Starting flag raised on govt e-procurement race

Inland Revenue and Work and Income will be the bigger departments involved in the pilot for the whole-of-government e-procurement project. Others chosen for the trial are the New Zealand Fire Service, Treasury and the fisheries ministry.

Inland Revenue (IR) and Work and Income (Winz) will be the bigger departments involved in the pilot for the whole-of-government e-procurement project. Others chosen for the trial are the New Zealand Fire Service, Treasury and the fisheries ministry.

And this time, there will be only one provider chosen for the pilot, says Greg Nicholls at the SSC’s e-government unit.

Winz was the focus of an e-procurement trial last year, which pitched two consortia, led by SolNet and Oracle, against each other, and required them to provide pilot systems free of charge. SolNet managing director Mark Botherway said last month that a six-figure sum had been spent — eventually to no avail, since Winz decided to row in behind the whole-of-government exercise.

The request for proposal (RFP) for that project is scheduled to be published formally this week, though Nicholls said last week that it could well be up on the e-government unit’s website before then.

This time, potential suppliers have been assured, the winner will be paid for the work done on the six-month pilot.

There is no need for a last-round contest this time, says Nicholls.

“We think we know enough now to be able to pick a winner straight out.”

He insists that the Winz exercise was never conceived as a precursor to the whole-of-government project, though some contenders and a lot of industry sources and media gained that impression.

E-government unit boss Brendan Boyle says 41 companies have expressed interest in the RFP. This total surprised Oracle managing director Leigh Warren, even

after he had told Computerworld that “everyone” was likely to bid.

“We [Oracle] are still keen to participate, in a consortium with CAP-Gemini Ernst and Young,” Warren confirms. A similar consortium bid for the Winz trial.

The other main DWI contender, SolNet, will naturally be in the running fro the whole-of-government project too.

“But we’re biding our time waiting to see the document,” Botherway said last week. “We will look carefully at it before we determine our approach.”

A third strong contender is likely to be the local Gconnect consortium, led by SupplyNet.

Government expects to select the single provider for the pilot by about the end of the year, and the trial will run to the end of June 2002.

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