Deal to streamline government uptake of SaaS – Q&A with TechnologyOne CEO Ed Chung

Peter Griffin

Peter Griffin

It’s been working with our local and central government agencies on software projects for years. 

Now Brisbane-based and ASX-listed enterprise resource planning software specialist TechnologyOne has struck an all-of-government deal with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment that creates a procurement framework for 23 government agencies looking to use its software services.

It means that each government department turning to TechnologyOne for help can use the same contractual framework and take advantage of the same deals. Similar arrangements have been struck with major technology vendors such as AWS, SAP and Oracle as the Government seeks to streamline technology procurement and ensure that standard contract terms are available across the public sector.

Umbrellar Connect caught up with TechnologyOne CEO Ed Chung to find out how the deal will help government departments procure and deploy its SaaS products.

What are the benefits of having a common contractual framework for government departments to negotiate SaaS contracts?

“It gives departments an easier and faster path to SaaS, with the terms and conditions already negotiated, amounting to good savings in government time and resources across the departments.”

The new arrangement is expected to offer “stronger cybersecurity options”. How will it do so and are there any particular security issues government departments face as they move to a SaaS model?

“For a start, many large businesses and public sector organisations are moving to SaaS because it offers security advantages over on-premise operation. TechnologyOne’s solution was recently certified compliant with the New Zealand Information Security Manual (NZ ISM), building on the high-level credentials recently awarded to us by Australia’s cybersecurity authorities.”

TechnologyOne’s asset management software

What will TechnologyOne’s role be exactly?

“Our Global SaaS ERP Solution will automate mission-critical systems. Our company was founded on the principle of the Power of One. We design, architect, build, market, sell, install and maintain the end to end TechnologyOne Solution. If anything goes wrong, there’s no room for finger-pointing among suppliers. We are 100% accountable.

“We already work with a number of public sector organisations in New Zealand across the education, local government and health sectors and that’s one of the attributes about the company people like, there is no middle man.”

What’s your view on how the New Zealand Government used SaaS during the pandemic? Are we ahead of the game internationally or lagging in any areas?

“I don’t have any specific observations but, in general, I think it’s true to say the organisations which were able to make the smoothest transitions to remote work this time last year were those who had invested in SaaS. 

Can you give us an example of how the framework will function in real terms? For instance, if 3 – 4 agencies all need to use the same SaaS provider for financial services, will it mean they can all negotiate the same pricing and contract terms at the same time? How does that differ from the current approach?

“The framework will make it easier for those agencies to do that with us since they’ll all have a common point of reference. In the past, each agency would work with us individually. That meant they were sometimes reinventing the wheel and not sharing learnings. This framework starts by assuming that, different as they are, the agencies do have many things in common.”

What do government departments and their software providers need to know about the looming introduction of e-invoicing across the Tasman?

“We’re strong proponents of e-invoicing. We think it’s good for our customers and good for the country’s economy – and that’s important right now. 

“If you consider everything businesses have done to digitally transform their operations over the last 10-15 years, to be putting paper invoices in envelopes and then physically moving them around the country is archaic. Sending PDFs by email is little better. It adds no value, costs money, and hurts small business cashflow.

“It’s one area in which Australia is ahead of us right now. They’ve set a June 30 deadline for national government agencies to be ready and TechnologyOne recently completed one of the most high profile implementations with Australia’s Department of Treasury. Fortunately, the Australian and New Zealand governments use a common standard for e-Invoicing so it won’t take long for us to catch up.”

Are there likely to be improved opportunities for local SaaS providers to supply government as a result of this new framework?

“Not from our framework, no. We work directly with our customers, as mentioned the Power of One is part of who we are, that’s how our customers like it.”

Peter Griffin

Peter Griffin

Peter Griffin has been a journalist for over 20 years, covering the latest trends in technology and science for leading NZ media. He has also founded Science Media Centre and established Australasia's largest science blogging platform, Sciblogs.co.nz.

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Deal to streamline government uptake of SaaS - Q&A with TechnologyOne CEO Ed Chung

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