IBM reported on Thursday (5 July 2018) via a press release that it has secured a AU$1 billion (roughly $740 million) five-year "Whole of Government" agreement to be a major technology partner of the Australian Government.
The agreement involves IBM hardware, software, and cloud-based services. It includes joint innovation programs in quantum computing, cybersecurity, and "research aimed at furthering the government's digital transformation agenda." It is supposed to deliver significant savings over the next five years, and the hope is that it will allow Australia to become one of the top three "digital governments" in the world by 2025, while providing easy-to-use services to Australian residents and businesses.
All government agencies can benefit from this agreement, which was led by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), and which is the highest value contract ever awarded to any company by the Australian Government. The contract is effective immediately and runs until June 2023.
One of the key parts of the deal is IBM's help with research into application of blockchain technology.
David La Rose, Managing Director of IBM Australia & New Zealand, said:
“The Whole of Government agreement reflects the growing importance of technology to the government’s transformation agenda. For agencies it will be more simple and cost efficient to engage with IBM. While our technologies make it possible for government to delivery smarter, integrated, always-on digital services for citizens... This agreement is a testament to our forty-year partnership with the Australian Government. It shows trust and belief in our ability to transform and provide world-leading capabilities, leveraging our investments locally in AI, blockchain, quantum and cloud. We look forward to helping the Australian Government to re-define the digital experience for the benefit of all Australians.”
Harriet Green, chairman and CEO of IBM Asia Pacific had this to say about the deal in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Thursday:
"... Really enables citizens across the Commonwealth [of Australia] to have access across multiple agencies... to the technology they need, many of those new technologies across AI, blockchain, a lot of focus on security. And all of this saves the Australian Government money, over a AU$100 million."