Optus state manager Paul Williams (left), Datacom WA director David Povey and Kinetic IT chief executive Michael North will work together on the GovNext contract. Photo: Attila Csaszar

ICT contractors start recruiting

The three international vendors that won the state government’s landmark GovNext contract say the initiative will provide local information and communication technology businesses with opportunities to share in the work.

New Zealand-based Datacom, along with the Australian subsidiaries of Japan-based NEC and France-based Atos signed contracts last week to deliver ICT infrastructure as a service.

The contracts run for five years, with an option to double that, and will encompass total spending of about $3 billion over that time.

Datacom has assembled a consortium that includes privately owned Perth firm Kinetic IT, which is ranked as the largest ICT firm in Western Australia on the BNiQ Search Engine.

Other members of the Datacom consortium are telcos Optus and Vocus, as well as PierDC and Metronode for datacentre work.

While Datacom itself has about 100 people in WA, led by local director David Povey, the members of its consortium have more than 1,000 people on the ground.

The Atos consortium comprises three datacentre operators, three telco network providers and a Perth-based IP telephony provider, but the company was unable to release names as it is still finalising contracts.

Atos managing director Australia and New Zealand, Peter Robertson, said he expected plenty of work to flow to local ICT firms, particularly to help with spikes in activity.

“There is a stack of talent in the local market,” Mr Robertson told Business News.

“The SME supply chain will have lots of opportunity.”

Mr Robertson said while the three prime contractors would be competing for work, there may be a need to work together to help government agencies migrate their legacy infrastructure to a cloud environment.

“I think we need to look at how we can bundle our competencies, our skills sets, to help these agencies take full advantage of the new infrastructure,” he said.

“Some of them may need some help.”

The contract win comes nearly four years after Atos entered the WA market through its $20 million purchase of local firm WindowLogic, which specialises in information management.

It subsequently built up its managed services capability, after winning a tender to migrate Edith Cowan University’s central IT infrastructure to the cloud.

“That has gone very well,” Mr Robertson said.

“As fate would have it, it has worked as a reliable reference site for us.”

He said Atos had already hired 10 people in Perth and was closing out a further eight appointments, taking its WA staff to nearly 70.

He said they would be able to draw on the international experience of Atos, which has 170 people in Australia and 100,000 globally.

NEC Australia is also aiming to increase its WA staffing, from the current complement of 150 people of an Australian total of 1,700.

The three contractors will be responsible for providing cloud computing and telecommunication services to all WA government agencies.

It means ICT services will transition from an own-and-operate model to a consumption-based model.

Spending on ICT infrastructure and hardware has averaged $316 million per annum in recent years, and the government is aiming to slash up to $80 million off that figure, or about 25 per cent.

NEC has suggested the government will be able to save up to 40 per cent through reduced licensing fees and infrastructure costs and improved efficiency.


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