The Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) has, for the third time this year, begun the process of shifting a major system to the cloud, making it potentially the most active adopter of cloud in any Australian jurisdiction.
DETE has released an Invitation to Offer (ITO) for the implementation of a stand-alone cloud based service catalogue for all corporate services.
According to the ITO documents, it is envisaged that the process will achieve a “web based, customer centric service catalogue providing work flow automation, purchasing capability and reporting”.
The catalogue is to supplement the Department’s IT Service Management product Service Now and, should it have the capability, be considered a fail-over option for Service Now.
Software manufacturer Service Now is a relative newcomer - having been founded in California by the previous Chief Technology Officer of Peregrine Systems in 2003. Service Now’s first ‘platform as a service’ was launched in 2003 as a forms-based workflow system. Its current offering includes cloud-based applications for business process automation, service portfolio management, IT cost management, project and portfolio management as well as HR and facilities management.
DETE expects that the service catalogue solution will include at a minimum the following corporate services:
- Human resource;
- Legal; and
- ICT Services.
The system will be required to support potentially 100,000 end users. The successful supplier will be required to provide ongoing training and system maintenance.
The ITO documents do not provide a projected cost for the project, nor was the project provided any funding in the 2013-14 Budget according to Intermedium’s Budget IT Tool. As a cloud based solution, it is highly likely that DETE will fund its costs from existing Operational Expenditure allocations.
The Service Catalogue project marks DETE’s third approach to the market this year to move a major system to the cloud.
In April 2013, DETE approached the market for a software-as-a-service replacement of its Learning Management System used across the State’s 80+ TAFE campuses by more than 200,000 students.
In July 2013, DETE again approached the market for a Student Management Solution to provide business process automation and self-service administration.
DETE has also been operating an internally managed Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution, according to the Department’s Assistant Director-General, Corporate Services David O’Hagan.
“DETE currently has a 300 seat virtual desktop environment within its corporate network”, said O’Hagan.
“This implementation was primarily developed to support remote workers and to provide agility of work units in the event of a disaster recovery scenario.”
DETE’s willingness to look to the cloud for its ICT needs puts it in strong alignment with the Queensland Government’s ‘cloud first’ policy.
In May 2013, Queensland’s Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts Ian Walker announced that his Government would adopt a ‘cloud first’ approach to ICT services in response to the recommendations of the Costello Report.
Under the approach, agencies must select cloud options for ICT procurements unless they can demonstrate that non-cloud alternatives are more cost effective.
Cloud is also viewed by agencies as an effective way to mitigate against the impact of staffing cuts and fiscal consolidation.
The Queensland Government ICT Strategy 2013-17 encourages agencies to procure ICT as-a-service to reduce “the ongoing need for departments to manage commodity ICT in house”. Desktop virtualisation is identified in the strategy as offering “greater flexibility, and…reduced cost to government”.
The DETE workforce has shrunk since the election of the Newman Coalition Government in March 2012. As of June 2013, DETE employed 66,629 FTEs, down 1.2 per cent from 67,435 a year earlier according to the Queensland Public Service Commission.
With the stated aim of process automation, the services catalogue is one way that DETE hopes to rein in expenditure on back-office processes.
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