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Australia's DTA to introduce new Hardware Marketplace online portal for ICT procurement

Australia’s DTA to introduce new Hardware Marketplace online portal for ICT procurement

Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency
(DTA) is changing the way government buys information and communication
technology (ICT) products and services.

Government
agencies often buy ICT products through sellers on panels. These panels offer
negotiated prices and terms and conditions, so government agencies are able to
get the best value for money.

However,
panels are sometimes only opened to new providers every couple of years. The
Government also received feedback from smaller businesses that they are locked
out of panels, and the time and resources needed to respond to tenders
sometimes stops them from applying.

As
such, the DTA is exploring a program of reforms includes simplifying,
consolidating and modernising a number of panel arrangements, according to a press
release
issued today.

The new
Hardware Marketplace will be an online portal where government agencies can
simply and easily find and purchase the products they need.

The move aims to reform ICT
procurement as well as increase the number of small to medium enterprises (SMEs)
who sell to the Government.

As this
will be a new way for agencies to buy these types of products, the DTA has been
working closely with both government and industry during this first phase of
development.

The design
of the new Hardware Marketplace began a few months ago. The DTA has with over
30 businesses and industry organisations and 17 government agencies and released
a discussion paper which collected 19 feedback and responses.

Some
of the feedback from sellers include:

(1)     Documentation
should be made simpler and more concise, so it is easier to read and will be
less expensive to be reviewed by lawyers

(2)     The
option to put insurance in place once they have won the work, rather than when
pitching for a contract

(3)     The
option to propose pricing based on providing a service as well as for outright
purchases

The
new Hardware Marketplace will be flexible so new categories can be added at any
time. It will also work on an ‘open often’ model, meaning new sellers can join
regularly. These sellers will be able to offer products in one, or many,
categories and add new products as new categories are added.

This
flexibility means government can keep up with new technologies as they develop.
It also means new start-ups with a great product to offer can sell it to
government faster, instead of waiting a long time for a panel to open for new
sellers.

The
marketplace will be a one-stop-shop so government agencies only need to go to
one place for computer hardware, instead of the three or more panels which
previously covered these products. It means that sellers can offer their
services in one place, making it much easier to sell to government.

The
Hardware Marketplace will gradually replace the existing Hardware and
Associated Services panel, Mobile Panel or the Department of Finance‘s
commercial off-the-shelf software and hardware panel (COTS).

Categories
will be released one-by-one, with the first being enterprise storage to go live
in the mid-2018.

All
existing users of the panels will be kept up to date as the changes are rolled
out.

To
gather feedback from industry and government about the proposed design of the
Hardware Marketplace, the DTA has published a request
for information
 through AusTender which includes a draft Head
Agreement and Statement of Requirements.

The request for information is open for feedback
until Apr 1 and will be followed by the release of request for tender later in April.