Victorian ICT shared services agency CenITex will begin outsourcing key services “in a couple of weeks”, as it seeks to turn itself from an owner and provider to a broker of IT services.
In an emailed statement, chief executive Michael Vanderheide confirmed the plan to transform CenITex was in the process of being implemented.
“This overall program of work will result in a fundamental redesign of CenITex,” he said.
“The intent is to test the market in the areas of hosting, storage, network and desktop and, where it makes sense, for CenITex to broker these services to our customers instead of providing them.
“The scope of the program is being finalised through discussions across Government with CenITex working very closely with its customer departments, the office of the Chief Technology Advocate and with the local ICT industry.”
The outsourcing initiative, known as ‘Program Evolve’, first came to light in May when slides of a briefing to staff were leaked to a journalist at The Age.
The next stages of the transition to outsourced service provision are expected to run more or less in line with the schedule set out in the leaked slides, meaning that contracts with private sector suppliers could be finalised towards the middle of next year, leaving agency transitions to be conducted by July 2016.
The May briefing revealed the full extent of the agency’s troubles. It showed that at least 75 percent of CenITex’s desktop, storage and hosting environments were legacy, with no financial prospect of an upgrade. The cost of running these assets was not expected to drop into the future, despite a downward forecast in revenues.
In its present form CenITex provides ICT infrastructure and desktop services to 12 Victorian departments and agencies. As of June 2012 theses services spanned 36,800 desktops and were delivered by 683 staff, including contractors.
Neither CenITex nor the office of Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips have responded to queries about the number of staff a reformed shared services agency would require.
CIO keen for change
Program Evolve has already attracted the endorsement of VicRoads IT chief Susan Sly.
“I am very optimistic about the changes taking place,” she said. “I think it is an opportunity to effectively leverage industry capability.”
VicRoads is not currently a client of CenITex, being one of three agencies whose transition to the shared services supplier was halted by the government pending a CenITex review in October 2011.
However Sly said a future move to a reformed shared services provider would be in keeping with her agency’s ICT goals.
“Its not my role to sign VicRoads up to any particular business model,” she said. “But we have publically stated that it is our intention to procure commodity services from the market, and if we could do this through Program Evolve that would be great.”