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Merry Christmas from Defence

by Ammy Singh •
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A number of major managed services suppliers will be working over the holiday season on their responses to a request for tender understood to have been released on a restricted basis by the Department of Defence for the provision of its previously deferred End User Computing (EUC) environment.

The responses are understood to be due in mid-January 2015. Defence told Intermedium that they expect to announce the down select of the preferred tenderer in the second quarter of 2015.  

The move to finalise the EUC procurement is a significant step towards completing the third tranche of Defence’s ICT transformation program. The contract is understood to embrace all required services that sit between the Centralised Processing and Terrestrial Communications bundles to the Defence end users.

The Defence spokesperson confirmed that within the scope of EUC is the delivery of the troubled Next Generation Desktop Project (NGD) on the Defence Restricted Network.

Thales held the $28.2 million contract for the roll-out of the NGD project to cover approximately 100,000 Defence workstations across the Secret and Restricted Networks between September 2013 and August 2014.

On 31 October 2014, a spokesperson told Intermedium that “Defence is focusing its efforts on the Secret Network and to date 60% of Defence Secret users have migrated to the Next Generation Desktop. Once the Secret Network program is completed, Defence will move the focus to the Restricted Network.”

Intermedium suggested to Defence that there had been delays with the roll-out.  

“Defence takes the security of its ICT environment seriously; with this in mind Defence committed its resources to the Next Generation Desktop upgrade on the Secret Network,” said the spokesperson on 1 December, 2014.  

“Thales was contracted to deliver this upgrade, which is now complete,” the spokesperson continued.   

It is understood by Intermedium that Accenture is currently assisting on the roll-out of the Secret Network desktops. 

“Defence is performing the system integrator role, leveraging industry to perform user migrations to the Next Generation Desktop on the Defence Secret Network”, said the spokesperson.

The Request for Tender (RFT) is understood to have only been released to the Department’s Applications Managed Services Partnership Agreement (AMSPA).

The five Preferred Industry Partners PIPs on the AMSPA panel were selected in 2011 with the aim of rapidly sourcing application development, systems integration, and sustainment capability. They are:

  • Accenture;
  • BAE Systems;
  • CSC;
  • IBM; and
  • Hewlett Packard.

Accenture, has been contracted to replace the Defence Remote Electronic Access and Mobility Services (DREAMS) platform by modernising the original Remote Access Solution built by Citrix.

Unisys and Fujitsu hold the original distributed computing contracts with Defence, and these were recently extended in two and three year deals worth $69.9 million and $201 million respectively. Under the agreements, Unisys provides all regional ICT services to Defence, while Fujitsu remains the incumbent supplier for Defence’s Canberra precincts. Fujitsu and Unisys have been providing ICT support services to Defence since 2005 and 2008 respectively.

Lockheed Martin is currently responsible for the Australian Taxation Office’s EUC environment. It has also recently secured the $800 million contract with Defence for the provision of Centralised Processing services, requiring theconsolidation of Defence’s remaining 280 data centres into 11 domestic and three international facilities and integrating ICT management and infrastructure services across the Department’s various security domain levels up to 2022, when the contract initially expires.

The Centralised Processing bundle represents one tranche of the Department’s ongoing Strategic Reform Program (SRP), alongside Terrestrial Communications and Distributed Computing bundles. The Program aims to deliver $1.9 billion in savings by consolidating the Department’s fragmented IT infrastructure environment into these three outsourced tranches.

The six-year, $1.1 billion Terrestrial Communications contract was awarded to Telstra in 2013.

As part of its broader ICT procurement reform program aimed at streamlining vendor management, Defence had initially sought to bundle two major contracts currently held by Fujitsu and Unisys into one larger contract worth an estimated $90 million per annum, taking it to market under the banner of Distributed Computing. The planned bundle included an ICT service desk and all end user and desk side support services in Defence locations across Australia.

However, in January 2014 the Department announced that it “had decided not to proceed with the planned market testing of the Distributed Computing Bundle”, opting instead to extend its contract with Unisys until October 2016, having already extended the Fujitsu contract for three years in May 2013.

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