Defence calls on partners to join landmark IT services panel

The proposed term of the new panel arrangement is five years, with a three-year extension option

Australia’s Department of Defence has officially opened its incoming IT services procurement panel to bids from the country’s IT providers.

The department, which is known as one of the Federal Government’s biggest spenders on IT goods and services, released a Request for Tender on January 30, in a bid to establish its new Information Communication and Technology Provider Arrangement (ICTPA).

The ICTPA is a new panel arrangement and covers three service towers: systems integration; application services; and IT services. The proposed term of the ICTPA is five years, with a three year extension option, followed by a further two-year extension option.

The move to open the new panel to tender bids from partners follows a call for feedback from local providers in November last year in relation to the development of its IT supplier panel overhaul.

The new panel arrangement is aimed at replacing the department’s outgoing Applications Managed Services Partnership Arrangement (AMSPA) scheme, worth $340 million over its five-year life-span.

The expiring AMSPA scheme, which was established in 2011, and saw Accenture, BAE Systems Australia, CSC, IBM, and HP Australia chosen as preferred industry partners for major Defence contracts over the past five years.

The Department of Defence currently employs a number of panel arrangements, which are either internal Defence panels or whole-of-government panels, to source goods and services to support of its IT environment.

In late 2015, a sourcing strategy was developed, and in accordance with the sourcing strategy’s recommendations, the department decided to progressively replace its existing IT panel framework.

The initial step in implementing the sourcing strategy's recommendations was to establish an information and communications technology provider arrangement to replace the AMSPA arrangement, along with other internal IT sourcing constructs – where appropriate.

The aim of the new panel arrangement is to enable the department to become a “smarter and more sophisticated buyer of ICT services through the implementation of an adaptive sourcing framework”.

Potential partners have until February 28 to get their bids in, with evaluation of applications expected to occur from March to July, and the preparation of deeds for preferred tenderers set to conclude in August. Defence will hold an industry briefing for potential suppliers in Canberra on February 7.

The move to fill its incoming IT services procurement panel arrangement with local suppliers follows a call in December last year for partners to populate a new procurement panel for the provision of internet services to its forces in Australia and around the world.
The Amenities Internet Access (AIA) services initiative is aimed at giving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel access to the internet services in five distinct regions: the Middle East; South East Asia; Australasia; Australia; and the rest of the world.
The Department of Defence accounts for more than a billion dollars' worth of IT contracts annually. In 2014, it inked a single deal worth $800 million with Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems and Global Solutions (IS&GS) business to supply centralised processing services until 2022.
In November last year, the department released the latest iteration of its ongoing IT transformation activities, revealing plans to spend $20 billion on IT over a 10-year period.