Tax looks to outsource mid-range

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is likely to outsource management of its fleet of mid-range servers to EDS in an effort to cut costs and consolidate vendor and contractor management.

The shift will see around 1500 mainly HP machines (currently leased from EDS) and 48 contractors currently managed by Tax move into the warm embrace of EDS under a further expansion of the ATO's $350 million Change Program. If it goes ahead, the deal will give EDS all of ATO's IT infrastructure from desktop to mainframe.

Taxation CIO Bill Gibson has confirmed the move is under consideration saying the Tax office is looking at the options available to it.

"The only element [of ATO infrastructure] EDS does not manage for us is mid-range components. We are looking for a single accountability for delivery of end-to-end service levels. But we have not got a point of clarity on it. It's still only a discussion ... we are not [holding] commercial negotiations at the moment," Gibson said.

Sources close to Tax said it was no secret the ATO was looking for a "one throat to choke" style of IT management which did not afford competitors or internal contracted staff the opportunity to blame each other for service delivery levels.

Gibson confirmed the ATO had also had initial discussions with both the Commonwealth Public Sector Union and the Australian Services Union to keep them abreast of the way the ATO is moving, adding that Tax had retained a high proportion of contractors to avoid redundancies.

Gibson refused to say how much the current server contract staff costs or what level of savings were anticipated, saying it was not in his commercial interest to reveal figures.

"When you are running a big organization it is more about assurance," he said. EDS declined to comment.

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