A Queensland government review of its software procurement is unlikely to lead to a change of suppliers.
Instead, the government will provide partnership opportunities for local IT companies seeking to win a greater slice of the public sector procurement pie.
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie announced the review in May after local companies complained multinational providers dominated the state's supplier list.
Beattie said the goal is to put strategies in place that allow smaller companies to partner with multinationals when bidding for government contracts.
"Of course we want to see the local ICT industry grow; the [companies] are world-class, but we live in a global economy so partnering is the best way to move forward," he said.
Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) national director John Grant has been participating in the ongoing review with a third meeting between government and industry scheduled for August.
Grant questioned the viability of partnering, claiming that local companies will simply end up being subcontractors.
"Subcontracting works in the construction industry because often the lead players do not have the capability to do certain tasks in-house - in the ICT industry the large players have the majority of skills in-house," he said.
"Our first concerns are that the state's ICT industry is fragmented, our second concern is the way government ICT dollars are spent, because it affects industry development.
"By consolidating purchasing the government limits suppliers."
Home-grown software company Technology One has no interest in bidding with large multinationals on government contracts and will resist Beattie's partnering push.
Technology One chairman Adrian Di Marco said the premier should be ensuring there is a level playing field for tenders that allow local companies to bid in their own right.
"Queensland is home to some of Australia's most successful IT companies, providers that beat international players on a daily basis," Di Marco said. "They do this without support from the state government which is a testament to how strong their solutions really are.
"It is time for the premier to start backing the local IT industry and providing it with a real chance of winning government business. If he is not prepared to do this, he should stop talking about the Smart State."
Off to Samoa
Just to prove Queensland IT shops have what it takes to win "whole-of-government" outsourcing contracts, software company Technology One recently inked a five-year contract with the Samoan government to provide financial management, payroll and HR solutions across all 19 ministeries.
The Samoan government employs more than 6000 full-time and part-time staff to service the country's population of 180,000. The contract with Technology One is to replace the legacy systems within the Ministry of Finance, as well as a number of smaller accounting systems run by other ministries.
Technology One was unable to confirm how much the contract is worth. Project director Lusia Sefo Leau said the revamp will enable the government to ensure one source of financial data is used to support decision making and allow consistent, timely and reliable financial reports to be submitted to both parliament and ministries.