Procurement plans published by federal government agencies for the 2006-07 financial year contain a number of major ICT initiatives but the volume of plans posted by the big agencies is thus far well below that which could have been expected.
Intermedium reviewed the plans posted on 1 July 2006, and found that over 100 agencies had complied by the due date, creating a sizeable and varied shopping list of ICT requirements. The list includes 29 procurements by the Department of Health and Ageing, nine by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and fourteen at the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
The lead agency in co-ordinating publication of the procurement plans, the Department of Finance and Administration has once again set an example with a well-presented plan. DoFA lists a total of 70 projects, 15 of which are for ICT products and services.
The absence of any ICT procurements amongst the 43 projects listed by the Department of Defence is the biggest surprise in the 2006-07 plans. According to Intermedium, Defence reported ICT contracts worth $831 million in 2004-05, which accounted for 28% of the federal government’s total ICT contract value in that year.
In Intermedium’s implausible that Defence does not plan any approaches to the open market for its ICT needs in 2006-07. Defence reported 1,581 contracts worth more than $80,000 for the 2004-05 year, so it is likely that there are procurements that could have been included Defence’s procurement plans.
It is a similar story at the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. DIMA’s 2006-07 plan lists only four ICT projects – including a software panel, a national telecommunications network, and an electronic document system. Again, it is highly unlikely that this is the sum total of DIMA’s ICT needs, notwithstanding its People and Systems Project, which will be consuming most of its attention.
Centrelink, one of Canberra’s largest ICT buyers, lists six ICT projects – including satellite broadband, data mining, Interactive Voice Recognition, spatial analysis and a new staff access card in their procurement plans.
You should expect to see over 600 planned ICT procurements listed this year, in keeping with the volume we saw last year. Despite the fact that agencies are under no obligation to proceed with any listed procurement, they are still a sales planning resource that cannot be ignored.
A difficulty for suppliers with the expected progressive updating of plans is the volume of changes that can now be expected to come through each month. Intermedium noted more than 45 changes per month last year. These included new opportunities, timing changes, deletions and the maturation of planned procurements into tender processes and award of contract. Companies will need to continually monitor agency plans to ensure they don’t miss any crucial updates.
To meet the need for faster and easier access to ICT procurement plans, Intermedium has developed a comprehensive guide and update service to the planned procurements – scout IT, which will be available in Mid - July.