Retail therapy: NSW taps DTO Digital Marketplace

By Julian Bajkowski

September 14, 2016

New South Wales agencies can now for the first time buy services and products offered through the Commonwealth’s recently launched Digital Marketplace after the state’s Department of Finance, Services & Innovation and Canberra’s Digital Transformation Office went live with the collaboration in Sydney on Tuesday.

The deal lets the NSW bureaucracy and approved not-for-profits tap into Canberra’s catalogue of pre-approved suppliers, a substantial first in harmonising disparate smaller scale procurement mechanisms that have for years frustrated agencies and suppliers alike.

Canberra’s Department of Finance has for some time allowed federal buyers to access the NSW digital services catalogue in lieu of the creation of a federal marketplace — however the latest agreement finally puts state and federal buyers on an equal footing.

The cross-jurisdictional agreement will also serve as an exemplar for similar deals between the DTO and other states and territories to standardise their evolving marketplaces.

Speaking at the CEDA Digital Bytes series, chief executive of DFSI Martin Hoffman said the collaboration helped break down differing sets of rules between jurisdictions to just one interoperable set of rules.

Meanwhile, the DTO’s Head of Digital Marketplace, Catherine Thompson, was talking-up the international collaboration between Australia and the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service on making the marketplace a reality.

Thompson quipped that some observers had remarked that DTO’s marketplace was quite similar to the UK’s.

“Well hell yeah, we reused the code,” Thompson said, adding that improvements and functions would now be “cheaper, faster, simpler” because there was a shared code base between the two organisations.

The DTO and the UK’s GDS inked a memorandum of understanding in April this year, an agreement that Thompson said would help the two organisations work more efficiently by sharing and reusing work rather than duplicating it.

The launch of the digital marketplace beta had also produced some unexpected behaviours, Thompson said — including recruiters reposting its briefs for work.

Thompson said she hoped that the Digital Marketplace would eventually become fully digital “end-to-end” so as to include procure-to-pay and e-invoicing facilities.

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