Qld to move to "ICT as a service"

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Qld to move to "ICT as a service"
Queensland's IT minister Ian Walker.
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First priorities

Queensland Government IT Minister Ian Walker said his staff are already working on new outsourcing agreements and proposals for the repair of troublesome systems identified in the audit.

Walker's team are also working on policies that aim to bring contestability to shared services.

These first priorities will be taken to Cabinet within the next two months, he said.

“We move from a role of provisioning the services to managing the provision."

But he hinted that some reforms might take a significant amount of time to implement.

“In respect to most of the recommendations we’ve accepted, all of them have to be subject to very detailed plans,” he said.

Death of CITEC

CITEC was born in 1965 and is the state’s main technology services provider. It had previously provided services to both the Queensland Government and the private sector, and in 2006 was restructured to work solely for the government.

The agency has encountered financial difficulty in more recent years and has suffered a limited take up of several programs.

The Commission of Audit report found there was currently ‘no clear logic or rationale to the range of services provided by CITEC’, which mostly include commodity ICT services.

The centralised provision of ICT services by an entity such as CITEC has ‘diminished relevance’ in today's IT environment, the report noted.

“Given the widespread availability of ICT services through private providers, there is no need for the continued government provision of ICT services, except where any market failure is identified.

“It is questionable as to whether CITEC has the capacity to compete effectively in a contestable market.”

The report recommended CITEC be discontinued within two years, with its assets and systems to be divested to the private sector.

The Government said in its response to the recommendation it would accept the advice but additional policy work was required to "consider broader issues”. 

The Government's response to the report suggest it may need to amend a program called 'ICT Strategic Procurement', revealed in Budget papers last year, that proposed CITEC would continue to develop managed services in partnership with the IT industry.

Walker told iTnews said the proposal would have to be revisited in light of the Costello recommendations. 

No longer a need to own IT

The report noted that owning its own IT assets at come at a “high-cost” for the Government. It relied too much on vendors’ systems and upgrades, and was locked in to technology solutions becoming obsolete in a rapidly moving market.

The state needed to achieve a balance between off the shelf IT and agency-specific IT, the report said.

“With the ready availability of commoditised ICT... governments do not need to own ICT assets in order to use ICT to support service delivery. Greater value is likely to be achieved by adopting a strategy of ‘ICT as a service’. "

Walker told iTnews that any potential move to embrace cloud computing was hindered by the IT ownership model.

“At the moment departments are mandated to share services, and we’re looking to move to contestability,” he said. “With departments not being mandated to use shared services there are again opportunities for the private industry to assist government in the provision of those services.

What of the State of IT audit report? Read on for more...

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