Defence CIO puts hard line on integrators

 

Demands "A-Team" from successful suppliers.

Defence CIO Greg Farr has warned a revitalised panel of approved systems integrators against moving in their "B-Team" to work on the agency's systems.

The panel, which will feature four to five integrators, is likely to be put in place by the end of September.

It comes one year after the department tendered for submissions to an internal review of Defence's IT sourcing strategy, aimed at speeding up the time taken to implement new applications and capabilities.

With the panel tender now closed, Defence has begun notifying successful applicants.

Defence CIO Greg Farr told iTnews that even those deemed suitable would be kept on a short leash.

"I said to a group at an industry briefing, 'once we actually partner with you, if you continue to show value for money, if you continue to deliver, if you continue to actually have the "A-Team" provided to us, then you can expect an ongoing flow of work'," Farr said. "'As soon as you don't do any of the above, then you won't get any work at all'."

An 'app store' approach to IT delivery

Both Farr and Defence chief technology officer Matt Yannopoulos have in recent years voiced concerns over Defence's slow approach to IT, and the pressures from internal staff to speed up capability and application deployment.

Yannopoulos claims an 'application store' approach is required  to reduce duplication of applications across networks with different clearance levels. Defence's secret network had "more than 1,000" applications, he said, while the lesser restricted network contained 3,086 applications at the time.

Farr said the idea of such a service catalogue had driven a desire within the department to approach IT on a more "ad-hoc" basis, an effect flowing onto how the department dealt with suppliers.

"I spoke to the industry probably six months ago, and I said to them 'you think you're competing against other systems integrators, but also you're really competing now against an app store," Farr said. "For any IT shop, including us, if people can go to an app store, download an app and pay $10 for it, that's the sort of expectation it can build up, and we need to build that up as well."

Farr said he had no overarching strategy as to when such a store might be put in place, but had considered the approach. The store would likely be limited to very basic apps such as office productivity and not large, complex applications like ERP systems.

The department had also discussed software-as-a-service as a potential solution to speeding up the delivery of basic applications, but Farr said vendor lock-in - among other security issues - had prevented Defence from exploring the idea further.

"We're always going to be slower than a small business that wants to pull something down," he said. "Having said that, I don't think we can take as long as we currently are to deliver some of our major applications."

Internal tune-up

The move to consolidate a new panel of integrators came in conjunction with an internal review around applications and project staff. A three-month restructure, sparked by a review commissioned by Farr from advisory Boston Consulting Group, was completed on 1 July and put in place for the first time this week.

Around 150 staff - specifically from the Applications Sustainment Branch - were realigned under the Information and Communications Technology Operations Division, led by Major General Mike Milford, who directly reported to Farr.

No staff were lost during the move, which Farr said was more likened to a "refocus" than restructure.

The staff moves, he said, reflected a transition in some IT projects from the design phase to execution.

"We kept drifting back to design and worrying at the edges of it," he said. "I was worried if we actually went on without that clearer focus, things were going to slip. The potential for slippage in six or 12 months was there, I thought."

Virtualising risk

Farr has also continued assessing whether to abandon the Kinnaird two-pass procurement process currently used by the department in consultation with the Federal Government.

Introduced in 2008, the two-pass process was designed to provide Cabinet with better information on major investments in ICT-enabled proposals.

Defence's next-generation desktops initiative was one such project facing delays as a result of the procurement process, having only gained first-pass approval in May despite plans to trial thin clients late last year. A land-based trial of desktops from one of the shortlisted suppliers - which include Raytheon, BAE Systems, Thales and HP - was expected to take place among 500 users in coming months.

A similar trial of thin clients on Defence battleship the HMAS Sydney earlier in the year was deemed successful.

The thin client approach allows user access to both the restricted and secret domains from a single machine.

"That's where the big pay-off for us is," he said. "Without much imagination you could see that extending down to an unclassified domain as well."

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Defence CIO puts hard line on integrators
Defence CIO Greg Farr.
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Defence CIO Greg Farr.
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1455

Vote