Patience is a virtue, but it can often be a necessity when dealing with government departments.
For Sentor Communications, being patient has finally paid dividends, with the company recently being awarded a major contract to supply its Streamlink product and provide associated services to two Victorian government departments.
The deal was signed after a 12-month pilot program involving Sentor and Corporate Resource Agency (CRA), which supplies corporate support services to the Victorian Treasury and Premier's department.
Martin Fisk, Sentor's managing director, told ARN his company was approached by CRA to take part in the project. "The aim of the joint project was to increase efficiency and eliminate duplication in the purchasing process," Fisk said. "CRA took the initiative and instigated an activity-based costing analysis and accordingly set out to find a way to re-engineer the process.
"After they had done some preliminary work, they found they needed a software tool to help them do that and they found us."
According to Fisk, the 12-month pilot program that followed was "very successful" and achieved a "remarkable" improvement in the purchasing processes of the two departments.
But a key contributor to that success was Sentor's ability to customise Streamlink to suit the government environment.
Streamlink is a Lotus Domino-based intranet application designed to streamline and automate internal organisational purchasing processes. Extranet connections can then extend those workflow management processes to the supply chain for increased efficiency.
Since the first iteration of the package was released in 1994, it has attracted a number of large corporations and consulting firms including Arthur Andersen, Coopers & Lybrand, Citibank and Qantas.
But the latest deal is the first time it has been used by a government agency. Fisk said customising for the environment included applying government processing rules - such as the protocol stipulating that projects valued over a certain amount must go to tender - to the software.
It was also adapted to interface with the departments' existing Oracle Financials system.
However, despite the customisation involved, Fisk claims Streamlink was chosen ahead of a competitive offering from an overseas vendor because it was delivered faster and cost less.
Having laid the groundwork with the Victorian government win, Fisk now hopes to land similar deals with other local and international statutory bodies.
"[The project] has led to the development of an online purchasing system which we believe is suitable for governments throughout Australia and possibly overseas," he said.