Govt ponders GoProcure future

The government is contemplating its options on the GoProcure e-procurement project, but is declining to be more specific. The project appears to be foundering on a lack of commitment by state agencies to sign up to GoProcure.

The government is contemplating its options on the GoProcure e-procurement project, but is declining to be more specific. The project appears to be foundering on a lack of commitment by state agencies to sign up to GoProcure.

SSC e-government unit chief Brendan Boyle (pictured) says there have been “a lot of responses” to the offer of GoProcure services, but he declined last week to say how many are committed. An August 31 deadline had been set for agencies to say yes or no to use of GoProcure.

Boyle won’t comment on suggestions that the government is looking for a reduction in the cost of the project, which has a price tag of $7.5 million. Whether a price reduction is involved “will depend on what option we take”, he says.

The managing director of software supplier Oracle, Robert Gosling, says there would be room for a price decrease, since the software development is only a small part of the project cost. The rest comprises the cost of taking agencies on, developing databases jointly with them and training and supporting staff. This cost would be “very scalable” in accordance with the number of agencies involved, he says.

He referred Computerworld to David Stewart of prime contractor CAP-Gemini Ernst & Young for definitive comment.

“We [Oracle] have not been approached over a scaling down of the price,” he said last week.

It was widely rumoured in the last phase of supplier selection that the price had been toughly negotiated and was at a rock-bottom level already.

The SSC “expects to receive the remaining responses from government agencies concerning participation in GoProcure this week”, said SSC minister Trevor Mallard in a statement issued on September 2. This effectively extends the end-of-August deadline by more than a week.

“A report will then be prepared for the government making recommendations on whether the system should proceed to the operational stage, with a public announcement likely in late October 2002,” Mallard said.

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