Federal Govt kicks off cloud purchasing cycle


news The Federal Government’s centralised IT strategy branch has kicked off a major purchasing initiative which will inform the way it purchases infrastructure-, software- and platform-as-a-service offerings over the next few years.

In a post on the blog of the Australian Government Information Managament Office, the organisation’s assistant secretary of its Central Facilities Branch, Kayelle Wiltshire, wrote late last week that AGIMO would shortly hold an industry consultation on the clutch of services — known collectively as ‘datacente as a service’.

“The aim of the DCaaS approach to market is to provide an industry capability to consolidate agency requirements into common ICT solutions and to assist agencies to move to shared resource solutions,” wrote Wiltshire. “While DCaaS is targeted at the smaller agencies, solutions may also be suitable for larger agencies.”

The public servant noted she planned to use a similar approach to the procurement initiative as AGIMO used in 2009 to inform the development of its overall datacentre strategy, with AGIMO to host an information session on the subject before the end of November, to be announced via the blog and the government’s AusTender tendering platform.

Following this, AGIMO will ask for semi-formal presentations from industry to senior agency IT representatives from a mixture of small, medium and large agencies. “Presenters will be required to cover a standard set of issues but there will also be time set aside for related topics of the presenter’s choice … I expect to conclude the industry presentations in December 2011,” wrote Wiltshire.

Lastly, the organisation will release a draft scope of works through its blog and ask for feedback on the matter in early 2012. “This helped us a lot last time to shape the requirements for the Data Centre Facilities Panel. Later, there will be an open tender and the establishment of a panel or panels,” wrote Wiltshire.

One local company — Frontline — has already flagged its interest via AGIMO’s blog, and it is expected that major cloud computing players will do the same — with names such as Telstra, Optus, Fujitsu, CSC, Salesforce.com, Google, Microsoft and more likely to be interested in the purchasing initiative.

Last week’s move represents the latest a long-term process for AGIMO in terms of the evolution of its cloud computing strategy. The word ‘Government’ has virtually been a taboo subject within local cloud computing circles for the past decade, with most agreeing the public sector was too security-conscious to consider hosting data in what it has traditionally seen as risky environments. But much of that changed in January, when AGIMO released a key consultation paper outlining a new approach to the cloud computing phenomenon across the Federal Government. The paper was eventually finalised later in the year.

Not everyone has been a huge fan of AGIMO’s approach to the issue, with organisations like CSC and Telstra criticising the organisation for being wary of the cloud. However, in general, the level of dialogue and engagement from AGIMO with the industry on the topic of cloud computing has rapidly heightened over that period.

I like what AGIMO is doing here, and I think this formal recognition of cloud computing solutions will rapidly increase uptake in the Federal Government. It’s a win-win situation for all concerned … except perhaps legacy server vendors. But even then, they’ll likely find new business with the big cloud players.

Image credit: Nicolas Raymond, royalty free


  1. I’ve been doing some cloud evaluations with some of these (reinvented) Cloud players. It’s pretty ordinary let me tell you – basically they are trying to put lipstick on a managed service and call it “Cloud”. My personal opinion is that a year or two and the rough edges should be worn off these players (if not – possible entire players themselves will no longer be in the market).

    Pretty much they are all playing the data sovereignty card and thinking they can charge a premium.

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