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Queensland aims to save $10m with Microsoft deal

by Staff Writers •
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The Queensland Government has signed a whole-of-government licensing agreement with Microsoft that will give the state access to “competitively priced” software through an invited panel of Large Account Resellers (LAR).

This latest agreement follows whole of government arrangements recently put in place for the provision of Microsoft licences in the Federal, NSW and Victorian governments.  Both have put in place LARs arrangements.  In the Federal arena, Queensland headquartered Data #3 has benefited significantly from the new arrangements.  According to Intermedium’s data, 54 Microsoft related contracts to a total value of $ $148.4m were signed with Data #3 in 2008-09.  Notable amongst these were Defence for $60.73m, Finance for $47.15m and Centrelink for $20.01m.

In NSW, the WoG arrangements have seen a new supplier win one of the 3 reseller roles – Insight Enterprises Australia Pty Ltd.  Data #3 and  Dimension Data are the other two LARs on the panel.  In Victoria, Insight Enterprises is the sole LARs. 

The three-year Queensland deal, estimated to be worth around $60m, was announced on Australia Day.  It will cover over 150,000 Queensland public servants in 17 departments.  Queensland IT Minister Robert Schwarten said the savings will come from a consolidated approach to purchasing Microsoft products.

“Now we won’t have every other department doing their own thing (and) we expect to save around $10m . . . this is a pretty big deal for us,” he said.

The agreement was signed as part of the Queensland Government’s ICT strategic plan “Toward Q2 through ICT”, a five-year plan released in September last year that aims to deliver a number of ICT savings through a whole-of-government procurement approach.  The state currently spends $20m with Microsoft annually and more than $1bn on ICT each year.

The next stage of the Queensland Microsoft deal will see a panel of Microsoft LAR’s established following an invited tender process.  The Queensland Government said the agreement will provide “a lot of certainty” for the 3000 Microsoft resellers operating in Queensland.

“A panel arrangement is the most useful and cost-effective solution for government, as it promotes responsive service from the resellers as well as offering variety at competitive prices,” said Schwarten.

If precedent in other jurisdictions is followed in Queensland, the “invited” nature of the panel is likely to see only large account resellers participate.  Government ICT experts have revealed that Dell will be one of the vendors to have a place on the panel.

The Microsoft deal will also give Queensland agencies added flexibility to their ICT capabilities, with IT Minister Robert Schwarten stating that; “…the arrangement gives all state and local government entities the opportunity to purchase other Microsoft solutions with various options, depending upon the needs of the agency involved.”

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