Digital tender platform’s teething issues


Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

The government’s new digital tender platform is experiencing teething issues during its first public use, forcing a delay to applications for suppliers on the cloud marketplace.

It was announced in May that potential suppliers for the new Cloud Marketplace would have to submit applications on the public beta of the online Digital Tendering Platform (DTP), the first time it has been used by the public.

The platform was built by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) specifically for the Cloud Marketplace and is planned to be used more widely in the future.

But many of the suppliers have encountered issues and bugs on the platform, leading the DTA to push back the closing date for applications.

Canberra Parliament House
Platform problems: The government’s digital tendering platform has run into problems

The Cloud Marketplace tender will now close on 13 July, giving suppliers and the DTA more time to iron out some of the problems with the new platform.

The DTA declined to comment on the new platform beyond the information it has provided to tenderers, with a spokesperson saying they were unable to do so due to probity requirements.

The DTA had welcomed feedback on the new platform, with a dedicated email address working with stakeholders who encountered problems.

“The DTA has received a high volume of clarification questions and support queries relating to the request for tender and on the use of the DTP for the submission of tenders. The DTA is continuing to process these queries and will be issuing further clarification addendums in the next few days,” the DTA said in an addendum to the tender.

“In consideration of the time required to process these queries and to provide Tenderers with additional time to address the upcoming addendums, the DTA is further extending the Tender closing time.”

Some problems encountered by suppliers include a range of difficulties in completing the signed declaration and those with pop-ups blocked being unable to access the platform.

The new platform has encountered problems when users make use of the autocomplete data option in their browser, with this information not being saved. The DTA has advised suppliers to delete the autocomplete data and manually re-enter it.

There was also a “version conflict” with the declaration wording on the platform, which was investigated and resolved as of 29 June. Tenderers who had submitted an application before this date have been contacted and will have to redo the declaration.

There was a planned outage of the Digital Tender Platform on Monday due to a software upgrade to the business.gov.au environment, where the platform is hosted.

Software vendors trying to apply to be on the new Cloud Marketplace also encountered issues accessing an industry briefing for the tender, held on Zoom.

Due to the video conferencing platform’s limit on attendees, many suppliers were locked out of the briefing. The DTA said the full briefing and Q&A was made public to all potential tenderers.

The new Cloud Marketplace is an update of the cloud services panel, with all 244 existing suppliers having to reapply in order to be a part of it.

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