WISPering back – an initial analysis of your comments

Author: 
John Sheridan - CIO & CISO
Category: 
The Department of Finance Archive

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Thank you to all who provided comments on the ICT services panel discussion paper. Our initial analysis has been encouraging and the high volume of responses, considered arguments and alternative solutions has given us a clear understanding of how you think the WISP proposal should proceed. In this post, we’ve summarized the comments from the blog and emails for all to read.

The proposal was generally well received by industry. Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular, are pleased with the opportunity to help shape this policy. We have received much support for suggested improvements in the procurement process, equal opportunities for business of all sizes, and reducing the cost of bidding for Government business.

You told us that you like the idea of an open RFQ process and that simplified and standardised documentation would be welcomed. The application of standardised tender documentation, alone, was seen as a major benefit to suppliers. Many also liked the idea of a simplified process to gain access to the panel and an open panel arrangement that would not lock out suppliers or new technologies.

The suggestion of adopting eTendering tools was greeted with some trepidation. Many suggested that current applications lack the maturity to undertake reliable, automated value-for-money assessments.

Some respondents questioned the value of applying dollar value thresholds, suggesting instead that simple or complex would be more appropriate measures.

Three main areas generated the most responses; reverse auctions, panel fees and supplier performance management. The responses ranged from simple rejection to sound arguments with alternative approaches/suggestions.

Reverse auctions were considered a useful, innovative tool but some questioned the suitability of applying them to ICT services procurement, as the requirements are more difficult to define than for commodity items. There was a consensus that, used incorrectly, reverse auctions could compromise quality and stifle innovation.

Regarding panel fees, a common theme was that an annual fee would exclude a large number of SMEs from participation. The commonly suggested alternative was to apply a percentage fee for business won.

Supplier performance management was greeted with a degree of caution. Some respondents thought that candour may jeopardize future business opportunities and that performance management would be more appropriate via the existing contract management process.

We’ll take these opinions into consideration as we progress the proposal. In the meantime, don’t forget the upcoming industry briefing for which you can still register.

Finally, the proposal recently attracted additional media interest in two articles (here and here), based on the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) submission. As the AIIA sent their submission directly to AGIMO rather than post it on the blog, not all of you will have seen it. It is made available here with AIIA’s permission:

[Note: the AIIA owns copyright in the preceding document. It does not fall under the blog’s general Creative Commons licence.]

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Last updated: 29 July 2016