A supplier's view of ICT procurement: the digital experience must be seamless disruption

By The Mandarin

March 23, 2018


Tony Katsabaris, Adobe’s managing director for the public sector in the Asia-Pacific region, discusses ICT procurement in the age of digital disruption with The Mandarin.

The Australian Information Industry Association just signed a memorandum of understanding with the Digital Transformation Agency. What will that achieve?

The MoU between the AIIA and the DTA is a partnership that works to formalise two-way engagement between government and industry. This ensures that government is able to keep abreast of the latest industry and technological developments, and that the government’s digital transformation agenda is developed in partnership with the technology providers.

This will enable governments to leverage best-in-class solutions from tech companies by upskilling their workforce to handle new technologies, and ultimately Australian citizens to benefit from this partnership.

What’s your general view of government procurement processes in Australia, and how they can be improved, based on your experience?

Government and industry need to have a transparent understanding and open the lines of communication. This issue is something that both governments and industry are acutely aware of, and new technology is available or being developed to open the dialogue and avoid going down paths that do not deliver results. This, in turn, will enable the best customer experience.

Improvements in citizen experience can have a massive impact on the perceptions of government and the services it provides. Further, improved citizen experience is the primary measure by which government service delivery and the investments made in systems upgrades is assessed, so it is key to ensure that digital experiences for citizens are seamless between corporate and government services.

In 2017 the Australian government progressed in the right direction by creating legal policy to support e-signatures and online documentation, but a technology road map that looks much further into the future is desperately needed. It’s estimated that 85% of transactions with government departments involve some type of form, a drain on public resources that will be directly and positively impacted by e-signature solutions.

The digital disruption we experience today is expected to be 3,000 times the impact of the Industrial Revolution. The Australian government needs to prepare for this change to meet citizen needs now and in the future.

Do you have any specific suggestions for what governments could do to get better outcomes from ICT procurement, from the supplier side? 

Both public and private sectors face the same problems when it comes to marketplace digital disruption. Companies like Adobe have the expertise and resources to deliver the technological solutions and the Australian government should look to leverage these leading capabilities to their advantage.

Implementing a standardised proof-of-concept policy and process would support a greater partnership with the private sector at a low risk. Government would gain oversight of the current market solutions while evaluating the best-in-class industry solutions on offer.

If Australia is to become an “innovation nation” as the Prime Minister suggests, the public sector needs to stay educated on the latest technological solutions making a positive impact.

Buyers of anything get the best outcomes when they know as much as the supplier or salesperson does about what they are buying. How can government agencies keep up with the fast-moving enterprise ICT industry?

Digital disruption has already created new industries we couldn’t fathom two decades ago, so ongoing education is the most important aspect in this regard. Partnering with expert solution providers in the private sector enables knowledge-sharing on problems facing outside businesses, problems unique to government agencies, and the best-in-market solutions available.

Proof-of-concepts provide this education at no cost, so it’s a win-win for the government agencies wanting to make ICT investments that will positively impact Australian citizens.

You were given the job of moderating a panel about how technology can augment “the human factor” at the AIIA conference. How does Adobe see AI or other emerging technologies changing creative work like photography, graphic design and publishing?

There needs to be a transfer of knowledge between the industry and government by working in partnership.

We in the software industry are looking far ahead to what is possible, but we also need to help businesses understand what they can do right now to prepare in order to have skills and understanding of how to deal with the ever-changing technology landscape.

We view AI as a transformational force in creative expression and business. For consumers, we envision a new power to tell stories in an easier and more immersive way. For businesses, we envision a new ability to harness deeper insights and dramatically higher productivity through their content and data.

For the economy, changes to jobs and industries are exciting, while still unpredictable. For example, experts once believed that ATMs would eliminate the role of bank tellers; the number and function of tellers has changed, but banks employ more people through growth.

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