IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have joined the government’s panel of IT service providers that will undertake the billion-dollar overhaul of Australia’s welfare payments system.
Both vendors join Capgemini and Acccenture on the panel of service providers taking part in the project, with the Department of Human Services (DHS) saying that the two additional entries will be among those the government can call upon for systems integration work for the project.
“Through the Systems Integrator tender process, we have also invited IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise into negotiations to join Capgemini and Accenture on a panel of Systems Integrators,” the Department said in a statement.
“This panel will be available to call on to deliver systems integration work over the life of the programme, noting no work has yet been awarded.
“We will work with all our commercial partners to develop a modern, flexible and sustainable solution that will transform the way we do business and deliver services to the community,” it said.
The DHS, which is overseeing the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Programme (WPIT), began procurement for a Systems Integrator Panel for the landmark project in August, releasing a request for tender.
On 31 October, it was announced by Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, that the two highest-ranked tenderers in the project, Capgemini and Accenture, had been invited by the Department to participate in a “Competitive Dialogue”, subject to commercial negotiations.
“Each firm will work closely with the Department of Human Services in an innovative ‘try, before you buy’ scenario. This progressive approach to procurement is very much reflective of the transformative principles underpinning this reform,” said Tudge at the time.
During the so-called “Competitive Dialogue”, Capgemini and Accenture will work with the department, and its preferred core software vendor, SAP Australia, on the design work that will play a key part of the next phase of the project.
“At the end of this process, the department will look to select one firm to work with us on the next phase of the programme,” DHS said.
The government moved to overhaul its ageing Centrelink payments system last year, launching a multi-year project that has been slated as the biggest government IT project in the country.
The multi-year project will be delivered over a number of tranches. Tranche one is very close to completion, according to Tudge, and tranche two of the WPIT project is scheduled to commence next year.
It is understood that the four IT providers on the panel, Capgemini, Accenture, IBM, and HPE will have the opportunity to compete for work in a number of tranches over the next several years of the project.
IBM's inclusion on the panel follows the fallout of the 2016 online Census outage, which has seen both the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, point the finger at the technology company, which was contracted by the ABS to lead the project.