The process of re-tendering $1 billion worth of IT contracts by the South Australian government may not reach completion until early 2007.
The contracts are being put to competitive tender following the breakup of the state's major outsourcing deal with EDS, which was signed back in the late 1990s. While the government has been under pressure to have up to a dozen contracts signed by year's end, the state's chief information officer (CIO), Grantly Mailes, said the focus was on doing deals well rather than quickly.
Mailes said the state's outsourcing deal with EDS didn't expire until January 2007 and the government would use this time to get good deals for taxpayers.
Put simply, he would not be pressured into a bad deal just to meet a deadline.
Since the breakup of the $90 million-a-year EDS contract, the state's Opposition had been critical of the government for delaying new contracts.
It has also claimed the local technology services industry was being left out in the cold.
However, the SA Office of the CIO has used this year to undertake an assessment of the state's IT needs, with Mailes claiming the government now had an annual spend of about $250 million to engage in multi-sourcing.
He said a number of software deals had been signed in recent months including a $30 million contract with Microsoft and a network management agreement with Novell.
"Initially, there were going to be 12 contracts available but that will be reduced to about eight," Mailes said.
The government would not be rushed into finalising all of the contracts this year, he said. It was acutely aware of the transition process and wanted to allow plenty of time to ensure the changeover was a smooth one.
In the past month, Mailes said, the government had signed a PABX maintenance support contract with NEC.
A couple more would be completed by early next year. He also said the state's main telecommunications contract would not be signed until late 2006.