NSW Govt to upskill IT workforce in push to cloud

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NSW Govt to upskill IT workforce in push to cloud

Ticks off completed projects under 2012 strategy.

The NSW Government has stuck by its promise to annually review the 85 actions contained in its 2012 ICT strategy, today releasing an update on what it has completed and what it still has left to do.

It revealed plans to upskill its internal workforce in cloud computing as it continues to push government agencies to take up cloud-based services in its two newly-built data centres.

The state government last May launched a plan to evolve its ICT Strategy, laying out a lengthy number of key initiatives to be implemented before the end of 2014 that aimed to make better use of its annual $2 billion IT budget.

Rather than set out a firm roadmap it opted to assess the stated outcomes yearly in order to keep up with a continually evolving IT landscape.

The key targets focused on procurement, infrastructure, service centricity, open government and information sharing. One of the more significant and challenging plans involved a pilot of a government-wide private cloud offering.

The state released its cloud policy earlier this month, which mandated that agencies look at cloud-based services for new IT procurements. Part of the initiative involved the establishment of two new data centres in Silverwater and Unanderra, built by Metronode, which came online in July and August respectively.

Sixty cloud service providers had registered to be part of a private marketplace in those data centres in August, with another 30 indicating interest at the time.

The state will also use the centres to transition its 130 server rooms and data centres across NSW into the two new facilities, which it is in the process of doing. 

Agencies began migrating to the new data centres a few months ago, and the transition is expected to be completed by 2015. 

The state government said in its update today it is currently developing a broader IT sourcing framework to accompany the push for agencies to move towards cloud services.

Over the next year it will also develop virtualisation guidelines, guidance for optimum use of data centres, guidelines to assist agencies with the transition of legacy information and data, and identify opportunities for software rationalisation across whole of government.

Any wider adoption of cloud-based services would require the state government to take a closer look at the shape and characteristics of its future IT workforce, it said today.

Gaps would need to be identified and dealt with by an IT workforce management strategy, developed in collaboration with NICTA, CSIRO and universities.

The strategy is expected to allow IT and HR managers to recruit, manage, train and plot career paths “in a consistent manner”. It will be piloted across a small number of agencies this year before being more widely rolled out pending an evaluation of the pilots in Q2 next year. 

The state government has also implemented a service catalogue over the past year for agencies to procure email, office productivity, business applications, desktop hardware, IT infrastructure and software-as-a-service, in an effort to unify the technology and systems used by different agencies.

It will now work on establishing “strategic asset management systems” which will allow services and assets to be pooled together.

As part of the 2012 IT strategy, the government also introduced Service NSW as a method of improving services to the community. It is being brought online in several tranches, with a commercial launch of 18 “one-stop shop” service centres, one phone number, website, and call centre for a whole-of-government information service scheduled before the end of this year. 

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