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Digital Panel Policy to ease sourcing of digital product and services for Australians

Digital Panel Policy to ease sourcing of digital product and services for Australians

An announcement
made by the Digital
Transformation Agency
(DTA) highlighted their draft Digital Panel
Policy. Feedback was requested for the released draft that resulted from months
of research done by a team composed of representatives from different
government agencies. Engaging buyers and sellers helped the team understand the
situation of the current environment thereby allowing them to pinpoint areas
for improvement.

An exemplary team made up of
representatives from the DTA, Australian Tax Office, Digital Health
, Department of Finance, Department of
Human Services
and Department of Home Affairs
have been working together for the past few months.

They have been doing research on how the
existing ICT Portfolio Panel Policy could be updated to better meet the needs
of buyers and sellers of digital products and services.

The team had to research on the buyers and
sellers as well as engage with them in order to better understand the current
environment and be able to pinpoint areas for improvement.

Some of the results that were gathered
include inflexible existing panel arrangements. The panel arrangements were
also described as hard to join, complicated to use and lacking oversight.

The draft policy principles have been
released and are in need of feedback from those who work with digital and ICT
panels from government agencies, from the industry, especially those selling
digital to the government or interested with doing so in the future. This is in
order to improve the experience of buying and selling digital products.

The new draft Digital
Panel Policy
aims to help agencies source digital products and
services including ICT. It also aims to help government buyers use digital
panels. It should allow new sellers to join panels more often, especially small
and medium enterprises. Lastly, it should help consolidate panels and make them
easier to use.

A set of principles of the draft policy will
guide the process of creating and refreshing a panel. A government oversight
body will coordinate, oversee and report on these principles.  There are 8 principles proposed to underpin
all digital and ICT panels. They are:

Avoid duplicating existing
panels or categories within panels

Be for commonly used, clearly
defined products and services

Be regularly monitored and assessed

Be open to all agencies with
multi-agency access clauses

Be open more often for sellers
to apply to join

Allow for updates of pricing
and categories

Be registered on a single
cross-government digital platform

Look for ways to have
consistent and user-centred design for requests for quotes, templates, terms
and conditions and reporting

In a related announcement
made by the DTA, they are requesting for information for a proposed new
category on the Software Licencing and Services panel.

The new category is Commercial off the
Shelf (COTS) software, which includes products such as analytics, project
management and workflow tools, data migration, software integration, and system
testing software.

Feedback is requested from businesses that
are already selling these types of products to the government.

The new COTS software category is intended
to replace most of the software procurement which is done through a Department
of Finance panel which expires on 31 August 2018.

The goals of the Digital
Sourcing Framework
principles and policies are simplifying and
consolidating digital procurement panels. This framework will help interested
consumers buy digital products and services.

It was initially called the ICT Procurement
Framework but that limits the framework only to ICT. The new name reflects the
fact that the term digital is broad and includes ICT. Therefore, this framework
covers many areas that fall under the digital umbrella such as policy, data,
and design to build and maintenance, and digital marketing.

Under the framework, the agencies remain
responsible for buying their own digital products and services. But principles
were developed to guide them when sourcing for these products. They are:

Encourage competition

Be innovative and iterate often

Be structured in a way that
enables small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete fairly to provide
components of large ICT projects

Be outcomes focused

Use open standards and cloud

Minimise cyber-security risks

Avoid duplication by not building platforms that
other agencies have already built

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