The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) will look to appoint a single supplier for the provision of its enterprise-wide telecommunications services, in a deal which is likely to span several of the Federal Government’s mandatory whole-of-government panels.
Up until this point the Department has stuck to a fragmented sourcing plan for telecommunications services, with a $12.9 million contract with AAPT for voice and data services due to expire this year, and contracts with Optus and Telstra covering DAFF’s mobile telephony and handsets.
It has also just entered into a head agreement for the provision of secure internet gateway services with Macquarie Telecom, which will be used by DAFF as well as its appointed client agencies under the Federal Government’s Internet Gateway Reduction Program, meaning that gateway will not form part of this latest RFT.
Following a review of the delivery of its current ICT services and future ICT needs, however, DAFF has concluded that its most cost-effective option is to consolidate its contracts into a single outsourcing deal that the Department anticipates with be worth in excess of $5 million per year.
When it first notified the market of its upcoming approach DAFF indicated that it was open to engaging one or more vendors for the work, depending on which option represented best value for money.
However at this advanced stage it seems to have also resolved that its preference is for a single supplier to cover all of its requirements, including those that fall within the scope of mandatory whole-of-government panels such as the Internet Based Network Connections (IBNC) and Telecommunications, Commodities, Carriage and Associated Services (Mobile) head agreements.
This means that the successful bidder will likely be a currently approved member of one or both of these two agreements. At present, only Optus, Telstra and TransACT are on both of these panels with services in scope of the DAFF contract. Fujitsu, Nextgen Networks, Macquarie Telecom, Verizon and incumbent supplier AAPT are just on the IBNC Panel.
At the top level, the contract will cover:
- Telephony Services;
- Network Services;
- Switchboard Services;
- Video Conference Services;
- Contact Centre Services;
- Service Management Services;
- Cross Functional Services;
- Transition Services;
- Disengagement Services;
- Project Services;
- Contractor Resourcing; and
- Additional Services.
The successful bidder will be placed in charge of DAFF’s fleet of nearly 3,000 Nortel handsets, 600 Blackberries, 250 iPads, 100 iPhones and 1,600 non-smartphone mobile handsets.
DAFF will hold an industry briefing on 5 March, ahead of the close of tenders on 4 April 2013. It hopes to have its evaluation process done by the end of April and contracts finalised as early as June 2013.
The telecommunications sourcing project comprises just one tranche of the Department’s broader ICT Reform Program, designed to address the needs identified by DAFF’s ICT review.
In these early stages, the primary objective of the reforms is to consolidate and stabilise the ICT services currently provided to DAFF’s staff and stakeholders.
In 2012-13 the Department says it will focus on infrastructure virtualisation and consolidation, ahead of a move to infrastructure-as-a-service which is on the cards for 2013-14.
In 2013-14 it has also scheduled an enterprise-wide upgrade to Windows 8.
DAFF currently outsources its end-user computing, midrange and storage functions to HP.
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