ICT procurement platform reaches $2bn target

Contracts in digital and ICT services worth more than $2.3bn have been awarded through the Australian government Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) online procurement platform.

Government services minister Stuart Robert said the figure had been reached just six months after the agency celebrated its $1bn milestone. 

He added more than $1.5bn has been awarded to SMEs via the DTA’s Digital Marketplace procurement platform.

The DTA replaced the previous Digital Transformation Office in August 2016 and aims to break down the barriers of entry for SMEs and make it easier for them to win public ICT contracts.

“Now, more than ever we need to support Australian business,” said Robert.

The site is currently hosting 2764 sellers — 90% of which are SMEs — and 2600 buyers from across government.

Last month, the National Disability Insurance Agency was the top contracting agency, posting 18 opportunities, followed by the Defence and Education departments, which posted 15 each.

Recruitment company Hays has won most contracts this month, followed by Talent International, and technology and digital talent SME Paxus Australia.

Since the site was launched, it has published more than 4300 opportunities with SME suppliers winning 65% of the dollar value of contracts awarded through the platform.

Over the last month, almost three-quarters (73%) of contracts have been awarded by volume to SME sellers.

The DTA said: “It is now simpler for SMEs and start-ups to gain access to and win government digital contracts. The Digital Marketplace offers a quick and simple process to join and sell to government buyers.

“This process is fit for purpose, especially for early-stage start-ups and scale-ups at state and federal level.”

It said it planned further improvements to the marketplace to help meet industry and government needs and expectations.

“We have simplified and consolidated panel arrangements in line with the Digital Sourcing Framework for ICT Procurement. This has improved the sourcing experience for both buyers and sellers,” the DTA added.

Research from Gartner recently found that global governments are increasing spend on ICT services and software to manage the impact of Covid-19.

Digital public services, public health, social services, education, and workforce reskilling are likely to be priority areas for ICT spending.

Ian Nethercot, supply chain director at Proband has warned buyers to scrutinise IT purchases to ensure they’re still paying fair prices despite global uncertainty. 

“Buyers should still be scrutinising purchases as they would normally – taking into account the impact of things like currency fluctuations (and other geopolitical issues) to get a grip of what’s really happening in the market and ensure suppliers are not exploiting what’s happening to inflate prices beyond what is reasonable. Even in the current climate, there’s still scope to negotiate.”

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