The Digital transformation Agency and IBM will explore AI opportunities and quantum computing after the DTA extended its whole of government contract with the multinational tech corporation.
The DTA announced last week the new $725 million deal will replace its original whole of government arrangement with IBM, first signed off in 2018 for $1 billion.
It’s mandatory for non-corporate Commonwealth entities to contract under the arrangement when procuring IBM products and services.
It can also be used by state and territory governments, Corporate Commonwealth entities (CCEs) and government-owned businesses.
The deal will make it easier and more cost effective for government agencies to access digital services provided by IBM, the agency says.
Products and services accessible through the five-year agreement include hardware, software, cloud services and professional services.
It also includes training, certifications and scope for the uptake of emerging technologies including quantum computing and artificial intelligence, the DTA says.
DTA CEO Chris Fetchner says the new deal will give agencies more flexibility to transfer assets and enable reuse opportunities across government, as well as streamlining the procurement process and providing continuity for systems to support government services.
“Through the Commonwealth negotiating as one entity, the contract will continue to give government agencies better value for money and more flexibility when sourcing commonly used IBM products and services with a focus on essential government requirements,” he said in a statement.
The arrangement was negotiated and signed jointly by the DTA, Australian Taxation Office, Department of Defence, Department of Home Affairs and Services Australia.
Modernising government services
Managing Director IBM Australia & Vice President IBM Technology Nicholoas Flood says the agreement will help drive the uptake of innovative technology to modernise government services.
“We will continue to work with government agencies to explore how emerging technologies could help transform service delivery to create a more secure, sustainable, innovative and skilled Australia,” he said.
The 2018 contract was criticised for potentially locking local SMEs out of government procurement and putting too many government balls in one supplier’s basket.
A report into Commonwealth ICT procurement by the national audit office released in 2020 found the IBM arrangement was meeting some of its objectives, although at the time of the report‘s release “anticipated savings have not yet been achieved”.
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