Vendors will soon have the opportunity to submit tenders for the development of a new website for the Office of the Migration Agents’ Registration Authority (MARA), including the hosting of all web content via a public or private cloud.
The Pre-Release Notice (PRN), posted by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) on behalf of the Office of MARA, has provided the first details about the upcoming revamp of the Office of MARA’s online services and business applications.
A full request for tender (RFT) is due to be released on 15 October 2011.
The successful candidate will be responsible for three core services, which are expected to be provided by the vendor as a whole solution:
- The design, development and implementation of a new business database application, replacing the Office of MARA’s existing MS Access databases in favour of a more robust and secure platform;
- The creation and delivery of a new interactive website, which will include database hosting and secure log-on capabilities; and
- The hosting of all services and systems
The PRN has stated that the solution will be based upon open-source frameworks and technologies. Applicants also have the option of submitting a public or private cloud system for the provision of the solution, as long as it falls in accordance with the Office of MARA’s requirements.
This represents an opportunity for cloud vendors to get some early runs on the board in terms of their government cloud credentials, which could pay off into the future as the public sector cloud market expands.
The Australian Government’s Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper, released by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), recommends that non-sensitive agency information such as the public facing content and agent registration data on the MARA website, ought to be the first area transitioned to the cloud.
The Australian Government CIO Ann Steward has recently said that Canberra has elected to take a “prudent approach” to the expansion of cloud computing.
“Australian Government CIOs are continuing to examine opportunities in the adoption of cloud computing and are now working closely with AGIMO to help identify candidate areas of information and services that may be suitable for migration to public or other clouds over the course of the next year,” she wrote on the AGIMO Blog in September.
The successful tenderer will also be responsible for providing ongoing support and maintenance for the solution, with services including 24 hour on-call support, regular software updates and system enhancements in response to user feedback and requests.
An active presence on-site with the Office of MARA will be preferred in order to maximise efficiency and the effectiveness of these enhancements.
The new business platform and website must also comply with AGIMO guidelines, possess high levels of security, be user friendly and have an upgrade strategy in place for potential future improvements in accordance with user feedback and requests. The database must also meet the Content Management System requirements for the new website.
The RFT is scheduled for release on 15 October 2011, with applications due to close on 18 November 2011. DIAC anticipates that the contract will be awarded in February 2012, with full implementation of the website expected to be completed by 30 June 2012.
The PRN also stated however that the Office of MARA may alter the upcoming tender’s timeframe and requirements as it considers necessary.