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The 10 events that shaped government ICT in 2012

by Intermedium •
Free resource

In the past 12 months Intermedium has brought you the latest news and exclusive insights into the changes that influence the government ICT sector.

As we look back upon 2012, we have compiled a top ten list of events and issues that defined the market throughout the previous year. In order of impact on the market, this is our top ten:

1. Major reforms to panel arrangements

2012 was the year that Australian Governments at State and Federal levels took a hard look at procurement panels and decided that in many instances there was a better alternative. Within a fortnight of each other, NSW and Victoria announced reforms to free up their IT services procurement arrangements.  These had previously been based on closed whole-of-government standing offer arrangements. Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce has since confirmed his intention to dissolve many of the panels functioning at a whole-of-government level in NSW. At the Federal level, the Australian National Audit Office had its say on the risks of panel procurement in May, and in April the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) decided it would base its high-profile Data-Centre-as-a-Service arrangement on a Multi-Use List model.  For hardware ‘commodity‘ products, however, panels are set to remain, with the Federal Government likely to expand their range.

2. NSW hands down transformational ICT Strategy

After 16 years in opposition, the NSW Coalition was keen to act upon the policy reforms that won it government, and ICT has been no exception. In May 2012, just over a year after it assumed Government, the O’Farrell Government released its ICT Strategy, setting a roadmap for an ambitious reform program featuring a whole-of-government government transition to cloud computing by 2015. On the down side, the ICT Strategy reforms are to be achieved via savings rather than budget funding, which will put ongoing pressure on the Strategy timeline. 

3. Queensland’s ICT Audit

The Bligh Labor Government’s high profile ICT failures formed a key part of the Queensland Liberal-National Party campaign arsenal and the party wasted little time in launching a comprehensive audit of the State Government’s ICT functions and assets upon forming Government. The findings of the audit, which are yet to be made public, will shape Queensland’s ICT direction for at least the term of this Government and given 2012’s landslide victory, probably into a second LNP term.  The measures are predicted to focus on cost-cutting and cloud computing.

4. AGIMO restructured

Australian Government CIO Ann Steward’s November announcement that she would retire from the public service triggered much speculation around who would step up to replace her. But as December drew to a close her former unit, AGIMO, revealed that the GCIO position would be restructured along with the rest of AGIMO’s functions, which would be split between policy and procurement. Glenn Archer was named as the new GCIO, and head of a policy-focussed AGIMO. John Sheridan was appointed as the inaugural Government Chief Technology Officer and put in charge of a new Technology and Procurement Division. 

5. Big wins for Telstra

Telstra should look back upon 2012 fondly when it comes to public sector business. In July it was named as the winner of the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) newly consolidated managed telecommunications services deal, worth $474 million. This success was followed by the October announcement that it had been ‘down-selected’ as Defence’s preferred tenderer for the Department’s Terrestrial Communications deal, knocking Optus out of the running for the $1 billion-plus contract. Telstra has already begun recruitment to meet its Defence obligations, meaning that a raft of permanent ICT jobs may present themselves in Canberra at a time when the government contractor market is dwindling.

6. Data Centre deal FINALLY signed in NSW

Tendering and negotiations for the NSW Government’s bid to construct itself two modern data centres spanned more than 2.5 years and a change of government.  The market could have been excused for thinking the whole thing would die a quiet death under the new Coalition Government, but in May 2012 Finance and Services Minister Greg Pearce announced that an $182 million contract had been awarded to Metronode to build the facilities. Server rationalisation, virtualisation and assistance with relocation are some of the opportunities that will be on offer to IT Service suppliers.

7. Greg Farr leaves Defence

In July 2012 the Department of Defence revealed that its Chief Information Officer Greg Farr would not be renewing his contract and that it was searching for a replacement. Farr had spent five years in what is undoubtedly one of the most powerful ICT roles in Government, Federal or State, in Australia.  Dr Peter Lawrence, who has held technology roles at Shell, ANZ Bank and most recently Origin Energy, was named as Farr’s successor and took up his duties on 26 November 2012.

8. Federal Government launches its inaugural ICT Strategy

In October the Federal Government released its first cohesive whole-of-government ICT Strategy, 18 months and two drafts after it first sought public opinion on its vision. While the document itself did not herald any major changes to the Commonwealth’s ICT direction, its very existence can be seen as symbolic of the Government’s intentions to nurture inter-agency cooperation and a single technology vision.

9. Victoria cuts its losses and ditches HealthSMART

Unfortunately for the Baillieu Government, ICT continued to create major issues for Victoria in 2012. In May the Government decided to halt implementation of its HealthSMART eHealth program despite $500 million already spent. Stakeholders were called up to have their say in front of a Parliamentary Inquiry in August, and declared that what should have been a simple system was overcomplicated by a vast and uncompromising health network. In October the Victorian Ombudsman tabled his findings of serious corruption and mismanagement at ICT agency CenITex. However, on the positive side, a final ICT Strategy is due imminently, hopefully marking a turnaround in the State’s ICT performance in 2013.

10. DIAC market tests outsourced IT

In June the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) approached the market for what is likely to become one of the major deals of 2013, with a value potentially exceeding $750 million over its full term. As of 31 December 2012, a shortlist of tenderers is due to have been drawn up for one or both of the Department’s enterprise computing tranches – Mainframe Services and Selected IT Services.

Related Articles:

The 10 events that shaped government ICT in 2011


For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.

  • Ann Steward
  • DIAC
  • Glenn Archer
  • Greg Farr
  • Greg Pearce
  • HealthSMART
  • ICT Outsourcing
  • ICT Services Panels
  • John Sheridan
  • metronode
  • NSW ICT Strategy
  • Peter Lawrence
  • Queensland ICT Audit
  • Ros Bates
  • Telstra
  • Data Centres