The government’s new Cloud Marketplace won’t be up and running until next year, despite initial plans for its launch next month.
The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has been planning to scrap its existing Cloud Services Panel, used by government departments and agencies to access cloud services, and replace it with a new Cloud Marketplace.
This would include a revamp of sellers, with existing suppliers forced to reapply, and expansion of its services to include cloud consulting as well.
After releasing a request for information discussion paper in October last year, the Cloud Marketplace had originally been planned to launch by June this year. But this was delayed and after a review, will now be launched by the end of March next year, with the existing Cloud Services Panel extended for another year to cover the delay.
The delays are due to the “significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented disruptions being faced by most workplaces”. But the launch of the marketplace had already been delayed before the impact of COVID-19 was felt in Australia.
In February, the DTA said the launch of the Cloud Marketplace would be pushed back by about six months with a need to change its scope and approach to market after feedback from stakeholders.
This was done to “simplify the scope” of the project and “align more closely with the value-for-money assessment the Commonwealth Procurement Rules require”.
The original plan was to also include “cloud-centric managed services” in the marketplace, but this appears to have been scrapped.
The DTA issued a request for tender last week for cloud service providers to apply to be a part of the new Cloud Marketplace, with submissions closing in late June. It plans to have the new marketplace up and running by “early 2021”.
“In establishing the new [Cloud Marketplace], DTA aims to establish a procurement arrangement that is user friendly, efficient and responsive to enable the Australian government’s investment in and commitment to cloud computing solutions,” the tender said.
“The CMP will be established as a whole-of-government cooperative procurement arrangement for cloud offerings to Australian government agencies and affiliates.”
The marketplace will provide access to two offerings: cloud services and cloud consulting.
The current Cloud Services Panel hosts 244 suppliers offering more than 500 cloud services. Its providers have been updated just twice since it was launched in early 2015 by the Department of Finance.
The new version will be more flexible, provide better access to government contracts for small-to-medium businesses, provide a quicker process and better value for money for government departments. The panel is currently based on the NIST definition of a cloud service, but this traditional view needs to be challenged, the DTA said.
Vendors listed on the new Cloud Marketplace will be allowed to provide a maximum of 25 services unless an agreement is made with the DTA to provide more.
They will have to prove that their cloud services are hosted in Australia, undertake gateway certification by the ASD, an independent IT security audit and prove “continuing compliance” with the ASD’s baseline cybersecurity strategies.
The Cloud Marketplace tender will try out the new public beta of the Digital Tendering Platform for making submissions.
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