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CenITex rises from the ashes

by Justin Hendry •
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Off the back of an $8.4 million surplus in 2014-15, CenITex has emerged from the brink of outsourcing and has already begun to improve its shared services offering to its 20 clients across the Victorian public sector. 

In the months since the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) handed down its Strategic Review of Business Support Services (BSSSR), CenITex has increased onsite customer support and simplified access to the IT Service Centre using a new interactive voice response menu, according to a CenITex spokesperson.

It has also begun looking to the cloud for the provision of some ICT services.

“We are currently piloting the hosting of a new application in the cloud with a cloud service provider on behalf of a customer and anticipate running further pilots with other services providers with a view to forming contractual relationships in the near future.”

This approach is consistent with an email sent by CenITex CEO Michael Vanderheide around the time of the decision to discontinue CeniITex’s outsourcing, which suggested that cloud would be explored to improve efficiency, mobility and drive down costs.  

Cloud computing is also one of three whole-of-government reference groups which were established at the direction of CenITex, along with cyber security and ICT architecture, according to the spokesperson.

CenITex currently provides ICT services to six departments: the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR); Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP); Health and Human Services (DHHS); Justice and Regulation (DJR); Premier and Cabinet; and Treasury and Finance (DFT).

The reduction in the number of departments serviced by CenITex from eight to six in 2014 is attributed to Machinery of Government changes made by Premier Daniel Andrews in December 2014, which saw the consolidation of two departments. No departments have parted ways with CenITex prior to the Review or following the discontinuation of the $6 million plan to outsource all Centex services to a sole vendor, known as Project Atlas.

In addition to the six departments, CenITex provides services to 14 other government entities and agencies, including the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Public Transport Victoria, Taxi Services Commission, VicForests, Victorian Ombudsman, Court Services Victoria (CSV), Public Record Office, and Victorian Public Sector Commission.

CenITex’s turnaround follows a successful 2014-15, which ended in a surplus of $8.4 million – the first since 2010. This was largely as a result of a “focus on cost management and cost reduction, and by increased productivity enabled through efficiencies realised from investments in modernising and standardising infrastructure on the Government Shared Platform (GSP),” states the 2014-15 Annual Report.

According to the spokesperson, the GSP is a highly scalable, shared ICT infrastructure that enables CenITex to offer workplace, hosting, network and professional services to customers, including desktop computing, custom applications, virtual workplaces and mobility solutions. Moreover, the solution allows for easy cross-Departmental communication and sharing of information. 

It “delivers services that require specialised understanding of the Victorian Government, such as secure data processing and storage, database administration and specialist information security services,” according to the spokesperson.

The spokesperson said that DJR, EPA and CSV will be the only remaining departments, associated agencies and government entities who are yet to migrate to the GSP, after DHHS decided to transition over the coming 12 months.

CenITex also appointed four new high ranking public servants to its Board of Directors in January 2016, following a recommendation in the BSSSR. They will join existing board members Randall Straw, Joh Barker, Richard Tait and Conrad Harvey.

The new members are DEDJTR Secretary Richard Bolt, DELWP Deputy Secretary of Corporate Services Kathryn Anderson, DHHS Deputy Secretary of Regulation, Health Protection and Emergency Management Amanda Cattermole, and DJR Deputy Secretary of Corporate Governance and Infrastructure Gail Moody.

The spokesperson also said that CenITex’s staff attrition rate over the last twelve months is at an all-time low, at six per cent.

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