Australian govt signals move towards more SME IT innovation

In a great leap forward for innovative SMEs in the IT space, the Australian federal government has signalled a more level playing field for talented companies with the brains but not necessarily the billion dollar brawn.

Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor launched the new approach which will cap IT contracts at $100 million and free an additional $650 million for Australian small to medium enterprises each year. The Report from the ICT Procurement Taskforce is the result of consultation with government and industry to address issues in the existing procurement model, and increase the portion of the Commonwealth’s $6.5 billion annual IT spend won by SMEs by 10%.

The ICT report follows the senate inquiry into the government’s digital transformation projects.

The new procurement system aims to:

• Encourage competition

• Be innovative — “iterate often, fail fast”

• Be structured in a way that enables SMEs to compete fairly to directly provide components of significant ICT projects

• Be outcomes focused

• Use open standards and ‘cloud first’ approaches

• Minimise cyber security risks

• Not duplicate the building of platforms that have been built by other agencies.

This approach, in the words of the ICT Report itself, “will also increase public transparency and accountability for expenditure, decision-making processes and outcomes in line with emerging international best practices such as the open contracting data standard. Increased transparency of government ICT projects would strengthen the government’s commitment to openness for digital innovation.”

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