Victorian government set to go 'cloud-first'

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Victorian government set to go 'cloud-first'

Cost-cutting and service delivery drive first annual ICT strategy update.

The Victorian government appears set to implement a ‘cloud-first’ procurement policy sometime in the next two years, according to a consultation draft of its updated ICT strategy.

The draft strategy (pdf) includes two new core ‘principles’ governing IT decision-making in the state’s public sector, including a provision that “cloud-based business technology services will be evaluated first for new and renewed systems” as they reach trigger points for replacement.

“The preference will be for standard versions with little or no customisation. Most services that are supplied using ICT are not unique, and many other governments around the world are using standard systems serving similar needs to Victoria’s,” the draft strategy states.

At the time of writing the office of technology minister Gordon Rich-Phillips had not yet clarified for iTnews whether or not agencies would be required to deliver additional justification for non-cloud purchases, as is the case in some international jurisdictions.

Industry representatives and members of the public have until 10 February to let the Victorian government know what they think of the policy, as well as a range of other new measures that the state has proposed in an effort to boost productivity under tightening budgetary conditions.

The state has already talked up efforts to squeeze expenditure margins in 2013, including a determination on the part of CIOs to “forgo projects of lower priority in part as a response to a tighter fiscal environment” and the ongoing transformation of service agency CenITex into a “leaner procurement, standards, architecture and integration” organisation.

The coming 12 months are due to produce an infrastructure-as-a-service roadmap for the state, that will centre around VicConnect telecommunications purchasing reforms that have been on the agenda for some time.

The strategy update reveals the government’s intention to establish a “whole of government platform, akin to a government Virtual Private Network for ICT services”.

It will also ask that agencies develop BYOD policies and design websites and online services in a way that is focused on usability via mobile devices.

The government is eyeing off the sorts of levels of service delivery satisfaction delivered via online channels by private sector leaders like banks and big business.

As part of this enterprise, it is chasing strategic partnerships with some unlikely collaborators as it seeks to reach a point where it can benchmark its own service delivery against that of the private sector.

The central IT agency, the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation, has been inspired by the Victoria Police’s use of electronic online games techniques – or ‘serious games’ – in training exercises.

The agency hopes to strike up a relationship with the Game Developers Association of Australia that will help Victoria build new public-facing applications and services “as a demonstration of using gamification to deliver value to citizens”.

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