Government agencies sized up under ICT scorecard

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Government agencies sized up under ICT scorecard
Finger poised over calculator

Benchmark reports due by February 2012.

Australia's Government agencies have been asked to provide data on their IT operations as part of a bold new push to benchmark them against their Federal, State, Territory and outsourcing counterparts.

Revealed in an expression of interest (EOI) issued late last week, the scheme will be led by Australia's Department of Finance and Regulation, who will appoint a third party to compile benchmark reports based on information gleaned from Federal, State and Territory governments.

First benchmark reports are expected to be submitted by February 2012, based on 40 metrics from the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Target areas to be benchmarked include:

  • End user infrastructure
  • Midrange (Servers)
  • Local Area Network (LAN) & Remote Access Services (RAS)
  • Storage
  • Facilities (Data centres)
  • Applications; and
  • Helpdesk

Each of these areas will generate metrics such as:

  • Proportion (%) of total “business as usual” (BAU) expenditure
  • Proportion (%) outsourced
  • Annual per unit operational cost
  • Annual per unit capital replacement cost
  • Capital replacement timeframe
  • Proportion (%) vendors of total ICT vendors
  • Percentage (%) mix ICT internal vs. external full time equivalent (FTE); and
  • Percentage (%) proportion ICT FTE of total end users

The Australian Government said it would "refine" these metric definitions in consultation with a working group with representatives of other jurisdictions.

The project aims to generate two major types of benchmark reports:

  • analysis and static reporting services
  • online dashboard reporting services  - somewhat like the dashboard already used by the US Government.

The Department of Finance said it will use the metrics for benchmarking reports that compare ICT performance across all levels of government. Data will be collected on operational expenditure, capital expenditure and depreciation to allow for direct comparison.

Individual governments will be responsible for collecting the data and providing it to the third party provider of analysis. The Department of Finance planned to enter into a contract as the coordinator of the benchmarking exercise and meet the costs of the initial project, but the EOI suggests the Australian Government expects the States and Territories to share some of the costs of providing the data in the future.

Five of Australia's nine governments are expected to participate in the cross-jurisdictional benchmarking exercise in the first year, whilst additional jurisdictions may participate in future years, according to tender documents.

The move to benchmark Federal ICT expenditure has been on the agenda for some time and re-emerged most recently as one of the key propositions in the the Secretary of Finance’s Vision Statement.

In November 2009, Australian Federal, State and Territory Governments agreed to standardise standardised ICT performance measurement across government beginning with establishing common metrics. 

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