By the end of the year the Department of Health and Ageing will release its highly-anticipated tender for a new infrastructure outsourcing provider, a role IBM has retained unchallenged for the past 13 years.
A DoHA spokesperson told Intermedium that by December 2013 it will release an open request for tender to find new partners to manage its technology infrastructure. This will replace its existing 12-year, $342 million arrangement with IBM encompassing ICT services, including platforms, infrastructure, applications and support, which was most recently renewed in 2010.
The department is currently aiming for a new provider to be in place by 1 July, 2015.
"The Department will engage with the IT industry and provide advanced information on the style and extent of the tender well in advance of it being issued," the spokesperson said.
"Transitional issues and associated timing and options are currently being planned with the overall sourcing strategy."
In January this year the department paid $738,000 to Boston Consulting Group for strategic advice on possible sourcing options, and it will soon reveal the specific details of how services will be bundled into various contracts.
"DoHA is currently defining the overall sourcing strategy and decisions on the bundling and disaggregation of services are expected to be made shortly," spokesperson said.
The current arrangement includes managing mainframe, midrange, network, storage and desktop support, and end-user computing services; as well as rolling out a desktop virtualisation solution, new security compliance initiatives, and mainframe and storage updates.
Historically DoHA also purchased its hardware and software through the IBM arrangement, however, a revision to the scope of the contract in 2011 removed the provision for the purchase of hardware and software. The agency has since been required to go to open market or to use an existing panel to purchase such assets.
DoHA has already started down the path of changing its email platform. In February, DoHA released a RFT for a partner that could migrate to the Microsoft Exchange, abandoning IBM's Lotus Notes and 214 associated applications. This is to be completed by June 2014, almost a year before the new infrastructure outsourcing agreement.
The department is likely to be keenly observing the example of one of its peers which recently ended a long-running outsourcing deal with IBM. Last year, the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) handed over responsibility of its IT infrastructure to the Department of Human Services (DHS), joining Medicare, Child Support, Centrelink and CRS Australia (which unlike DVA are business units within DHS) as a client of what in effect is Canberra’s largest shared service provider arrangement.
DVA CIO Shane McLeod told ITNews that DHS manages the commodity IT, which gives him the freedom to focus on adding value to the business. McLeod expects to rationalise about 50 applications; upgrade DVA's Windows XP desktops to DHS’s common operating environment of Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010; and meet the cost cutting and customer service goals laid out in the Federal Government's 2010-2015 ICT Strategic Plan.