NZ Tech questions Serbian contract, finds it OK

CEO ponders if Kiwi-first always right way

Regular readers of NZ Tech CEO Graeme Mueller’s weekly newsletter to members and supporters may have been surprised to see him question the Government’s Marketplace for Cloud service. In general, a vocal supporter of Government’s moves in ICT procurement, Mueller questioned why development of the Marketplace for Cloud Services, a “major tech project”, had been awarded to a company offshore.

“I noticed that the Government has awarded development of the actual Marketplace to a Serbian company, Bal Lab. While I support careful spending of taxpayer’s money and ensuring the best possible solution is selected by the Government, it feels like an unusual choice,” wrote Mueller.

The contract to develop the platform was awarded to Bal Lab in February, following an RFP from the Department of Internal Affairs for an “off the shelf” platform for New Zealand Government agencies to help them compare, select, validate and ultimately procure different public cloud services and products.

The DIA is now progressing to the next stage in the project. It is “inviting Suppliers of public cloud services to participate in the beta testing phase of the New Zealand Government’s Marketplace for public cloud services. These suppliers will validate the business processes and Marketplace functions and advise the Department on the user experience prior to the full launch of the Marketplace,” the RFP reads.

The RFP closes today [4 April], and respondents that are accepted into the beta, or test phase, should expect to spend up to 20 hours completing the programme and providing feedback. The DIA is seeking 30 suppliers for the test phase, which is expected to take place over a month.

Meanwhile Mueller says that he has investigated the current suppliers to Government via ICT.govt.nz to “check on the balance between local and international suppliers”.

“I was surprised to learn that 76% of DIA all-of-government contracts are held by local firms and 60% of spending goes to local firms,” Mueller writes. “This is a good balance. While we need international IP entering the country, we also need to support economic development from the growth of local tech firms.”

Mueller concludes by stating that his organisation is “currently collaborating with the Government and leading participants in GovTech to help develop a centre of gravity for GovTechNZ to help connect, promote and advance GovTech opportunities in New Zealand, around the world.”

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