The New South Wale’s state government’s top-to-tail overhaul of its technology purchasing and service procurement arrangements continues to gather pace after Minister for Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet revealed Enterprise Resource Planning applications had gone live as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering.
The listing of heavy duty ERP software as a cloud-based offering on the state’s ICT Catalogue is a major step forward for government agencies, which for decades have operated heavily customised, in-house and stand-alone instances of software from the likes of giants like SAP and Oracle.
Those installations attracted hefty annual software maintenance fees and were often criticised for the cost of upgrades.
While Government News is still seeking clarification of which ERP packages will be available to agencies on a SaaS basis via the cloud, the move should allow agencies to start paying for the software they actually use, as they use it, as opposed to being stuck with an annual fee.
“Cloud computing means that we use technology products only as we need them, rather than owning and maintaining them,” Mr Perrottet said. “This gets us out of the technology business and lets us focus on the business of government.”
There is certain to be strong interest from other states and potentially local governments on just how keen the pricing of the new cloud ERP offerings is, especially as other jurisdictions knuckle down to their own negotiations with suppliers.
Significantly, while NSW has often led the charge to overhaul government technology procurement and kick-start innovation, Mr Perrottet has also pushed the point that he is happy for public sector technology purchasers outside the state to access its catalogue at the same prices.
The 30-something minister has also flicked the switch on the availability of public cloud for agencies via ‘GovDC Cloud Connect’ that provides services “through a secure link to access providers like Amazon Web Services and Rackspace.”
The availability of authorised, pre-qualified and vetted public cloud for government buyers has been a long sought after goal of many agencies that would otherwise have to go through a raft of expensive individual data governance and risk assessments – rather than just dialling in.
Some finance and supplier management systems have also been ported to the SaaS suite.
Mr Perrottet said Contingent Workforce Vendor Management System (VMS), billed as a new platform “to help agencies streamline the process of managing their contingent workforce” had been made available.
So too has an Expense Management System (EMS) that provides a platform help agencies keep track of their outgoings, with Mr Perrottet saying solutions from nine different suppliers were now on offer.
“Conceptually, agencies can pick a product from the ICT Catalogue and add it to their ‘shopping cart’,” Mr Perrottet said. “This approach to ICT means agencies can implement systems quicker and cheaper than before.”
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