Supplying to the Commonwealth Government will be a whole new ball game for Australian resellers under a new Endorsed Supplier Arrangement (ESA) model adopted by the Department of Finance and Administration (DOFA).
Now there is far more scope for small-to-medium enterprises to develop government markets and compete against larger tradit-ional delivery partners of endorsed suppliers.
According to Rowan Macdonald, government purchasing manager at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the method of selling to government has changed forever.
"There is going to be more opportunity for the door-to-door approach," Macdonald said.
"Through a new Web site (www.ctc.gov.au), resellers will be able to keep government agencies right up to date with their latest products and services and negotiate individual contracts with far greater ease."
Former endorsement processes and the old contracts system are history. A new e-commerce model is evolving with existing eligible suppliers migrating via online or offline applications to the Competitive Tendering and Contracting (CTC) Branch of DOFA.
The most current information on the CTC site, which is managing applications and other expanded online processes in government purchasing, shows how simplified and streamlined new application systems provide increased opportunities for SMEs.
Where government agencies were once committed to buying through whole-of-government contracts from accredited suppliers, each individual department is now responsible for their own budget and tendering.
The CTC Web site, with its buyer search and application systems, operates in conjunction with the Government Information Technology and Communications framework version 3 (GITC3) and allows for electronic contracts between the buyer and supplier.
The GITC3 electronically reflects the standard Terms and Conditions (TC) between government and industry used in the purchase of information technology.
This is the opportunity for smaller resellers.
"The fact that organisations can go in and amend their information and reseller network on a minute-by-minute basis is a real benefit for small-to-medium resellers," Macdonald said.
"It is the professionally marketed, service-providing resellers that will be able to benefit from the new ESA, regardless of their size."
Where once suppliers were locked into contracts and only the big, strong and expensive resellers could afford to keep up with the tendering process, there is now more ability for proactive resellers of approved suppliers' products and services to negotiate customised solutions with the individual agencies.
Once endorsed supplier status has been achieved by suppliers, it is held in perpetuity as opposed to triennial renewal under the old system.