Topics: Digital Transformation; Qld.
Less than six months since 5000 public servants moved into Queensland’s new government building at 1 William Street, the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) Assistant Director-General, Strategic ICT Division Dallas Stower says the benefits of the “anytime, anywhere, on any device” ICT environment are already being felt.
With 21 agencies now settled in, Stower told Intermedium that expectations have largely been met in terms of functionality, with 81 per cent of staff successfully logging into their IT systems within five minutes of moving into the new space.
Set up and managed by prime contractor Dimension Data at a cost approaching $65 million over five years, the network at 1 William Street “cuts pretty close” to the modern, innovative and adaptable workplace envisioned in the 1 William Street blueprint.
The 2014 blueprint included plans for as-a-Service delivery models, a single shared network, and a federated identity management solution.
The design of 1 William Street was driven by the need to break down silos to facilitate collaboration in and across government agencies. By allowing employees to connect back to their home agency from anywhere in the building, the single network (wired and wireless) enables ad hoc collaboration both within and between different agencies, and lets off-site colleagues log in easily when visiting.
“I can go anywhere and any floor in the building and have wireless access to my agency and wireless access to my systems.
“Previously, there would have been multiple networks going into a building, and there would have been a challenge in terms of moving across floors to collaborate”, said Stower.
Central to the 1 Williams Street ICT environment is the federated identity management system, which enables greater employee flexibility and the freedom to move around the building.
“You can move anywhere in the building and print… go to any printer, tap an ID card and print… these are the sorts of things that allow people to be freely moving around”, said Stower.
Other technology intended to break down silos include video conferencing rooms and team collaboration environments, where people can connect their devices and share information on a screen.
The set up at 1 William Street not only improves work conditions and the effectiveness of government operations, but also reduces overall ICT spending.
The single shared network allows agencies to consume cloud-based applications and other IT resources on an as-a-Service basis. This consumption-based model also provides longer term saving by having technology refresh cycles built into the contracts.
Also, the federated identity model is resilient to the costs of Machinery of Government changes and other organisational alterations, where there are “often a lot of costs involved with moving things around”, according to Stower.
Similar ICT arrangements have been pursued in other jurisdictions, including Tasmania. Central to the Tasmanian Government’s digital transformation agenda is the Tasmanian Cloud project, which (once complete) will allow government staff to access ICT services, business applications and information from any physical location or agency, and easily share information with other agencies.
At the federal level, the Department of Finance has contracted ASG to refresh the department’s ICT environment, including both the physical layer of Finance’s IT environment, as well as Sharepoint, the email engine and exchange, and mobile device management. According to acting First Assistant Secretary of the Information, Technology and Workplace division Michael Hirschfeld – speaking at a Senate Estimates hearing in February 2016 – the electronic work environment is intended to reduce operational costs by abolishing asset ownership, facilitate easier collaboration, and improve staff output and flexibility.