IBM signs A$1bn deal with Australia to provide blockchain services

July 06, 2018
Chris Wheal

Australia’s government has signed A$1bn (US$740m) deal for US tech giant IBM to supply data security services that utilise blockchain and other new technologies.

IBM signs 5-year deal with Australian government: Shutterstock

Under the five-year deal, IBM will provide technology – including blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) – to improve data security in Australia’s federal departments.

Led by the government’s Digital Transformation Agency, the deal provides all of Australia’s government agencies with access to the new technologies that IBM has been contracted to supply.

Benefits for both parties

Both IBM and the Australian government benefit from the deal. The five-year contract sees IBM expand its reach across government agencies and is the highest value contract negotiated by the Australian government, according to the IBM press release.

IBM already supplies information technology services to four Australian government departments – Human Services, Home Affairs, Taxation and Defence – and it is believed that the new deal will see these four existing agencies make cost savings.

Automated services

The company will supply cloud technology and artificial intelligence to bring more self-service and automation to government services to its citizens.

Meanwhile, the establishment of a Melbourne-based research and development team will work to accelerate the application of blockchain, AI and quantum computing in government services.

David La Rose, managing director of IBM Australia and New Zealand, said: “The 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 deliver smarter, integrated, always-on digital services for citizens.”

“We look forward to helping the Australian Government to re-define the digital experience for the benefit of all Australians.”

Forty year relationship

IBM has a forty-year relationship with the Australian government, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing.

Australia’s 2016 Census ran into trouble when – according to an official review – “the Australian Bureau of Statistics, working in collaboration with IBM couldn’t handle a predicable problem” surrounding cyber security.

 

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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