The IT team at Queensland's Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts will soon be equipped with a new set of skills in order to interact better with customers, under a directive set by incoming CIO Gyl Stacey.
Stacey this week flagged intentions to work alongside her whole-of-government equivalent, QGCIO Andrew Mills, to turn DSITIA into a showcase for what other agencies can achieve with IT.
But before than can happen, “there is going to have to be some re-skilling”.
“Although we are quite good at technology and technology delivery, we are not that good at discussing strategy with our customers," Stacey told industry representatives in Brisbane.
"Our people need to have the skills to explain how IT can help create better outcomes for the business. We are probably going to be looking to people like you, our industry partners, to help us with that.”
DSITIA's current make-up of IT workers - predominantly technicians - is "going to have to change" to ensure they have the skills to explain how IT can help create better outcomes for the business.
Stacey moved to DSITIA from a technology role with the Queensland Police Service, taking over IT services for the department’s roughly 3000 employees.
She did not outline whether she expected the workforce overhaul to affect the numbers of IT employees working across the organisation, which already shed 271 roles from its IT-focussed divisions in 2012-13 as part of a Department-wide cull of 600 FTE positions.
The Department has continued to shrink, albeit at a slower rate, since 30 June 2013, having dropped roughly another 100 FTE staff in the nine months to March 2014.
Her team would also need to get better at their strategic people skills to prepare for the inevitable incursion of contestability into DSITIA’s operations under the state government’s hardline outsourcing push, Stacey said.
“Contestability is here now and we're not quite ready yet,” she told the audience.
“We have heaps of people ... who are willing and ready to engage with us to help us to deliver services in an efficient way through managed services or outsourcing. But quite frankly we're not there yet as an organisation.
“We have got to understand what we want and we have got to be able to articulate that to our suppliers. Once that service is delivered we have to be able to manage performance and we have to be able to manage contracts. We need to develop these skills into the future."