Case Study: Software Procurement

Business Aspect was engaged to develop a Practice Guide intended to help Chief Information Officers, senior ICT professionals, procurement specialists and their equivalents. The Practice Guide was designed to assist people in these roles to arrive at the right software procurement outcomes through a disciplined, well-structured approach that balances cost, value and risk amongst all available procurement options.

The last decade has seen a stark change, not only in the way software solutions are delivered to public and private sector organisations, but also in how such solutions are procured. Gone are the days of expending large amounts of capital to secure an expensive software licence for a centralised mainframe environment or to build custom business applications. Today buyers can choose from a wide range of software procurement options ranging from traditional up-front payments through to per user, per month models.

In response to this increasing array of procurement choices Australian government agencies, like their international counterparts, have been quick to formulate strategies and policies to address each emerging trend. Each new directive provides additional insight for both senior ICT and procurement professionals, whether it has been to address the shift away from bespoke-developed software to pre-built packages or consideration of open source alternatives.

Despite the presence of these policies, feedback from individual agencies indicated the need for a unified approach to software procurement. Such an approach would ensure a level playing field for industry and provide a clear and simple means by which agencies can achieve the objectives of current software procurement policies, both for traditional and emerging “as-a-Service” solution options.

The resulting guide has been widely distributed and viewed, and now provides guidance in software procurement across government.