The federal government is looking to launch a new cloud services marketplace next year to help agencies more efficiently purchase cloud-based technology from SMEs.
The Digital Transformation Agency has issued a request for information discussion paper on the new cloud marketplace, which will replace the current cloud services panel.
The cloud services panel, launched in 2015 by the Department of Finance and now overseen by the DTA, governs government procurement of cloud services and cloud consulting services.
It currently hosts more than 240 sellers offering over 500 cloud services, and has facilitated over $130 million in government cloud contracts.
The panel has been updated twice to include more sellers, and its current term is set to expire in March 2020, with one 12-month extension available.
“We know the government demand for cloud services is changing. Technology and industry are evolving and we’re working to create a better place for agencies to buy cloud services,” the DTA said in a statement.
The new cloud marketplace panel sourcing arrangement would be more flexible, provide better access for SMEs and reduce timelines and costs for government in procuring cloud offerings.
The current panel is based on the NIST definition of what a cloud service should be, but this traditional view is being challenged, the DTA said.
But as the discussion paper outlines, there are a number of drivers for change making it necessary for the panel to be revamped.
These include the emergence of newer services offering cloud-based access to ICT apps, process and functions, more Australia SMEs in the sector, and a shift towards marketplace digital sourcing arrangements.
Because of these factors, the government has decided to scrap the panel and replace it with a cloud marketplace by June 2020.
The DTA is planning to conduct a two-stage procurement approach to launching and operating the new cloud marketplace.
The first stage would see an open tender process to select the sellers that will be offering cloud services on the platform. This would establish a “panel sourcing arrangement of qualified sellers assessed as capable of providing cloud offerings to government”. This process is expected to be completed by early next year, with the marketplace to be operational by July.
Part two involves the DTA reviewing and approving the cloud services to be offered by the selected sellers. The number of cloud offerings listed by each seller would be limited by the DTA.
All current sellers on the DTA’s cloud services panel are to be kicked off the service when it comes to an end and will have to reapply to be a part of the new marketplace.