Government to establish ‘cloud marketplace’

New arrangement to offer more flexibility than current cloud services panel

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is preparing to launch an online marketplace that government entities can use to purchase cloud services.

The marketplace, which is expected to be operational by July 2020, will replace the existing Cloud Services Panel (CSP).

The DTA in 2015 established the panel, expanding the roster of service providers twice: In 2016 and 2018. The existing CSP offers around 500 services from 240 sellers, according to the DTA. So far, government agencies have purchased some $134 million of services from the CSP.

The panel is due to expire in March 2020, with one 12-month extension available, according to the DTA.

A discussion paper released by the agency said that it had identified a number of changes in the cloud landscape since the CSP’s launch. The panel was based on the US National Institute of Standards and Technology definition of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS cloud services.

However, in the years since the 2015 launch of the panel the idea of ‘anything as a service’ (XaaS) has gained traction, the discussion paper states, with “newer services offering cloud-based access to ICT applications, processes, functions and network connectivity is challenging the traditional NIST-based view of cloud services”.

Another key change is the increasing shift to a more flexible ‘marketplace’ approach for digital services instead of a traditional panel arrangement, the paper states. An online marketplace can offer “more flexibility and choice” through making it easier to add new vendors, as well as “easier quoting and contracting process and better service catalogues supported by automated sourcing platform and processes.”

Other changes include more Australian SMEs offering cloud services, leveraging the infrastructure larger cloud providers, updated licensing models by leading cloud vendors that make is easier to get better value for money, and buyer interest in “more evolved” cloud services.

The first step in launching the new marketplace is planned to be an open request for tender process to create a list of service providers to potentially participate in the new panel arrangement. That process is expected to kick off early next year.

A second stage will involve adding specific offerings from those companies to a service catalogue. The DTA said it will conduct ‘just in time’ assessments of services and decide whether a particular offering represents value for money. The agency plans to limit the number of services provided by each vendor to keep the marketplace easy to navigate and efficient.

The marketplace will have three major categories: Cloud services, cloud consulting services, and cloud-centric managed services.

Last year the DTA released a new government strategy that calls for the public cloud services to be employed whenever possible.

The documents states that Commonwealth departments and agencies “should consider public cloud first and in preference to any other cloud deployment model” although they need to ensure that any service “has the appropriate security implementation for the information being handled.”

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Tags governmentCloudcloud computingICT procurementDigital Transformation Agency (DTA)

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