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New Zealand Accelerates Move to Software-as-a-Service Environment

The New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has announced a new procurement framework with an Australia-based enterprise software company that will pave the way for 23 New Zealand government agencies to transition to modern and secure Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environments. The new streamlined procurement arrangements will offer stronger cybersecurity options and improve services to citizens by allowing agencies to be more flexible and efficiently innovate further.

Negotiated by the MBIE and endorsed by the office of the Government Chief Digital Officer, part of the Department of Internal Affairs, the agreement provides a common contractual framework, providing New Zealand government agencies with a clear roadmap for their digital transformation to a SaaS platform. It is part of the Government’s reforms to ICT procurement making it simpler, clearer and faster for agencies and industry to transact services and deliver better outcomes for the community.

The Australian software company’s chief executive, said they are proud to be part of the New Zealand Government’s digital transformation, with the new arrangements set to bring forward benefits to citizens, at a time when agility in the public sector is needed. As the disruption caused by the pandemic enters its second year, they know that strong, secure and resilient IT operations will power the innovations that will drive the country’s economy forward, he added.

The agreement comes at a good time for government agencies with SaaS infrastructure being certified as compliant with the New Zealand Information Security Manual for several years already, building on the high-level credentials recently awarded to the software company by Australia’s security authorities. It also comes at a time when public sector organisations around the country are considering the changes required to be ready for the introduction of e-Invoicing, a digital transformation initiative that allows them to do away with paper invoices to reduce costs and will help them pay suppliers including small businesses faster. The Australian and New Zealand governments use a common standard for e-Invoicing, which means New Zealand agencies can benefit from work that is already done across the Tasman.

Still in the topic of New Zealand’s accelerated digitalisation, as reported by OpenGov Asia, five years’ worth of advances in the digital transformation of businesses in the country has occurred in eight weeks, due to COVID-19, according to a key finding from a report by a New Zealand tech company. One of the obvious reasons behind this trend is that businesses have had to provide the ability for employees to work remotely, the tech company states.

Further reports indicate that New Zealand companies moved 40 times more quickly than they thought possible before the pandemic due to digital acceleration. With this situation repeatedly arising as the country has moved between COVID alert levels 1 and 2, the need for remote working is still a pressing issue.

Unprecedented momentum in the technology sector caused the high growth already underway in the industry to skyrocket, as tech businesses responded and mobilised in a variety of ways to deliver solutions to keep Kiwi businesses open for business through lockdowns, restrictions, and uncertainty.

The tech sector has come together through COVID-19, and not only supported each other but provided critical advice and information to many Kiwi businesses. Retail was supported with e-commerce offerings, while the hospitality industry was effectively revolutionised by remote food ordering software that allowed businesses to open that would not have been able to meet restriction requirements or demand otherwise. As they have seen with further lockdowns recently, this continues to be vital. Other examples of support from the tech sector include online digital marketing offerings, innovating new technological products to help the most hard-hit industries and even supporting mental health via app technology. Support is important for the country’s small businesses. Support not only coming from the private sector but also from the government.

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