ICT vendors set to bid for ATO's billion dollar outsourcing program

Shorlist to be completed by March 2008

The Australian Taxation Office (AT0) yesterday briefed ICT vendors on its billion dollar outsourcing plans with an expression of interest to be issued early 2008.

Dozens of vendors registered for the event including outsourcing giants IBM, CSC and incumbent supplier EDS.

The ATO is briefing potential bidders in preparation for the end of its outsourcing agreement with EDS on June 30, 2010.

The EDS deal is worth AUD$1.8 billion.

In recent months the ATO has made it clear that is is keen to replace its big bang outsourcing contract by selectively sourcing providers for three core infrastructure services.

The three areas cover networks and telephony, desktop and mobile devices, and servers to the tune of $1 billion collectively.

Each of the three bundles will be separately tendered and contracted for maximum benefit.

An ATO spokesperson confirmed a request for expressions of interest will be issued in late January with a shortlist to be completed by the end of March, 2008.

Those that are shortlisted will begin bidding for a request for tenders due for release in June, 2008.

The managed network services bundle will be the first to go to market and covers voice and mobile communications, data carriage, routing and switches.

It is an ambitious schedule with the ATO planning to make the transition to the new contract for managed network services at the end of 2008 with end-user and server computing (including mainframe and midrange) to begin in 2009.

The ATO has 26,000 desktops at numerous locations around the country.

ATO second commissioner Greg Farr said the organisation is committed to retaining its strategy, architecture, and development skills in house.

"We have a significant applications development group which will be largely kept in-house as there is a real advantage in having people that understand the business," he said.

- with Rodney Gedda