Early cloud adopters emerge in WA Government

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Early cloud adopters emerge in WA Government

Small agencies test the water.

A handful of smaller agencies in the Western Australian Government will lead the charge towards cloud computing in the state’s public sector.

Tourism WA and the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) have teamed up to implement simultaneous instances of TechnologyOne’s ‘OneGovernment’ ERP solution in their respective organisations, with both systems going live late in May 2013.

“The joint implementation by two small agencies working in partnership was probably one of the most critical success factors in the project as it enabled us to pool our collective knowledge and skills,” Tourism WA chief executive officer Stephanie Buckland told iTnews.

“Given both agencies are Statutory Authorities within the WA Government there were a lot of similarities but flexibility in the project to cater for the nuances needed for each agency’s business needs,” she said.

Periodic licensing fees will be split between the agencies, which have a combined workforce of less than 150.

They join the Department of Water in having selected OneGovernment as a replacement for the Oracle eBusiness suite being decommissioned across the State Government, after its central shared services scheme was terminated in 2011.

Both Tourism WA and the SBDC told iTnews value for money was the primary driver behind their selection of a cloud alternative over traditional SAP or Oracle-based builds.

“We are a relatively small agency, so it would have been considerably more expensive for us to purchase the infrastructure ourselves and employ the expertise to operate it, than to contract those services to outside providers,” said SBDC chief executive officer David Eaton.

SBDC will use the cloud solution for financial management while Tourism WA has selected modules covering finance, procurement and credit card acquittal. It has implemented another solution for its HR and payroll needs, but Buckland added that it would continue to keep an eye on “how TechnologyOne continues to evolve” in this area.

IT strife conducive to cloud?

Cloud adoption has been allowed to progress organically in Western Australia. The State Government has not followed in the footsteps of Queensland or the Commonwealth by adopting a central policy push towards cloud-based solutions.

TechnologyOne chief Adrian Di Marco said that in his experience urgency or adversity was a much more powerful lever to push organisations towards thinking outside of the box anyway.

“Early adopters are those who are trying to fix a problem. They are open to new ideas,” he said. “People who are just chugging along tend to take the back seat.”

In Western Australia the biggest ICT challenge facing agencies is the completion of a $370+ million transition-out of the government’s failed shared services scheme, which will force a third of all agencies to re-establish internal corporate systems before March next year.

TechnologyOne has already cashed in on the ERP boom that followed, signing on 21 WA agencies as a result of the decommissioning process.

Di Marco criticised the approach of traditional ERP giants to the government market, and said innovation and an off-the-shelf approach to software were the secret to his company’s success in WA.

“Oracle and SAP are basically asleep at the wheel,” he said. “We already know what most governments are looking for and we have preconfigured a solution accordingly. They can make whatever adjustments they want to that”.

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