He said this should not be seen as a reflection on their current provider. RFTs for hardware (early 2007) and regional/remote support services (not yet determined) are expected.
A further industry briefing is planned in June, after the release of the RFT bundles. APET, a tender evaluation tool used by Customs, will be used for part of the evaluation but not for the tender responses. Attendees were reminded of the strict probity protocols, with all contact to be made via email to email@example.com.