The largest electronic marketplace in Australia has been launched to help government agencies in the state of New South Wales (NSW) conduct Internet business with the public sector.
Systems integrator Logica Australia headed a consortium of companies in getting the smartbuy system up and running for the NSW Government's Department of Public Works and Services (DPWS) within 90 days of winning the five-year, A$25 million (US$13.8 million) contract. Designed by German IT firm Intershop Communications AG, the smartbuy marketplace can handle 11 million transactions a year and will save the DPWS an estimated A$400 million annually.
Logica will continue to provide full operational management and services for the remainder of the contract, with several SMEs and small regional companies delivering business processing re-engineering, Web development, supplier and purchasing services, training and cataloguing.
"From a global perspective, I can say this is one of the most advanced programs of its kind in the world, never mind the Southern Hemisphere or government space," said Royston Hoggarth, group marketing director, Logica Australasia.
He called smartbuy a collaborative process which would drive down costs into the future and said Logica would be looking to use knowledge gained from the project to secure similar contracts with government departments around the world.
Smartbuy enables buyers to search catalogues, issue orders and purchase goods or services from approved government suppliers. They will be able to pay online from early next year.
"By using the Internet, smartbuy eliminates time and distance barriers, enabling regional businesses and SMEs to compete for government business on a level playing field with metropolitan suppliers," said Morris Iemma, Minister for Public Works and Services.
He added that the NSW Government spends A$17 billion each year buying goods and services, estimating that smartbuy would halve transaction costs.
David Lewis, group general manager, e-business solutions, DPWS, said smartbuy will be easy to use, offers substantial functionality within the box and can be customized to suit individual processes. He said training programs are available but predicted it will take a couple of years for some small suppliers to adjust their systems.