Selling to govt: Not simple and not transparent


James Riley
Editorial Director

Nearly three-quarters of individuals participating in the InnovationAus’ Selling to Government 2020 survey say the process for selling technology into the federal government is neither simple, nor transparent.

And almost 90 per cent of respondents believe the federal government favours larger multinational technology providers over Australian providers of technology.

The results, which will make uncomfortable reading for federal bureaucrats and policymakers, are based on responses to an online survey conducted by InnovationAus over the ten-day period November 20 and November 30.

Readers are invited to download a PDF copy of the survey results here.

Selling to Government survey results

Much of the insight that can be derived from this survey is contained in the comments that respondents were able to leave as part of their answers.

If there was a prevalent theme to emerge, it was that a pre-existing professional relationship with someone in government is the single most important factor in successfully selling to government.

The survey participants represented a broad cross section of primarily SME companies. 72 per cent of respondents self-described as SMEs, 12 per cent self-described as Australian domiciled multinationals and 9 per cent were sole traders.

Some 65 per cent of respondents described themselves as a CEO or managing director level. Some 73 per cent of those surveyed worked at companies with fewer than 50 employees, excluding a further 8 per cent who were some traders.

In the absence of other data on the experience of Australian SMEs selling into government, InnovationAus used the online survey to test the temperature of sentiment among these smaller companies of their experience in bidding for government business.

The results are unsurprising in that they confirm the deep well of frustration among Australian tech companies, who don’t believe that the federal government process for buying technology is either fair or transparent.

That’s the damning assessment of SME tech companies who are “inside the system” as users of that federal government tech procurement process.

The fact that 88 per cent of these SME’s also believe that the federal government favours larger multinational tech providers must sure be a concern – that the system is broken or corrupted.

While 45 per cent of those surveyed were registered on the federal government’s digital marketplace, only 29 per cent had applied for any opportunities in the past 12 months. Less than10 per cent of respondents had successfully sold a technology product or service to the federal government in the past 12 months.

An overwhelming 92 per cent of survey participants agree with the proposition that governments in Australia should use their purchasing power as an industry development lever to help build a strong Australian technology sector with a strong sovereign technology capability.

Assessments of the Digital Transformation Agency’s Digital Marketplace are quite damning but offer actionable insights for policymakers.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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