The Australian Federal Government has renewed its whole of government volume sourcing arrangement (VSA) with Microsoft Australia, signing on for another three years.
The licensing agreement will be managed by Data#3 with partners including DQA, oobe and Veritec primed to work with agencies as they deploy cloud services.
This marks the fourth iteration of the VSA, spanning 98 federal agencies with a primary focus on Microsoft 365, and providing access to Office 365, Windows 10 and enhanced secure mobility through the cloud. It is also expected to accelerate adoption of Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365.
“These partners already have impressive cloud credentials in the public sector – DQA for example is the key partner supporting the DTA (Digital Transformation Agency) which was the first Federal Government agency to deploy Microsoft 365 Protected. Oobe meanwhile is working with Cenitex to help secure cloud services across Victoria’s state government agencies,” Microsoft said in a blog.
The renewed deal will further bolster government business opportunities for Microsoft’s 10,000 strong Australian partner base.
Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall said the agreement is an important opportunity for Microsoft and its partner community to help develop transformative digital solutions that will benefit all Australians.
“We are proud to have been a strategic partner of the Australian Government for many years, and I deeply appreciate the continued trust that this latest agreement signals. It is my strongly held opinion that for Australia to sustain its many years of economic success we need to work together to digitally transform the public and private sectors, injecting efficiencies, infusing intelligence, and ensuring inclusion,” he said.
According to Microsoft “the agreement will make it much simpler for them [partners] to do business with government agencies, while local independent software vendors will also benefit through streamlined access to Microsoft platforms as the basis to develop and deploy transformative solutions for the public sector.”
Less than two percent of the Commonwealth will remain on legacy on-premises desktop licenses.
Microsoft will also commit to working with the government to upskill public sector personnel, offering more than 1400 subsidised Azure training places and funding to support up to 100 new trainees in the ACT within the next two years.
Furthermore, Veritec and oobe have also been recognised as the first partners in the ACT to take on Microsoft trainees under the Microsoft Traineeship program.
According DQA CTO Jean-Pierre Simonis the agreement is a great catalyst for its customers to move to the cloud.
“It simplifies everything from a procurement perspective and more importantly allows them to modernise and transition legacy technologies to allow departments to be more effective and efficient in the secure delivery and support of their services,” he said.
Oobe CTO Steven Tys added the discussions it was having with its federal and state government customers is ‘when’ they’ll be adopting Microsoft 365, not ‘if’.
“We’re all about accelerating time to adoption so that our customers can realise value sooner. Working closely with Microsoft and bringing our security credentials to bear on 365 deployments means that we can provide government-ready, Protected-level configurations to our customers faster and at a fraction of the cost,” Tys said.
Veritec itself has been behind several long-term engagements with agencies including the Department of Health, Australian Electoral Commission and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resource.
“Agreements like this one will allow us to deepen our partnership with Microsoft and provide even greater value to our customers. Not only will it allow us to provide greater ease of access to licensing and more value to our customers, but it will also make it easier for the Australian Government to utilise Microsoft’s platforms,” Veritec CEO, Keiran Mott, said.
Worrall reiterated Microsoft’s extensive investment in Australia such as the Canberra based Microsoft Azure region to support national critical computing; working with Governments and private enterprise to elevate the nation’s digital skills; support enterprise innovation and start up communities through its Reactor and Scale Up initiatives; and its Microsoft Technology Centre.
“Whilst these investments – and many others like them – are important, we believe that for Australia to truly prosper in the digital age we need to acknowledge that it is people first, technology second. This is why at the heart of this agreement is a commitment to help government and by relation Australian citizens across the country to develop the skills that will be so essential to our continued prosperity,” he said.
The news comes as Microsoft rescinded plans to stop providing partners with internal use rights on products, following global uproar from the channel ecosystem.
The U-turn, delivered on the eve of Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas, comes in direct response to escalating tensions among partners, with an online petition registering more than 5000 signatures in protest.