Topics: Procurement; Digital Transformation; Fed.
The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has begun calling for new suppliers to offer an expanded range of products and services through the Federal Government’s new Digital Marketplace Panel.
The new Whole-of-Government (WofG) panel will replace the Digital Services Professionals Panel, which has underpinned the online procurement platform since its launch in August 2016, and will initially add five new service categories.
The new categories are: cybersecurity; data science; emerging technologies; content and publishing; support and operations; and marketing, communications and engagement.
The marketplace will also allow suppliers offering digital software products to register for the very first time, but at this point the functionality will be “limited to a catalogue listing”, according to tender documents.
When Intermedium asked if the new service categories would cover both products and services, a spokeswoman from the agency said: “We are still focussing on services, however, this release includes a Minimum Viable Product for products. The MVP means that we want to learn more about the products sellers are offering, and buyers‘ interest in them, so that we can create the best solution for transacting with them through the Digital Marketplace”.
While the marketplace has been limited to digital specialists until now, it was first conceptualised as a platform that would supply both products and services, allowing agencies to break up complex IT projects into more manageable components.
Announcing the expanded marketplace, interim DTA CEO Nerida O’Loughlin said the improved range of digital services would help federal, state and local government buyers source expertise from both small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and larger companies.
Researching the best ways to supply both products and services, and increasing the range of services and number of sellers in the marketplace have been priorities for the agency since the fully-functioning beta platform was launched in August 2016.
The addition of new product and service categories is expected to see the number of registered sellers on the marketplace double over the coming weeks, according to O’Loughlin.
However, registered sellers will not technically become panel members – or active sellers as the DTA puts it – until the supplier expresses interest in an opportunity. At this point the DTA will assess the supplier against the relevant areas of expertise.
The 256 registered sellers currently present on the Digital Services Professionals Panel will automatically transfer to the new panel, but will need to accept the Master Agreement, which according to the spokeswoman, has recently been restructured and simplified. The agreement also now supports a move to modular contracting.
In a break with convention, suppliers are required to join the marketplace via the platform’s new self-service seller onboarding feature, rather than applying through AusTender. Suppliers are also able to offer additional areas of expertise through the platform at any time.
The spokeswoman also said that all information and corporate documents relating to a seller’s registration will now be stored on the platform.
The marketplace is open to federal, state, territory and local government buyers. NSW is the first jurisdiction to permit its agencies to procure IT services through the platform.
The DTA assumed responsibility for WofG ICT policy and procurement from the Department of Finance in October 2016.