Australia’s $98 billion IT industry has been given a boost with an IT Supplier Advocate to be appointed to help secure more major IT contracts.
The IT Supplier Advocate is part of the Federal Government’s $8.2 million Supplier Advocate Program, which appoints respected industry figures to provide leadership for targeted sectors. Advocates have already been appointed for rail and steel.
The IT Supplier Advocate will work as a broker and spokesperson, particularly for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the information technology sector.
In a joint announcement, the Minister for Industry and Innovation, Senator Kim Carr and Senator Kate Lundy said the Government wanted Australian IT firms, particularly SMEs, to have the best chance of “getting in the game” and the best chance of winning.
“It is vital that government has access to the nimble, innovative capacity of IT small businesses and equally, they have access to government,” the Senators said.
The IT Supplier Advocate will help small businesses access contracts that may not have been on their radar.
The advocate will also work to ease the “often unfounded concerns of risk” that may be associated with awarding work to small business.
NICTA's Australian eGovernment Technology Cluster has offered to work with an IT Supplier Advocate to provide services and facilities to help SMEs field test and prove the scalability of their IT solutions to prospective customers.
The Government canvassed the views of many stakeholders in the Australian IT sector about appointing an advocate.
These consultations suggest there are significant IT procurement opportunities in the government where the supplier advocate could make a difference.
The Government’s Information Technology Industry Innovation Council will provide advice on the appointment. An announcement on the advocate is expected by the end of this month.