Governments: Think broadly with your tech-driven innovation efforts

DIA's Marketplace provides an opportunity for suppliers that may not traditionally respond to government RFPs to put their product or service in front of a broader government audience via a low barrier to entryJames Staten, Forrester

As functional lead for digital, theDepartment of Internal Affairs (DIA)leads all government market engagement for the New Zealand government.

They have used a co-designed model, including a focus on inclusion, human-centred service design, and an agile approach across the alpha and beta phases, that disrupts the prior manual procurement model and is driving its digital transformation.

This DIA digitalMarketplace, which debuted in September 2018, makes it possible for suppliers to be accepted into Marketplace (effectively an all-of-government panel) in as little as 12 hours, versus the 12 to 18 months under a traditional tender/RFP process.

Thisdigital business platformrepresents a new way of thinking about how government can work as a “single customer” and how partners, especially small and emerging suppliers, can more easily, effectively, and securely sell to government agencies and together deliver better citizen and employee outcomes.

The initial class of suppliers it empowered was software-as-a-service vendors (already well used by government agencies), and they are now expanding it to the broader, digitally empowered community. The platform lets agencies set their own business rules and approval processes for purchasing mdash; with a one-time registration and setup.


DIA split the Marketplace into five simple stages, each with a number of capabilities linked to them: on-boarding, catalogue management, fulfillment, billing and payment and, finally, data and analytics.


Marketplace provides an opportunity for suppliers that may not traditionally respond to government RFPs to put their product or service in front of a broader government audience via a low barrier to entry; simple, standardised commercial terms; and being open 24x7. This allows suppliers to apply when they’re ready, rather than on a cycle dictated by the government.

What drove this innovation effort? A clear customer experience (CX) focus: aiming to make economic cooperation, procurement, and development of new citizen value easier, inclusive, and more transparent.

Moves like these are a hot topic across governments, as highlighted through New Zealand’s involvement in theOECD’s thematic group on procurement.

Chris Webb,general manager of commercial strategy and delivery at the DIA, explains, “Moving the procurement process from a largely manual approach to an online model is a big step up for government and presents many opportunities for the future.”

As part of the OECD thematic group on procurement, the DIA has been participating in hackathons since 2017. These have subsequently helped support and inform its future direction. In last year’s hackathon, where the DIA previewed Marketplace, it looked to address the following citizen problems and opportunities:

  • Agenciesare solving (or not) the same issues and not leveraging other agencies’ solutions.

  • How do weimprove knowledge sharingand communications across government and suppliers, thus encouraging them to share innovation learnings and engage/support the industry?

  • How do wechange risk appetiteso that organisations understand and mitigate risk rather than avoid it? (This was the winning pitch at the hackathon.)

  • Some decision makers may berisk-averse, and decisions are difficult to achieve buy-in for. Society needs confidence, more rapid buy-in, and flexibility to adjust to change.

  • What are the desirableattributes for successful relationships?

  • Aniterative, agile solutionand budget to deliver value and pivot or fail where required.

Government agencies around the world can follow the links above to learn more about how you can build off of New Zealand’s successful efforts.

James Staten is vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. His focus includes adaptive organisations,tech-driven innovation, and thefuture of IT.

No caption

Sign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, career tips, views and events. Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz

No caption

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

Security vs. innovation: IT's trickiest balancing act