The Australian Internet Industry Association (AIIA) has published a 'wish list' for the forthcoming federal election, putting a major focus on reducing government tendering costs. But several channel representatives raised doubts about its ability to achieve its goals.
AIIA CEO, Sheryle Moon, called on the Federal Government to reduce the cost of tendering for the ICT industry to under nine per cent of total contract value by 2010 by implementing a best practice framework. Commander general manager of enterprise sales, Steve Evans, was skeptical about how this would be achieved.
"If you had a $100 million contract, would you necessarily be spending $9 million?" he said. "How could you police something like that? If we see a tender as quite strategic we'll invest a lot of money in it. Other times we might invest enough to just be there."
Integ ACT sales manager, Nick Reavell, also expressed some doubts about how the AIIA could determine how much tendering cost. AIIA general manager of strategy and policy services, James McAdam, said the nine per cent fi gure had been arrived at through consultation with its members.
"The feedback was that the cost is between 10-20 per cent," he said. "For smaller organizations in particular, 10 per cent is a real threshold, which is why we plumped for the nine per cent figure."
Asked who could police the value of tenders, McAdam volunteered the Federal Government's Audit Office.
Data #3 managing director, John Grant, who also works with the AIIA, said contracts were only one element of cost that could be driven down.
"Everything from the initial concept to the conceptualisation of the solution, then the negotiation of the contract, is cost," he said.
Grant said a move to standardised processes, such as common documentation and contracts, could also play a part but Reavell disputed this.
"Defence has come up with a standard template, for example, that doesn't eliminate all the work, but most of it," he said. "You look at the government tender site and these are vast documents but, by and large, they're 80 or 90 per cent the same."
The AIIA identified four overall themes: sustainable environment, industry sector growth, workforce issues and shaping the business environment. Moon also called for accelerated investment in the development of business skills for Australia's ICT entrepreneurs. She said the government should support the development of a national framework for industry collaboration.