IBM back in NZ governments good books

The State Services Commission in New Zealand has chosen IBM asits preferred supplier of network management and service deliveryfor the Government Shared Network (GSN), but nobody will say howmuch the contract is worth.

The network will provide an easy and reasonably-priced route forgovernment agencies to communicate among their own offices and toshare data with other GSN users.

Three “strong contenders” were short-listed, says thecommission’s ICT deputy commissioner Laurence Millar. All wereassessed as “capable of delivering the required services”, he says.No one should be thought of as “losing” the deal, rather “IBM camethrough as the best of a good bunch.”

TelstraClear was rumored to be another of the contenders forthese contracts and some industry sources were looking to an awardin that direction as a competition-balancing move against thedominance of Telecom.

The network management and service delivery functions are majorportions of a tender that was split into 18 sub-projects. Winnersof other sub-projects include Asnet, Kaon Technologies, Datacom,BCL, CityLink, Vector Communications, FX Networks, DTS and Revera(formerly HDS New Zealand). Like IBM, these organizations are alsopreferred suppliers subject to contract finalization.

Industry sources suggest that being favored for another largecontract represents a rehabilitation of IBM in the government’seyes since the embarrassing 1999 abandonment of the Police Incisproject, after cost over-runs of NZ$40 million (US$27 million).

While pointing to a significant IBM role in other majorgovernment projects in the interim, — such as the Ministry ofSocial Development’s VOIP network, — even conservative sources inthe company acknowledge that the GSN recognition is an encouragingsign of a continued progress towards once again being ingovernment’s favor.

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