The Department of Defence (Defence) has issued a Request For Information (RFI) on the formation of an Application Management Services Panel to support, “the delivery of significant development activity planned”.
This follows the release of a Market Research Discussion Brief (the Brief), which was reported by Intermedium in August this year. The Brief was intended to source ideas on how it should improve Defence’s business relationship with ICT Services suppliers, with a particular focus on panel arrangements, as part of a wider ICT Reform program.
The Brief comprised of a series of open questions relating to:
- the scope of Defence’s requirements;
- Defence requirements for the commercial model supporting the Panel;
- Defence requirements to govern the Panel; and
- Defence requirements associated with any future market engagement process to establish the Panel.
At the time of issuing the Brief, Defence indicated that it would not be responding to companies which submitted responses.
This latest RFI follows on from the Discussion Brief, and the differences between the original and the RFI strongly indicate that Defence has taken industry concerns into account while putting together this latest appeal to industry.
Firstly, there has been a considerable narrowing of focus for the categories of supply from what was originally proposed in the Brief.
The Brief made no mention of the number of likely suppliers on the panel and listed three categories it was considering for an ICT Services panel:
- Development and integration projects;
- Managed Services (including sustainment); and
- Provision of functional or technical expertise through labour contracting.
The RFI now suggests the Application Management Services Panel (AMSP) will have five suppliers and lists three categories, which have been significantly amended since the release of the original Brief.
The RFI categories include:
- Application Managed Services
- Specialist Support Services
- System Integration Services
In the RFI the ‘development and integration’ category has been narrowed to focus specifically on system integration services capability for planned corporate and military systems integration into the Defence Information Environment.
Managed Services appears to mirror ‘Application Managed Services’, however it is now refined to specifically address the Defence Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) environment.
The labour hire component cited in the Brief appears to not have been included in the RFI, unless this is now what is meant by ‘Specialist Support Services’.
The RFI goes on to suggest that ‘Preferred Industry Partners’ (PIPs) will be the basis upon which the panel will be established, a concept that was completely absent in the original.
A PIP is likely to act as an intermediary between Defence and industry, providing a single point of contact and an end-to-end solution for Defence by coordinating sub-contractors on the Defence’s behalf where necessary.
If Defence proceeds with appointing PIPs, it is likely to expect that this contracting model will relieve it of significant project management and contract management responsibilities. The PIP model is used extensively in the defence agencies of developed countries.
Defence intends to engage five PIPs on its AMSP: two for Application Managed Services, two for Specialist Support Services and one for System Integration Services.
AMSP forms part of Defence’s Application Delivery Reform Project, which aims at leveraging industry support for the delivery of the Department’s ICT projects.
Defence intends AMSP to be in place for a period of five years.
According to tender documents, successful suppliers would be working within an ICT environment which is dominated by SAP systems for finance and budget reporting and Oracle (PeopleSoft) systems for human resources, payroll management and customer relationship management.
Defence has 30,000 staff who work with 50 million electronic documents and 7.3 million files, stored throughout hundreds of locations. Content management is run on the Objective-based Defence Records Management System (DRMS) and Electronic Record Management System (EDMS), as well as TRIM and Lotus Notes.
Intermedium’s contracts data shows that Defence was ranked as the second highest IT Services purchaser in the Federal Government for Q4 2009-10, entering into contracts totalling more than $146 million in this category for the three month period.
Written responses to the RFI are due to be submitted to Defence by 28 January 2011, and there will be an industry briefing on 12 January. The RFT process is scheduled to open during Q1 2011.