Digital Records Transformation Initiative – Sourcing Strategy

As outlined in the Digital Records Transformation Initiative - Sourcing Strategy Discussion Paper [PDF document114 KB], the Department of Finance (Finance) intends to establish a Whole-of-Government arrangement for entities to procure technology that supports modernised records management capabilities.

The Digital Records Transformation Initiative - Sourcing Strategy Discussion Paper [PDF document114 KB] was released for comment in November 2018. The Discussion Paper was not a formal approach to market, instead, Finance sought the views of the private sector and Commonwealth entities to determine the most effective and efficient way to source modernised digital records solutions. In particular, Finance sought feedback on:

  1. the use of a co-design approach with industry and entities to determine the most appropriate sourcing arrangements and a statement of requirements; and
  2. whether the capability maturity approach is a useful way to pursue modernisation of Australian Government records management.

Twenty-nine responses from various stakeholders were received and the feedback consolidated. The co-design process proposed in the Digital Records Transformation Discussion Paper: Findings and Next Steps [PDF document113 KB] is now underway. The co-design team is using an Agile Project Methodology, outlined in the Digital Transformation Agency’s Digital Service Standard (DSS) and the Service Design and Delivery Process. This enables the team to respond to new insights from user research and incorporate them into the team's findings.


Alpha phase

Sprints Three and Four (6 March – 2 April 2019)

We are currently in Alpha phase (which commenced in sprint three), where we are testing:

  • the viability of a small number of potential models for improving government’s understanding of the challenges and needs for records management
  • how a government entity could more accurately describe its needs prior to sourcing
  • ways that the sourcing of records management tools and capability might be improved and modernised.

The models in development are in line with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and have benefitted from discussions with procurement specialists from the Department of Finance and the Digital Transformation Agency. Cross-jurisdictional discussions have also been informative, where parallels in direction were identified.
Australian Government entities that expressed interest, participated in user research/testing sessions during sprint four. These sessions will continue in the next sprints. We intend to conduct user research/testing with industry, commencing with those who have already noted their interest in participating in co-design.
Feedback is currently being sought on a draft Sourcing Strategy Framework [PDF document 167KB], which details current thinking on the Sourcing Strategy (comments are due by email to by cob Friday, 26 April 2019).

At this stage, the draft Sourcing Strategy Framework has three main components:

A. Problem Definition

An Australian Government entity identifies a problem and completes a Lean Problem Canvas to articulate and communicate the problem. The Lean Problem Canvas is intended to:

  • assist the entity in determining whether it has enough information to identify the problem
  • identify whether purchasing technology will fix that problem, and whether the technology required is simple or new and innovative.

B. Sourcing

Following the problem definition stage, there are three potential sourcing paths that may be taken:

  1. Lean Agile procurement – For complex problems that require modernised solution/s. During research sessions, we will use the following canvases to help the team build an understanding of whether the prototype tools and models could improve problem definition for buyers and the ability for vendors to respond meaningfully to approaches to market by buyers;
  2. Standard procurement – Where solutions for the problem exist through traditional channels
  3. No procurement required – The problem can be solved using the entity’s existing technology or without technology.

C. Evaluation

The process is evaluated and information (that is not agreed as confidential) is shared within the Australian Government.

The results of our research will inform a possible later Beta stage of research and development. We will share results with stakeholder agencies and other interested parties within the Australian Government. We may credit sources in our research analysis (unless you ask to remain anonymous).

At this time, there is no guarantee that the results of our research will lead to any procurement or change in the way the Australian Government does business with vendors.

Please note that as a federal election has been called, caretaker arrangements will apply to the business of the Australian Government. By convention, major decisions that would bind an incoming government and limit its freedom of action are not taken during this period. This is a research project and participants are advised that it may experience delays in finalisation and could potentially be revised or cancelled.


Discovery phase

Sprint one (6 – 19 February 2019)

Our focus during the first sprint of the Discovery phase was to validate findings from previous stages of the project. We began this process by speaking to stakeholders across government and the private sector through workshops and one-on-one interviews. Our research group consisted of five vendors and 35 subject matter experts including records creators/users, records managers, procurement officials, policy makers, professional associations and a state government. Common themes identified during the first sprint of the Discovery phase included the cultural value of information, the tools with which we work, the ways in which government buys records management products and interactions with service providers.

Sprint two (20 February – 05 March 2019)

Research interviews continued, as more subject matter experts flagged their interest in contributing to the Discovery phase. This user research has helped us understand the experience of stakeholders who interact with current systems of records management, decision making and procurement.

Themes broadly described in sprint one, above, were investigated in greater depth and include points relating to tools and technology being neither entirely the problem nor entirely the solution, and compliance being the main focus of procurement effort.

Insights were gained from Discovery, through both the lens of government and the lens of industry. These include the increased profile of the records management function within entities, and that there are a number of forward-thinking, new and innovative vendors who can deliver to the Australian Government market.

Opportunities arising from Discovery are significant. Modernisation of records management is possible with more clearly scoped procurements and access to innovative emerging technologies.

Sprint two closed out the Discovery phase which provided further data and insights, identifying candidate sourcing strategy models to take forward into sprint three, the start of the Alpha phase (6 to 20 March). Alpha is an experimental phase and an opportunity to work through model prototypes.

We welcome input from experts in procurement, records management and technology service provision. In particular, we are keen to hear opinions and experiences in different methods of procuring goods and services that are rapidly evolving. Should you wish to contribute to the co-design process, please email us at

Last updated: 23 April 2019