Last week, Defence Minister John Faulkner released the much anticipated Defence ICT Strategy.
From the first page of the document, Faulkner has made it clear "there will be a whole-of-portfolio approach". While there will be room for some local flexibility, such as determining project priorities and timing, essentially the integrity of the plan will need to be maintained. Later in his Forward of the document, Faulkner went on to state it more clearly: "Put simply, investment decisions will reflect departmental priorities, and end users will help shape the specifics of what they get, and when they get it."
The Plan puts a clear stamp of authority onto the role of the Chief Information Officer. This includes clear lines of accountability and governance.
The Plan is structured around four strategic Imperatives, each broken down into a number of discrete strategic elements, with identified benefits:
1. Optimise the value of Defence’s ICT investment through cost transparency, improved stakeholder communication, prioritisation of spend and efficiency in ICT activities.
- Improve ICT cost transparency and stakeholder communication
- Prioritise for effective ICT spend
- Optimise project operations and efficiency
- Harmonise with whole-of-government initiatives
2. Drive closer alignment with stakeholders through a stakeholder-centric organisation model, improving engagement and driving towards a collaborative approach to developing ICT capabilities.
- Improve alignment between stakeholder needs and ICT capabilities
- Align ICT organisation with stakeholders
- Become easier to work with
- Design solutions collaboratively with stakeholders
- Implement Defence-wide ICT Governance
3. Provide agreed, priority solutions through the establishment of a Defence-wide ICT Operating Model and Enterprise Architecture promoting standardisation and consolidation.
- Stabilise and secure ICT
- Consolidate, standardise and optimise ICT
- Address new ICT requirements
- Leverage emerging technologies to address new business needs
- Create and adopt an Enterprise Architecture
4. Strengthen ICT capabilities through improvements to culture, leadership, processes, skills, sourcing and resource planning.
- Energise the culture
- Strengthen ICT leadership
- Improve processes and tools
- Professionalise the workforce
- Leverage vendors and sourcing
- Leverage scale and effective resource planning and management
The plan identifies a number of short term deliverables. These include:
- Standing up the Stakeholder Engagement Teams (SETs) to help prioritise requirements;
- Standing up the new matrix organisation structure to support the SETs; and
- Deploying the refined portfolio management process to manage the approval, and monitor the delivery and ongoing sustainment of ICT capabilities.
The Defence ICT strategy clearly outlines a number of ambitious goals, but these goals are necessary to support the successful delivery of the overall Strategic Reform Program. Importantly, the ICT Strategy has settled a number of key questions around governance and direction.