NT Govt releases consultation paper into IT outsourcing

The Northern Territory government is stepping up its plans to outsource its entire IT&T services with the publication of an industry consultation paper into the process.

Released yesterday, the paper outlines the NT government's plans to outsource its IT&T in a series of contracts worth around $100 million.

According to Ken Simpson, acting CEO of the NT Department of Corporate and Information Services (DCIS), the government first announced its outsourcing strategy last December. The organisation already outsources 60 to 70 per cent, he said.

Simpson told Computerworld the government decided to move from an internal IT model to an outsourcing model to promote the development of the local IT and services industries. The organisation had already centralised its IT resources under the one department -- DCIS -- late last year, he said.

"Historically in the NT there has been a large internal service delivery capacity; the government sees as part of its strategic direction that it wants to develop the services industries in the NT," Simpson said.

"It sees using the value of its own IT work as being one way in which it can encourage the growth of services industries," he said.

Simpson said unlike other government entities, the NT government is not particularly focused on achieving cost savings through outsourcing.

"[We don't] particularly want to pay any more for IT services, but cost cutting is not a prime [motivator]," Simpson said.

According to the IT Outsourcing Strategy Consultation Paper, the NT government intends to keep total IT spending around the $100 million mark, but will shift internal expenditure from around $30 million to $5.3 million and raise private sector spending from $70 million to $95 million.

"Our expectation is that we don't spend any more than we're currently paying for at least the existing service," Simpson said.

"We're fairly confident there will be savings in some of the areas."

According to Simpson, the NT government plans to outsource its IT&T in seven different packages covering desktop services, voice, data and Internet communications, data centre management, project management and consultancy, application maintenance and development and electronic mail services. Simpson said he anticipates the first tender -- desktop services -- to be put out later this year.

"The whole process will take in the order of 18 months, but we would certainly be going to tender for the first packages this year," Simpson said.

"Whether we get to writing a contract or contracts we'll wait and see, but we'll certainly be going to tender this year on the assumption that cabinet tells us to go ahead."

Interested parties have until July 26 to respond to the consultation paper.

NT signs $2.7m messaging deal

Northern Territory government last Friday signed a contract with NT-based Computer Support & Maintenance (CSM) for the provision of messaging and groupware services for the whole of government.

In the three-year, $2.7 million a year deal, effective July 1, CSM will take over delivery of services to all NT agencies and departments. Ken Simpson, acting CEO of the NT Department of Corporate and Information Services (DCIS), said this represents close to 10,000 user seats.

Under the contract, CSM is responsible for the implementation of Lotus Notes across all desktops.

According to Simpson, while some agencies and departments already use Lotus Notes, those that do not will be moved across.

It is understood that CSM was selected for the contract ahead of other tenderers, Compaq and IBM Global Services Australia.

Simpson said the deal is the first government outsourcing contract since the outsourcing strategy was announced last December.

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