In an opportunity for suppliers to access a further $100 million in ICT systems and services funding, South Australia has issued an open call encouraging the ICT industry to modernise the public sector by pitching productivity enhancing solutions.
Designed to move away from the “tightly-prescribed procurement processes of the past”, the government has released an Innovate ICT Expression of Interest (EOI) which calls for proposals which will provide the public sector with “contemporary ICT capabilities needed to deliver the best and most efficient services to South Australians”.
The government currently spends around $650 million on ICT goods and services every year, around $260 million of which is captured under government-wide contractual arrangements. Despite this substantial spending, “a further $100 million per annum worth of goods/services currently managed at the agency level could be opened up to industry” as a result of this EOI.
The solutions would need to satisfy one the four key objectives: Economic development through the creation of employment opportunities, the advancement of relevant economic priorities, the delivery of improved value for money, or the provision of improved government ICT service delivery. Furthermore, the solutions would also have to be delivered on a large scale (i.e. either whole of government or common to an entire departmental cluster) to make a significant enough impact on government operations.
While the EOI process is focused on “ICT segments not within scope of current contracts”, SA will appraise any proposed solutions when considering already-contracted ICT segments for future renewal.
The government would consider reviewing its ownership model of hardware and software applications if the delivery of services is deemed as presenting measurable benefits to the public sector.
In light of the state’s growing population and relative decline of full time equivalent (FTE) public sector employees, productivity and innovation have emerged as key foci for the state. There were 85,371 FTE employees in June 2014 which is 5.05 per cent of the population, down from 2012 when FTE employees accounted for 5.17 per cent of the population.
In 2014, Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis told the Intermedium/AIIA Budget Briefing that “Innovation is key to reaching our future prosperity. I see the ICT industry as the sword in that fight. The ICT industry, amongst all industries, is at the cutting edge of innovation; your ideas are more important than most, and more important”.
It is anticipated that the EOI process will have a heavy emphasis on cloud-based solutions, given that the state's recentcloud services policy requires government agencies to “evaluate cloud services in every new or reformed ICT sourcing, procurement, or market approach”.
The window for submitting proposals will close 21 September 2015. ICT initiatives will then be assessed and considered for future ICT procurements.