Suppliers who missed out on gaining entry to the Data Centre Facilities panel in 2011 will get another chance within the next three months, according to the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s recently released Annual Procurement Plan for 2013-14.
The Department initially asked for industry and agency feedback regarding the panel’s current operations and scope for improvement in March 2013.
“Since the original scoping study conducted by Finance in 2009, density has increased, power needs have changed and the impact of cloud computing and virtualisation on traditional data centre environments has been significant,” said Finance’s Mundi Tomlinson in a blog post at the time.
Expected changes include a reduction in minimum lease requirements of 500 square metres or 500 kilowatts and a 10 year contract term.
“This will allow agencies with requirements of less than 10 years or 500m2/500kW to engage directly with the Panellists, instead of through Consortium Arrangements as was previously required,” Tomlinson said in a published response to the consultation.
The scope of technical and operational requirements may also be altered, with the possible addition of a category for high quality Tier 2 data centre facilities. The panel currently only gives Federal agencies access to data centres at Tier 3 or higher levels.
Existing panellists will not be required to reapply, although they are allowed to do so to expand their service offerings under the changed arrangement.
More significant changes are likely to accompany the refresh of Finance’s Telecommunications Commodities, Carriage and Associated Services (Mobile) panel, which is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2014. The panel is due to expire in January 2014.
A spokesperson from Finance has told Intermedium that “should Finance decide to establish a new panel, where an existing panellist wishes to be a member of the new panel, it may be required to apply depending on the final scope of the panel arrangement”.
A 12-month hold was put on the mandatory use of the panel for public sector procurement of mobile devices in July 2012 after a review found that this component of the panel was unable to achieve the best value-for-money results.
The remaining scope of the panel relating to the supply of mobile voice and data carriage services was found to be efficient and procurement of these through the panel continues to be mandatory for Federal agencies.
Finance approached the industry for feedback in April 2013 regarding potential improvements to mobile telecommunications procurement arrangements and changes to the panel’s overall scope. The consultation ended on 31 May 2013.
“The results are presently under consideration and the scope of the approach to market is yet to be decided,” said the spokesperson.
The procurement plan also indicates that Finance intends to approach the Telecommunications Management Services panel for relevant services towards the end of 2013.
Major deals that have gone through the panel include the $1 billion deal between the Department of Defence and Telstra for Terrestrial Communications Services, signed in April 2013, and a $4.2 million Managed Contact Centre Services contract between the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and UXC Limited in June 2012.
The panel is due to expire in September 2014.
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