AUCloud Response to New Cloud Marketplace RFI Discussion Paper

This feedback builds on the response made by AUCloud (then Assured Digital Group (Australia)) to the Report of the Prime Minister’s ICT Procurement Taskforce, which was published in May 2017, and the DTA Procurement Framework published in April 2018.

For reasons outlined in this paper, we strongly believe the views expressed in this Response reflect recent, learned experience of what it takes to build and operate efficient and competitive procurement arrangements that tangibly benefits both Buyers and Sellers in the market.

AUCloud strongly supports the adoption by the DTA of the ISO 17788 standard related to Cloud Services. We strongly support the articulated intention to deliver a competitive marketplace (and hence market driven) procurement environment. 

However, it is also our strong view that because the proposed New Cloud Marketplace paper continues to conflate the concepts of marketplace and panel, the stated aims of proposed new arrangements are fundamentally undermined.

A marketplace and (separately) a panel are completely different procurement constructs that deliver fundamentally different types of ‘vendor markets’ and procurement outcomes. The notion of a marketplace panel sourcing arrangement is a contradiction in terms.

While a marketplace is by default, open and transparent with products and services easily comparable and accessible by business owners making procurement decisions, a panel creates a restrictive selection of possible suppliers. While the former is premised on transparency and is naturally conducive to competition, the latter explicitly limits competition because it is not transparent.

In a true marketplace scenario, the resource-intensive and arbitrary nature of the proposed two-phased process is redundant. In a properly formed marketplace, the market itself sifts through who is more competitive (having regard to a range of variables) much more effectively and transparently (particularly the case in a commodity-based market).

We also identify how standardisation of skill descriptions and hence rates can be better achieved through application of the Skills for the Information Age (SFIA) framework; also consistent with delivering transparent and competitive procurement outcomes.

Finally, while we support the use of a Digital Tendering Platform, it is imperative that this platform is fully functional and, not as is proposed, released with the limited capability proposed.

Full details of our position are outlined in the body of this response. A summary of our recommendation is included below.

AUCloud Response to New Cloud RFI Discussion Paper
AUCloud: Keeping the data of Australians in Australia