Still in the doghouse: IBM’s Qld Govt ban very much alive


blog Those among us (like yours truly) who maintain an unholy fascination with public sector IT purchasing and projects in Australia will recall that three years ago, the Queensland Government — and we’re talking about then-Premier Campbell Newman here, not his Labor successors — issued a blanket ban to IBM on winning future deals with its departments and agencies. At the time, Newman justified the ban by highlighting IBM’s role in the billion-dollar failure of the Queensland Health payroll systems upgrade.

Well, it’s been quite a while since that point, and given the fact that multiple audits have placed most of the responsibility for the project’s failure on the Queensland Government and not IBM, you’d have to expect that IBM has been able to come in from the cold. It’s been our experience that most major government departments and agencies will eventually need to deal with Big Blue at some point.

However, according to iTnews, this is not the case. The outlet reported on Monday this week (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“A spokesperson for the Department of Science, IT and Innovation told iTnews the suspension “currently remains in place”.”

My opinion on this situation is that it is unlikely that the ban has resulted in IBM winning zero business at all from the Queensland Government. It is far more likely that Big Blue is being blocked from major contracts, while still picking up work on minor ones.

It is likely, after all, that IBM was already engaged with Queensland on a range of fronts when the ban was handed down. Those projects or supply arrangements will not have been cut off overnight; in fact, the nature of Government purchasing is that when structures are successfuly set up for projects or to buy goods and services, they tend to continue on regardless of the political dynamic of the day.

I would, however, be interested to hear from Queensland public sector IT workers as to what the situation on the ground is. Is IBM winning any work at all with the Queensland Government? Feel free to comment below this article, or use Delimiter’s anonymous tips form.

Image credit: Patrick, Creative Commons


  1. They just sell via partners. That way the contract is listed under the resellers name.

  2. I see in the new today Queensland Health is crowing the will finish “most” of their Windows 7 rollout by July. Even after that there will still be some devices on Windows XP.

    Wonder who’s fault that is?

    • “The program engaged a number of partners to assist with project delivery, however it has primarily been managed, driven and resourced using Queensland Health resources,” McCririck said.

      From the article it would be easy to place blame with QLD Health.

      In my experience, which is significant in the workplace transformation space, most delays or cost blowouts for this type of transformation will vary depending on a few variables:
      – State of the CMO (well managed vs the wild west)
      – Having a clear understanding of the applications and their compatibility
      – Transformation method (remote deploy? or asset refresh? or blended?)
      Lack of business buy-in is critical and normally under-estimated causing this type of transformation to drag on over a number of years.

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