Like most people in Australia and overseas, I tend to avoid politics like the plague. Not because I am apathetic, rather that in running a business, the Federal Government is of little relevance.
This rule applies as much to the current Malcolm Turnbull Government as it did the previous Labor Government.
Having said that however, I believe we as a channel community need to become more attentive to the goings on in Canberra because recently, the government has been increasing its focus on smaller IT providers.
Given the recent issues crippling the government from an IT perspective, and dealing with the big providers, it isn’t surprising to see that Turnbull and co are desperately seeking a good news story out of this.
If all of this noise turns into policy, this could represent big business for many of us across the country.
Currently, the government in Australia is spending around $6.2 billion per year on IT, with investments set to increase to $9 billion this year.
This represents a huge technology pie for the channel, with many different slices for partners to chase.
For those unaware, Assistant Minister for Digital Innovation, Angus Taylor, recently revealed his plans to do away with large projects, instead breaking them down into smaller deals, of which the government will encourage smaller providers to bid on.
Contracts worth between $80,000 and $5 million are the sweet spot for the government in this respect.
Because reducing the number of deals that — almost by default — go to large players such as IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, will help improve competition and give Australian companies a fair chance to compete.
Not only does it increase the chances of success for smaller providers, such a move helps flip the entire bidding process, opening up the door for independent software vendors (ISVs) as a result.
Looking ahead, the government wants local businesses to build platforms instead of buying them from vendors directly. Sounds great right? Unfortunately, there are a couple of issues which could cause problems.
Chief among which is the Minister’s assertion that all future programs will be lead by the agency to which the belong.
The issue with this is that the agencies will have to get their act together and get on board with this program. Anyone who has ever dealt with bureaucrats will tell you they can be averse to change.
Also the country’s auditor recently told parliament that the Tax Office and Department of Immigration have still not fully implemented the Australian Signals Directorate’s (ASD) top four strategies after being given three years to do so.
Now, the ASD’s strategies are not as easy to roll out as many people think, but two audits and four years have shown that some of these departments are struggling with mandatory controls.
The other issue is a PR one. Who wants to be the next IBM or HPE when another government program goes up in flames, not me that’s for sure.
On balance though, I think we all need to start paying more attention to these issues because there could be good money in it for a lot of us and knowing what is coming down the pipe could be very lucrative indeed.