It's time for all Australian state and federal agencies to bring real, open and competitive tendering back into their software acquisitions. Their lack of willingness to ensure competition in the marketplace costs Australian taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year - a bad practice that must be halted.
"At present, almost no government agencies in Australia permit open and competitive tendering for software platforms and productivity applications," observed Con Zymaris, CEO of long-standing ICT industry company Cybersource Pty. Ltd. "Instead, these agencies hand the business, worth around a billion dollars each refresh cycle, to Microsoft - no competitors are allowed to make bids."
"We are astounded that government agencies, which have a fiduciary responsibility to Australian taxpayers, should follow this strategy," continued Zymaris. "We are even more amazed that no voices have raised this issue in Parliament. It is an obviously short-sighted strategy which merely serves to lock Australia's public sector further into a Microsoft-only monetary sinkhole."
A recent example of this kind of 'no competition allowed' deal-making was the Queensland Government's decision to abort any potential for competitive bids from alternative software suppliers in its refresh of 100,000 PCs - no vendor besides Microsoft was allowed to enter the bidding arena. This left many other multinational vendors, like Sun, Novell and Red Hat, along with numerous innovative Australian Linux companies, such as Cybersource, with no chance of competing.
"By subverting the power of competitive markets, federal and state agencies are hurting the local ICT industry. By keeping innovative technology off government desks and by always returning to the souring teat of Microsoft, they're hurting their own productivity. And by stubbornly refusing to seriously consider alternative technologies such as Linux and open source, they are shackling themselves to the Microsoft upgrade treadmill in perpetuity, with the cost meter set to spiral," concluded Zymaris.