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January RFT to re-contest $225 million whole-of-SA-Government panel

by Paris Cowan •
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The South Australian Government will approach the market to re-contest one of its largest ICT panel arrangements on 29 January 2013, but the State’s CIO is also harbouring plans to replace the arrangement within three to four years with a more ‘cloud-friendly’ mechanism.

The panel, for Distributed Computing Support Services (DCSS), is currently worth around $39 million per annum to its two members HP and NEC (which acquired former panellist CSG).

According to an unconventional industry briefing – delivered by the Office of the CIO’s (OCIO) Scott Lowry via YouTube - the pair currently provides support services for government-owned distributed computing infrastructure.

The current agreements with HP and NEC were originally signed in April 2007, and will continue through to 30 June 2013, with the total value of expenditure over the six year term estimated at $225 million. Another 12 month extension has been applied to take the deal out to June 2014 to cover a transition in to new arrangements.

The new contract will be signed for a term of three years, with options to extend for another three years – options that the SA Government hopes it won’t have to use.

According to the briefing, the OCIO will soon begin consulting with agencies and other stakeholders on the possibility of replacing the DCSS with an entirely new processing and storage arrangement, which it plans to have finalised by the time the initial expiry of the renewed DCSS deal rolls around.

The State’s Government CIO, Andrew Mills, told Intermedium that these new arrangements are part of the Government’s preparations for a widespread uptake of cloud computing.

“The current arrangements do not easily allow for agencies to purchase ‘as-a-Service’ or ‘cloud’ offerings that are becoming more common in the market place. The Processing & Storage procurement project will therefore consider all of these aspects for future service provision for government agencies,” he said.

In the meantime the service segments delivered under the panel are not expected to change dramatically, but will go through “some refinements” in the upcoming market testing process, said Lowry.

At this stage the panel’s scope will be divided into four segments, with more detail to be contained in the January RFT:

  1. Server Management and Support Services (SMSS)
  2. Client Management and Support Services (CMSS)
  3. Service Integration Services (SIS)
  4. Solution Design and Advisory Services (SDAS)

Respondents will need to show evidence of both capability and experience across most, if not all, of the service segments even though history has shown most contracts fall into just a couple of the categories.

“Over the past six years the vast majority of expenditure by agencies under the current DCSS contracts has been for the provision of SMSS and SDAS,” said Lowry.

Respondents will also be asked to nominate a price for the management of the State’s entire distributed computing fleet, to allow the Government to weigh up the possibility of appointing a single vendor to manage the supply, “if the value and risk profile is considered by the state to be acceptable”.

Tenders are due to close on Tuesday 9 April 2013, with evaluation scheduled for the three months following.

“As always price will be an important determining factor,” said Lowry. “Respondents will be asked for volume or unit pricing...indicative numbers of servers and desktop numbers will be included in the released RFT”.

The Government hopes to have contracts executed by November 2013, in time for a transition in over the period from November 2013 to June 2014, which will allow agencies to migrate services to new suppliers if necessary.

Lowry also warned prospective respondents to take heed of the State’s new industry participation policy, now in effect. The policy requires successful tenderers and major project proponents to identify and report on how they will ensure local suppliers will be provided with reasonable opportunities to compete for work on projects over $5 million in value.

“If a response fails to apply with this new policy, then the policy requires that the response cannot be accepted,” he said.

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