Government joint tender a sign of things to come

Other departments might join the process

A decision on a joint supply tender of PCs and notebooks for Defence and the Ministry of Social Development should be made next week.

Defence CIO Peter Thomas says there is a shortlist of two suppliers, one of whom will provide 25,000 units over three years. Defence itself has 12,000 PCs.

But the unusual move of two government organisations jointly tendering may go much further. Thomas says they’re looking to syndicate the deal much more widely.

He wouldn’t indicate what other departments might join the process.

The tender was announced last December. At the time, Thomas told Computerworld the joint purchase was in accordance with a government direction towards “syndicated procurement”.

According to Thomas, potential benefits of the approach included:

• increased price and volume leverage;

• reduced tendering costs and time savings for collaborative agencies;

• improved terms and conditions, and;

• common requirements and specifications.

“Additionally, there is an opportunity to further support the government’s environmental sustainability programme,” he said.

Thomas says Defence is also moving toward a centralised delivery model under which it will establish internal benchmarks.

“We’ve been working on it over the past 12 months and expect to have it in place within the next few months,” he says.

“Previously the three service arms did their own thing and developed their own capabilities. There will always be a need for them to do some things, particularly in the battlefield space, but now we’re building a team for overall service delivery.”

He says that, initially, high-level key performance indicators will be established for things such as helpdesks.

“Over time, we expect to build in more specific capabilities.”

Defence is not alone in syndicating its ICT procurement. This month, Auckland, Waikato and Victoria universities also pooled their resources to select a single PC supplier.

The universities estimate they may need 4,500 desktops, laptops and workstations from January to December next year, though the order may not be that large.

The estimated number is based on lease and replacement schedules for 2009.

— Additional reporting by Hamish Barwick, Reseller News

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