Brisbane-based Microsoft partner, Speedwell, has wrapped up a major project for the Federal Government, rolling out the Department of Health’s new online mental health portal this week.
Speedwell teamed up with local digital agency, Liquid Interactive, for the project, which was procured via the Government’s Digital Marketplace platform, which is aimed at seeing smaller players vie for public sector projects.
The new digital mental health gateway, headtohealth.gov.au, was launched this week for Mental Health Week.
For Speedwell CEO, Bruce Young, winning the gateway project had been the company’s biggest success in 20 years.
“This was a major contract for our two companies,” Young said. “We employ around 40 people each, so in the scheme of government suppliers we’re relatively small and this proves that we can punch above our weight.
“What’s great about this website is the decision-making support tools. Sam the chatbot provides a warm, conversational feel and allows users to anonymously research and find relevant information on mental health,” he said.
Australia’s Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, met with staff from the two companies on 11 October to congratulate them on the delivery of the online gateway.
“It is great to be here today to meet the Speedwell and Liquid Interactive teams and hear about their success,” Taylor said in a statement.
“This is just the kind of local consortia we want to see selling us their ideas, leveraging their innovations and using the productivity that only small, agile companies can achieve.”
The project’s completion comes as the Government talks up the work that has been procured by smaller tech players via the Digital Transformation Agency’s Digital Marketplace, along with new procurement rules aimed at giving small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) like Speedwell opportunities to win Government contracts.
Since its inception last year, the Marketplace has seen more than $44 million worth of contracts awarded, and 78 per cent of those, worth $34 million, have gone to smaller businesses, according to Taylor.
The Digital Marketplace has also been given some new categories for digital business, such as cyber security, data science, content and publishing, and marketing and communications.
In August, the Government went even further to get smaller IT players into the public sector game, revealing procurement changes that will target an additional $650 million annually – or about 10 per cent of the country’s Federal IT procurement budget – at the Australian SMB tech sector.
The Government also moved to cap Commonwealth IT contracts at a maximum value of $100 million, or three years’ duration, while IT panels will also be reduced in size.
While it remains to be seen just how effective the moves will be at giving SMBs a better chance at vying for lucrative Government contracts, the new rules will allow smaller players like Speedwell and Liquid Interactive to bid for components of larger projects.