Digital Marketplace connecting agencies with tech talent
The federal government’s Digital Marketplace procurement portal is helping government agencies at all levels more easily access qualified digital talent, and is breaking down barriers for SMEs competing for government projects.
The Digital Marketplace enables registered buyers to approach the market looking to temporarily hire a digital specialist, seek proposals and quotes for a specific project, or receive training to help them build their own digital capability.
Sellers can apply to be added to the Digital Marketplace panel or add new services to their offerings at any time. Only sellers that pass a value-for-money assessment based on their maximum daily rates can respond to opportunities. The Digital Marketplace also keeps track of the daily rates individual sellers have offered and provides a median rate based on specialist area.
In addition to this assessment, an independent assessment team also conducts corporate capability checks to ensure all company details listed are accurate, all disclosures are reviewed internally for risk, and all financial statements, insurance and workers compensation certificates are valid.
An overview of the success of the initiative can be found in a report detailing the latest statistics and insights from the Digital Marketplace covering up to the month of December 2018.
The marketplace was originally designed for the federal government but subsequently opened up to all levels of government. As of December, less than half (48%) of the 275 registered buyers on the Digital Marketplace are Commonwealth government entities, the report shows. Local government buyers meanwhile slightly outnumber state and territory government buyers.
But federal government departments represented the top five buyers for the month of December. The largest number of briefs was posted by the Department of Defence (four briefs), followed by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (three), with the Australian Health Agency, Department of Education and Department of Human Services each having two briefs filed.
The Digital Marketplace is also fulfilling its remit of encouraging more competition in the provision of ICT services to government, particularly by opening up opportunities for more small and medium enterprises.
The latest statistics show that 60% of all briefs posted to the marketplace have been open to all listed sellers, and around 25% of the remainder have been open to multiple sellers. Meanwhile, 72% of the dollar value of contracts awarded through the Digital Marketplace since 29 August 2016 has gone to SMEs.
The number of sellers registered has meanwhile increased to 1128, with 31 new sellers added in December alone. There have been 1203 opportunities posted in this time, and the total dollar value of contracts awarded through the Digital Marketplace has reached $331.67 million, having grown by $18.38 that month.
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the briefs posted on the Digital Marketplace have been for digital specialists to assist with internal projects, with the remainder being for outsourced projects with specific outcomes.
The most in-demand specialist roles are software engineers and developers, with 225 briefs published since August 2016. This is followed by agile delivery and governance experts (167), user research and design specialists (124), data scientists (51), and strategy and policy specialists (43).
These are also broadly speaking the areas of expertise with the highest number of sellers listed on the Digital Marketplace, although there are also specialists in areas including support and operations, training and development, marketing and communications, and emerging technologies.
Buyers have used this latter category to source talent for projects including blockchain, machine learning, 3D rendering, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence discovery and proof-of-concept trials.
The statistics also show that the average specialist-seeking brief posted on the marketplace draws 16 responses, and the average outcome brief attracts seven. But a small number of briefs can attract over 60 or 80 responses respectively.
During the financial year to date, large enterprise Hays Specialist Recruitment Australia has been the top-performing seller with 23 contracts awarded so far. This is followed by HiTech Group (14), Oakton (10), Talent International (nine) and Callida Resourcing (eight).
In more signs of the Digital Marketplace’s success in opening up opportunities for smaller businesses, six of the top 10 sellers awarded contracts this financial year — including HiTech Group and Callida Resourcing — are classed as SMEs. And two-thirds (66%) of the 85 contracts by volume awarded to sellers this month have gone towards SMEs.
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