Local companies will battle it out with multinationals for a share of the $175 million expected to be spent each year by NSW government on PCs, notebooks and servers.
Known as Contract 2000, a request for tender was issued for the new centralised purchasing scheme last week. It will run for three years but there are two 12-month extension options. The contract also covers the supply of thin clients, PDAs, peripherals, installation services and end-of-life disposal.
The request for tender was initially due back in April but was delayed. A NSW Department of Commerce spokesperson said this was because of complications associated with the introduction of centralised purchasing.
"The Government is going to market as a single buyer with standard specifications for personal computers, laptops and low-end file servers," she said.
"This is a significant change in the method of procurement and has required inputs from the NSW Chief Information Officer's Executive Council and many government agencies."
The NSW Government is one of the largest purchasers of computers in Australia and currently has a fleet of about 280,000 machines. All NSW departments and eligible clients of the State Contracts Control Board can purchase through Contract 2000. The biggest spenders are expected to be the Department of Education and Training and NSW Health.
Although the tender is open to new competitors, the current list of 13 suppliers is not expected to change much.
While the amount of money on the table makes it very attractive to all potential suppliers, few if any will be as desperate to win a significant slice of the action as Optima. Government accounts for about half of the NSW-based manufacturer's revenues and it is in need of a shot in the arm following the recent release of its financial results for the year to June 30. Revenues dropped by an alarming 25.8 per cent to $93.85 million. It made losses of more than $1.05 million compared to net profits of $1.1 million in the previous financial year.
Speaking when the results were released earlier this month, chairman and managing director, Cornel Ung, blamed significant price decreases due to competition from the multinationals. But he pointed to deals already signed with ACT Department of Education and Training and NSW Road Traffic Authority as reasons for optimism. Significant Contract 2000 orders would further help steady the ship.
Request for tenders had been due to close on October 18 but that has now been extended. The new date was not available at the time of going to press. Cornel Ung had not answered requests for comment.