WA hopes to slice 10 percent off IT spend

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WA hopes to slice 10 percent off IT spend

State government gets ready to lift its game.

Western Australia has released a strict and ambitious IT strategy it hopes will slice ten percent off its annual technology costs and return the savings to its deeply ailing budget.

WA's freshly minted Office of the Government Chief Information Officer has set out to show it is serious about turning its IT around, with a set of stretch KPIs and six-monthly meetings with cabinet booked in to keep decision makers up to date with the public sector’s progress.

By 2020, the OGCIO wants to achieve more than:

  • 90 percent of IT components of major projects completed on time and on budget
  • 90 percent of government digital services meeting agreed service levels
  • 90 percent of of agency bosses confident in their internal IT advice
  • 75 percent of all customer transactions done through digital channels
  • 90 percent of ICT reinvestment plans meeting their targets
  • 90 percent of WA agencies reaching level three IT maturity
  • 10 percent cut in the overall government spend on IT

The office will spend the coming year benchmarking whole of government IT spending - which ministers have placed somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion per annum - and the relative IT maturity of WA agencies, which it intends to classify into lead, supporter or adopter categories.

The state government, struck by an exodus of mining royalties and GST income, unveiled one of the most challenging sets of figures the west has ever seen earlier this month.

Now, IT, previously pinned as a cash drain thanks to infamous incidents like the delayed Fiona Stanley Hospital and the ballooning Fujitsu data centre deal at WA Health, wants to do its part to cut unnecessary spending.

“The current economic climate is extremely tight, with few funds available for new investment, and the cultural inertia inherent in any large organisation will make planning and managing change of particular importance,” the strategy states.

“However, the time to act to improve government ICT is now. A failure to act will only result in Western Australia falling even further behind the rest of the country, at the very time when community expectations are being shaped by the likes of Apple, Google, and eBay."

The OGCIO thinks it can recoup significant funds by transitioning expensive human-led government services online, and has revealed it plans to follow in the steps of the other states by establishing a service delivery portal modelled on something like Service NSW.

It is also urging - but not forcing - agencies to think about cloud and as-a-service procurement models next time they go to market, but is also quick to point out that this is “not a cloud first policy”.

It instead has some frank advice for agency CIOs considering this path.

“Not everything can go in the cloud,” the strategy states.

“Some services marketed as ‘cloud’ aren’t, and would cost, rather than save, money. In some cases security, data sovereignty, accessibility or even legislation may prevent an otherwise suitable cloud service from being used.”

It is looking to weed out dodgy projects with an IT projects dashboard by 2018. The strategy also sets out to complete the ‘GovNext’ procurement overhaul, which the OCIO hopes will see new central deals signed later this year.

"The digital WA strategy will accelerate the pace of digital transformation across the public sector, which will ultimately benefit all West Australians in accessing and using government services," Innovation Minister Bill Marmion said in a statement,

“The targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) in the strategy are ambitious, but reflect the government's strong commitment to delivering enhanced digital services to West Australians."

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