Australian government considers new ‘Cloud Marketplace’ to match buyers’ changing XaaS models

Profile picture for user ddpreez By Derek du Preez October 21, 2019
Summary:
Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency notes that the current Cloud Services Panel - which hosts over 500 cloud services - will expire in 2020.

Australia

The Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is looking to change and modernise the way that it offers cloud services to buyers across the public sector, in the form of a newly created ‘Cloud Marketplace’. 

DTA has put forward a discussion paper that calls for feedback on the newly proposed Marketplace, which is set to replace the government’s current Cloud Services Panel (CSP). 

CSP was launched in 2015 to provide cloud services and cloud consulting services to government buyers, but it was based on the 2011 US National Institute of Standards and Technology definition of what a cloud service should be in the traditional sense (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS). 

CSP currently hosts over 500 Cloud Services from more than 240 sellers, with over 70% of sellers being SMEs. It has facilitated over $130 million in government cloud contracts since starting in 2015. 

However, DTA notes that there is now an emergence of newer services offering cloud-based access to ICT applications, processes, functions and network connectivity that is challenging these definitions - described as ‘anything-as-a-service’ (Xaas). 

The Australian government hopes that a new Cloud Marketplace can better help buyers take advantage of their XaaS needs, given that the current CSP expires in 2020. 

The discussion paper states: 

We have decided to approach the market to create a new Cloud Marketplace (CMP) panel sourcing arrangement to better suit these industry developments and respond to changing Buyer needs.

The proposals

On the drivers for change and updating CSP, the Australian Government notes: 

  • More Australian SMEs are entering the cloud market to offer derived and value-added Cloud Services by leveraging other major providers for back-end compute requirements.

  • Digital sourcing arrangements are shifting to a ‘marketplace’ concept, from the traditional panel arrangements. A marketplace offers Sellers and Buyers more flexibility and choice through simpler and frequent Seller onboarding, easier quoting and contracting process and better service catalogues supported by automated sourcing platform and processes.

  • Leading vendors are updating their licensing models and reseller channels to promote cloud-based delivery and to maintain and expand their respective market-shares. This provides more opportunities to get better value-for-money when buying Cloud Services.

  • Security accreditation, location and transparency of deployment models are key considerations when agencies buy Cloud Offerings. Easy access and confirmation of security measures will remain a requirement of Buyers.

  • Buyer demands are also changing. The influence of industry developments and technological advances are pushing Buyers to look for more evolved Cloud Services. Buyers are also showing an increased readiness to adopt Cloud-centric Managed Services when outsourcing their ICT requirements.

The discussion document adds that the aim of the proposed Marketplace will be to achieve value for money outcomes for government agencies when buying cloud offerings by: 

  • establishing a sourcing arrangement flexible enough to accommodate industry developments and technology advances in cloud computing

  • giving Buyers access to a broader range of Cloud Offerings

  • simplifying the buying process

  • promoting increased participation from Australian SMEs

  • providing a modern, flexible, competitive and accessible Cloud Offerings marketplace to Buyers

  • shortening Buyer timelines and reducing costs when buying Cloud Offerings.

The Australian Government is inviting submissions from anyone interested in providing their input and feedback on the proposed Marketplace. Responses to the discussion paper should be made by email to CloudProcurement@dta.gov.au by 2pm on 13th November 2019. 

Background

We at diginomica/government noted last year how Australia’s DTA has followed a similar trajectory to the Government Digital Service  GDS) here in the UK, after it was slammed in a report released by the Senate, following an inquiry into its progress. 

The Senate inquiry stated that whilst transformation of any kind is challenging, it “requires internal champions to overcome organisational inertia”. And whilst it found that there are many senior public servants across government who have sought to drive digital transformation within their departments, they have been “let down in their efforts by a lack of a champion within government as a whole”.

The report stated:

The committee considers that the government has not demonstrated that it has the political will to drive digital transformation. This much is evidenced by the role it has given the DTA.

At the time, the reorganisation of the DTO into the DTA was presented as representing an expansion of the agency's powers. In reality, although the agency's scope of operations did increase (for instance through the acquisition of responsibility for procurement), it was less empowered to take action.

Now, two years later, the DTA performs a useful role in providing governance standards and guidance. Its contribution is muted because its role is confined to the level of assistance with discrete projects at the operational level.

It added that the evidence heard by the committee revealed an organisation that was “not at the centre of government thinking about digital transformation, or responsible for the creation and enactment of a broader vision of what that transformation would look like”.