Defence will pay Accenture more than $14 million over the next year to stand up a cloud capability that will provide the guardrails for multi-vendor hosting, as the department continues its search for ‘secret’ cloud services hosted in Australia.
Defence entered two contracts with the Irish-domiciled consulting giant last month to deliver a “cloud capability” – the larger of the two deals at $13.7 million – and a “cloud tenancy build” by the end of March 2024.
The build of the cloud tenancy is expected to run for nine months and overlap with the cloud capability, which is slated to be delivered over 13 months.
The two deals come as Defence continues its search for cloud services capable of handling data at the ‘secret’ security classification, having approached the market for “diverse multi-vendor secret cloud capabilities that are hosted in Australia”.
The multi-vendor secret cloud services are expected to transform Defence’s technology operating environment, starting with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), before moving to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Defence considers the program necessary to meet the growing need for security, policy and intelligence agencies, as well as emergency services, to “collaborate effectively and efficiently at the secret security classification”.
In the future, the environment could be made available to other agencies, including the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Foreign Affairs, in line with the government’s platform reuse policy.
A Defence spokesperson told InnovationAus.com that while the larger of the two contracts with Accenture is not the result of the procurement process for secret cloud services, the firm would support an enterprise cloud services capability.
“Defence is seeking to establish an enterprise cloud services capability, in which cloud services are prioritised, governed, managed, delivered and consumed consistently across Defence,” the spokesperson said.
“The intent is to provide next generation secure, sustainable, and scalable cloud solutions to enable current and future military and business operations.
“[The contract] supports these outcomes through the management and enhancement of a multi-vendor hosting environment.”
Defence had expected to sign a contract for the IaaS platform that will underpin its planned secret-level cloud environment by the end of 2022 or early 2023, but InnovationAus.com understand the procurement process is ongoing.
The one or more cloud providers that are ultimately selected are likely to come from a group that have already had their services accredited under the government’s data sovereignty scheme known as the hosting certification framework.
Cloud providers accredited by the Digital Transformation Agency to date include Amazon Web Services, AUCloud, Microsoft, Oracle, Sliced Tech, IBM, Vault Cloud, Google and Macquarie Telecom.
In addition to the two contracts with Defence, Accenture also entered into a $5.2 million deal with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) last month for “cloud services”, though this is unrelated to the Defence capability being established.
“Accenture has been engaged to contribute skilled personnel to the delivery of cloud capabilities by ASD,” a spokesperson for the cyber spy agency told InnovationAus.com.
Accenture is involved with a range of other ongoing Defence projects, including the multi-billion-dollar enterprise resource planning system project and the $130 million security vetting system that has suffered ongoing issues since its launch in November 2022.
The consulting giant’s contracts grew by 30 per cent last financial year to $480 million, according to InnovationAus.com analysis of AusTender data. Company revenues have grown by 56 per cent since the 2019-20 financial year that covered the start of COVID-19.
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