Microsoft partners with NSW govt on procurement analytics trial

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Microsoft partners with NSW govt on procurement analytics trial
Victor Dominello and Steven Worrall

The New Sales Wales government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft to trial a major data science project around the state’s $30 million annual procurement budget.

The NSW government’s Data Analytics Centre will work with the software and cloud giant to develop a proof of concept using Azure and several of its cognitive services to build a machine learning neural network to categorise how the state government allocates its procurement budget.

The proof of concept will analyse the 8 million transactions that constitute NSW’s annual procurement budget, and is expected to deliver greater clarity and provide insights around optimising procurement decision making and policy.

A key insight the government wishes to establish through the trial is to determine that it is generating value for money from its current spending strategy.  

“In the case of this particular project what we’re looking at is using some very sophisticated artificial intelligence techniques to analyse and categorise New South Wales’ procurement spend with the big picture goal of helping the people who are working to reform procurement,” NSW chief data scientist Ian Oppermann said.

NSW finance, service and property minister Victor Dominello said the state government’s data analytics centre employed top data scientists at the forefront of analytics inside government.

“Our partnership with Microsoft will allow the NSW DAC to go a step further, servicing not just NSW government agencies, but governments and corporates around the world,” he said.

“The DAC will leverage Microsoft’s deep engineering expertise with the goal of commercialising within a year.”

Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall said the project would demonstrate new data-based solutions that could be deployed globally.

“This allows DAC’s leading data scientists to blend their expertise with the rich analytics capabilities of the Azure stack, our array of cognitive services and then leverage the trusted and high performing global Azure cloud, so that DAC can scale its solutions rapidly and make them available in other geographies,” Worrall said.

“This really has the potential to shift the dial on data analytics for government and private enterprise. NSW is a genuine trailblazer.”

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