Australia could benefit from closer digital relationships with English-speaking democracies according to Paul Shetler, chief digital officer at the Digital Transformation Agency. Sharing code and ideas among countries like the US, UK, Singapore and Australia would speed government transformation.
The use of open source code from the UK had shaved five months from the delivery of the Government’s Digital Marketplace, Mr Shetler said, which he described as the “single most transformative thing” that the Digital Transformation Office had delivered.
“One of the reasons we have been able to do this quickly and five months early is that we worked with our colleagues at the UK Government to reuse code. That’s exactly the sort of thing we should be doing.” he said.
“It saved us time and money and we are now able to share back. We are now collaborating with a team in London on a shared backlog,” Mr Shetler told attendees at the Open Opportunity forum in Sydney.
He said the DTA had recently held talks with the US about its micropayments approach to government procurement, “where they chunk problems down really, really, really small so you can pay for with them with a credit card.”
That approach has already been reused by the Singapore Government, he said, adding: “We are looking at potentially incorporating that into the Digital Marketplace as well.”
Meanwhile, the UK marketplace had adopted some of Australia’s innovations.
“It just makes sense. A lot of the things we’re dealing with are similar. It’s not like in the English-speaking world the things we do and our processes are radically different.
“If we can find and share what we are learning and our code it means we will be spending a lot less money getting things a lot more quickly.”
Launched in beta form in August, Australia’s Digital Marketplace initially hosted 220 pre-qualified suppliers.
At time of writing – which according to the website is still in beta – has 248 approved suppliers, 218 registered buyers (a big jump on the 176 registered buyers that the DTO had less than a month ago and had 36 current opportunities.
Since launch more than $20 million of opportunities have been funneled through the site – mainly to do with providing quick injections of digital expertise to the government. That however, remains slim pickings compared to the UK digital marketplace’s £1.5 billion worth of transactions.
However Mr Shetler said that the Australian marketplace would be expanded shortly. Next month the DTA will add categories for cyber security, data analytics and data visualization and in the New Year an expanded ideation platform will be added (at present companies with great ideas to share with government are just invited to email them across).
It will also open the market to additional sellers later on this year and is looking at the possibility of having buyers use the site to rate sellers.