Parliamentary Service looks for new partners as Datacom contract expires

Parliamentary Service looks for new partners as Datacom contract expires

New arrangements need to be embedded before the 2023 election.

Credit: Parliament

Parliamentary Service, the agency that manages services for parliamentary staff and members, is on the hunt for new ICT service partners. 

The service outsourced some technology services to third-parties but was trying to reduce the amount of resources it devoted to managing commodity platforms to focus instead on technology services that supported transformation.

The looming expiry of the current IT services outsourcing agreement, understood to be with Datacom, next September presented an opportunity to find a technology and service transformation partner, a request for information (RFI) said. 

The current contract was awarded in 2011. However, the service team failed to achieve its satisfaction target of 80 per cent in an internal 2018 survey, scoring a low 62.6 per cent.

"The whips’ survey indicated that we should focus on our responsiveness, reliability, and the position of Datacom within the service," a report said.

In 2019, the information systems team launched a programme to transform and modernise its operations from what it described as a generic, ITIL-based IT support model to one focused on high-touch, adaptable personal service.

That involved a "lift and shift" of Datacom's corporate IT support model of functionally aligned teams to one operated by permanent Parliamentary Service staff. 

"There was a marked increase in customer satisfaction from this phase as we embedded the permanent team, the RFI said. "The team received rave reviews for IT service and customer service during COVID-19 lockdown."

Parliamentary Service now had an opportunity to reflect, reset and reconfigure to adopt more modern ways of working and to offer "IT as a service".

This would be achieved in part through the use of "fit-for-purpose" contracts and services that focused on quality of outcomes rather than solely on traditional service-level agreements tied to response and availability.

The service also aimed to accelerate its move to "anything as a service" and Azure cloud and to further shift its supplier relationships towards partnerships. In that cause, the service is now creating small, multidisciplinary support squads that have ownership of portfolios of customers.

This would provide customers with a more seamless experience with fewer "anonymous handoffs", end-to-end ownership of issues, and long-term relationships between the support team and its customers. 

"To continue our IST transformation, we must transform our operating model to better match the high-touch, personalised service model expected by our customers." the RFI said.

The next step was to focus on the partner or partners that would support the service to deliver the services required by Parliament.

The first phase of the next transition needed to be completed by 1 September 2022 with services embedded before the 2023 election.

Parliamentary Service put the brakes on a planned Office 365 rollout in March 2019 to reassess the final stage migration to cloud-based versions of Microsoft 365, a report to Parliament revealed last year.

The agency told Reseller News its concerns related to the passage of the Telecommunications (Assistance and Access) Act in Australia -- the so-called "backdoor" law that raised concerns about storing data in Microsoft's Australian cloud region.

The project was revived after Microsoft last year announced it was building a New Zealand datacentre region.

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