The government has renewed its whole-of-government Microsoft Volume Sourcing Arrangement (VSA) for the fourth time.
The three-year deal will streamline cloud access for 98 federal agencies, and is the first to conform with the Australian accessible procurement standard.
It provides value for money that would not otherwise be available to smaller government agencies when buying commonly used Microsoft products and services, according to Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert.
“This arrangement provides the tools to support agencies in their transition to a modern IT environment through the adoption of cloud-based services,” he says.
Negotiated via the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), which is now part of the government services portfolio, the deal allows agencies to take advantage of investments Microsoft has made in Australia over the last two years. For example, the Canberra-based Azure cloud which was developed specifically for critical national computing applications.
Agencies must buy Common Cloud Commitment products — such as Microsoft Office — through the DTA. Any other products and services must be purchased through Data#3, the sole provider for the arrangement.
The VSA follows a similar deal made last month between the government and Amazon Web Services, intended to “simplify procurement of services for the whole public sector”, which also must be negotiated through the DTA.
Microsoft says it is committed to upskilling public sector personnel, equipping them with the digital skills and experience needed to successfully deploy cloud-based solutions while helping to future-proof their careers. More than 1,400 subsidised Azure training places will be made available to government IT workers and there is funding to support up to 100 new trainees in the ACT over the next two years.
The deal benefits Microsoft’s partners as well, with companies including DQA, oobe and Veritec set to work with agencies as they deploy cloud services.
Steven Worrall, the managing director of Microsoft Australia, says the corporation has invested extensively in Australia with the agreement being an “important opportunity” to develop “transformative digital solutions” for Australians.
“We have already opened the Canberra based Microsoft Azure region to support national critical computing; we are working with Governments and private enterprise to elevate the nation’s digital skills; we support enterprise innovation and start up communities through our Reactor and Scale Up initiatives; and our Microsoft Technology Centre serves as an innovation beacon – demonstrating how cloud computing along with artificial intelligence can transform every aspect of life and commerce,” he says.
“It is my strongly held opinion that for Australia to sustain its many years of economic success we need to work together to digitally transform the public and private sectors, injecting efficiencies, infusing intelligence, and ensuring inclusion.”
Government agencies can access the VSA now, which ends 30 June 2022. More information can be found on the DTA website.