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SAP was recently awarded a contract worth $108 million by the government of New South Wales, a state within Australia. That’s hardly news in itself, as SAP regularly picks up government deals of this scope all over the scope. What’s interesting, however, is that an outspoken local technology company is fighting back over the lack of a bidding process.
Adrian Di Marco, Executive Chairman of Australia-based enterprise applications software company TechnologyOne, is the face of this resistance. Di Marco made some incendeniary comments in a TechnologyOne press release, finding it “unbelievable…that a decision of this size was made without testing the made” and that “it is very unlikely that NSW taxpayers are getting anywhere near value for money.” This was just the beginning of the broadside. Di Marco went on to accuse the NSW Government, SAP, Oracle, and Mincom of being a back-room “old boys club” that locked out all other tech vendors for major Australian government business.
TechnologyOne has a dog in this fight, as the company is an existing supplier to NSW Government and believed that it had the right to be invited to bid on the project. However, that doesn’t in itself invalidate the company’s claim that a government entity has a responsibility to taxpayers to consider all serious tenders for a project of this sort.
It is important to point out that, in some cases, only SAP and Oracle can do the job (the recent experience of Bank of America comes to mind). Some projects are too big and complex for other, smaller vendors to handle. Perhaps NSW Government is one such case. But, even pro forma, NSW Government doesn’t have the luxury of engaging in no-bid contracts, unless it wants to draw negative attention of the kind now being generated by TechnologyOne. Given the history of project creep, cost over-runs, and other such problems regularly associated with big enterprise applications implementations, NSW Government at least owes an open disclosure of the business case for SAP to the taxpayers who will be paying for it.
Demir Barlas, Site Editor