As thousands of IT users convened in Ottawa Monday for the start of Technology in Government Week, the federal purchasing arm announced a deal to spread technology expertise across the public sector.

Public Works and Government Services

Canada (PWGSC) said it had formed a standing offer with research firm the Meta Group that will allow departments and agencies to access analyst reports and one-on-one briefings. Under the terms of the agreement, pricing for the services will be reduced as more seats are purchased, either by an entire department or an individual user.

“”For smaller departments in the past, these services were prohibitive because they were so expensive,”” said Robert Veznia, manager of PWGSC’s Knowledge Exchange service. “”Here we have a process whereby once we reach 100 seats, there’s a 50 per cent reduction.””

Ian Stark, vice-president and general manager of the Meta Group Canada, said the offer is unlike anything the firm has done in Canada or the United States. “”Most of this is focused on the individual user — he could be representing the librarian contact within the department. A lot of analysts, I think, (and) project leaders,”” he said.

Products covered under the offer include daily 10-minute audio briefings, regional events as well as weekly and monthly trend information. Interested departments will fill out a user recovery agreement to PWGSC, which will accumulate all the “”call ups”” and processed orders directly with the Meta Group.

Veznia said he suspected most users would be interested in Meta’s Web-based reports as they try to plan IT deployment in their department.

“”Right now application integration is the big buzz-word,”” he said. “”This is a tool to help them prepare with Government OnLine. It’s not the only one, but it’s a good one.””

Stark said the frequent buying program is limited to the federal government for now, but didn’t rule out expanding its public sector approach in the future.

“”It wouldn’t be covered under a standing offer. That would have to be a whole new arrangement that would be struck with provincial governments and whoever else we’d talk to. The only way it could be piggybacked on it is to say the federal government has used it with a lot of success.””

The program officially launched on Oct. 1. Stark said 11 seats have already been sold.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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