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Canberra awards IBM huge $1bn five-year deal

By Jonathan Nally
Thursday, 05 July, 2018
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Canberra awards IBM huge $1bn five-year deal

The federal government has awarded IBM a huge new $1bn, five-year Whole of Government agreement to become a major technology partner.

The announcement was made this morning by Michael Keenan, Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation.

The deal is a ‘cross-brand solutions partnership’ comprising IBM hardware, software and cloud-based solutions.

It also includes joint innovation programs in quantum efforts, cybersecurity and research aimed at furthering the government’s digital transformation agenda.

The arrangement is effective immediately and will be in place until June 2023.

Under the agreement, all federal government agencies will be able access the technologies which, according to an IBM statement, will “deliver significant savings over the next five years”.

IBM already has partnerships with some of the biggest departments and agencies, such as the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and the Department of Defence (DOD).

The new agreement improves on the current arrangements and gives those departments and agencies the autonomy and flexibility to change the profile of their technology over the next five years.

The new deal aims to bring more self-service, automation and digitisation to government services.

The federal government has set a goal for Australia to become one of the top-three digital governments in the world by 2025.

The agreement, which will be led by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), is the highest value contract negotiated by the Australian Government, and reflects the long-term anticipated value of the agreement.

IBM and the DTA will convene a group made up of government and industry leaders to prioritise the introduction of the new technologies to ensure access to emerging technologies as they are developed.

For example, IBM will engage a Melbourne-based research team to accelerate the application of blockchain, AI and quantum computing in government.

IBM will also help the government re-engineer its platforms to protect and encrypt citizen data against modern-day cybersecurity threats.

Separate expert teams based on the Gold Coast and Canberra will work on cybersecurity solutions for data protection and the application of supercomputing for government services.

IBM will also provide access to ‘Building Digital Capability’ tools and resources to help government keep up with the changing needs within the workplace and continue to raise digital literacy.

“The Whole of Government agreement reflects the growing importance of technology to the government’s transformation agenda,” said David La Rose, Managing Director IBM Australia & New Zealand.

“We look forward to helping the Australian Government to redefine the digital experience for the benefit of all Australians.”

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