Maritime authority eyes ICT supplier panel

IT service providers winning amid skills drought

Joining the growing trend of federal government departments appointing supplier panels, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) intends to create a register of pre-approved organizations that can deliver and support ICT services and solutions.

Both the Federal Police and Taxation Office have also recently released public requests for ICT suppliers and contractors to combat Canberra's skills shortage.

AMSA is a Commonwealth Statutory Authority that provides support and commercial services to the Australian Maritime Industry, and manages standards for the operation of commercial shipping, the network of marine navigation aids around the Australian coast, aviation and maritime search and rescue, and the protection of the marine environment.

AMSA's internal information services group supports the IT environment, but "at times" the number of system related business projects, or urgency of system support requirements, necessitates the engagement of additional resources on an ad hoc basis, according to tender documents.

"AMSA requires a scalable workforce with a broad range of ICT skills and experience."

Based on initial responses prospective suppliers will be short-listed and invited to participate in a restricted request for tender to provide detailed information on their proposal.

AMSA's head office is located in Canberra with satellite offices in state capitals and coastal centres around Australia. The authority employs some 245 people.

The AMSA requires IT support across nine areas. These are network services, storage services, server, desktop and portable devices, database services, operating system services, application services, mission-critical systems services, project delivery, and management and assurance services.

AMSA's technical environment is a mixed bag of communications and computer infrastructure.

Its networks include PABX, TCP/IP, X25, XOT, X400, telex, fax, Defence Mercury Network, AFTN, Cisco switches and routers, PIX firewalls, ISDN, frame relay, and Ethernet infrastructure.

For data storage it has an EMC SAN with Commvault backup software and Oracle 8i, 9i, and 10g database software.

Both Sun Solaris 10 Unix and HP Windows 2003 servers are used with VMWare, Citrix, and IIS.

For software development, AMSA uses Java, C++, .NET C#, ASP, HTML, Perl, Powerbuilder, Microsoft Access and Visual Basic, XML, and ESRI GIS packages.

Applications include Microsoft Exchange 2003, Maximo asset management, FinanceOne accounting, TRIM for records management, and computer telephony integration software.

Submissions close on August 7.

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