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ICT Audit reveals Queensland’s technology rescue plan

by Paris Cowan •
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Better late than never, the Queensland Government today tabled the full report of its wide-ranging ICT Audit and its response to all 60 of the resulting recommendations.

Written by former Government CIO Peter Grant, the report says that its advice could see the State saving as much as $185 million every year on its current ICT activities and should rescue the core operation of the public service from the “parlous state” of its systems and infrastructure.

It also makes it clear that the Government’s key ICT vendors will have to join this path to transformation if they are going to maintain business relationships with the State’s agencies.

“The Government will now need industry to stand up and deliver,” the Audit demands.

“Existing models...where industry assume year on year revenue growth are simply not sustainable.

“Change of this nature will mean that not every vendor will be better off. Some vendors will seek to continue to play to their current strengths and commercial imperatives. The Queensland Government must be prepared to resist a degree of industry pressure to maintain the status quo,” it says.

The changes will take time, Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts Ian Walker told Intermedium today, but they will be transformative over the long term.

“Things are not going to change dramatically overnight,” he said. “We are going to take a measured approach to the recommendations and we will move promptly but steadily to address the systems as they have been identified”.

“I’m sure that as we move forward there will be more and more activity, which is a great thing for the local industry,” he said.

First priorities – make sure you are prepared!

The Audit has identified 15 agency applications underscoring core government functions, which pose the greatest risk amongst the 1,730 that it assessed.

Scroll to the end of this story to see the full list

The combined cost of replacing all 15 is estimated at more than $788 million, more than a cash-strapped Queensland Government can afford. So instead it has accepted the report’s recommendation perform “minimal necessary upgrades” on these priority applications. This process understood to be already underway amongst agencies.

Lead ICT department, of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts has also put up its hand to be the first to make the transition to cloud-based email, with trials of Google Apps for Business and Microsoft Office365 underway. It will approach the market in September for electronic communication and collaboration services, and infrastructure-as-a-service options.

The Government has also agreed to a program of quick wins with the potential to save $39 million each year including cutting unused phone services, optimising mobile data plans, and consolidating telecommunications accounts.

Long term changes

The recommendations of the Audit reveal the categories of ICT which will be transitioned to ICT-as-a-service and outsourced delivery models over time.

The Government has accepted recommendations to write up business cases to:

  1. Outsource all Queensland Government payroll processing;
  2. Outsource all Queensland Government finance systems;
  3. Transition all agencies to cloud based email services; and
  4. Transition suitable agency workloads to onto cloud-based infrastructure.

All of these are in keeping with its adoption of a ‘cloud first’ approach to ICT procurement, which was announced last week.

Minister Walker has denied that the dire state of Queensland Government ICT is the primary driver behind its firm embrace of cloud computing models.

“The move to cloud stands up as a business case on its own,” he said.

“I think that cloud is a direction in which business and more and more governments are heading and I think it was always going to be a prime consideration when it came to where Queensland would move.”

Vendors will also be glad to hear that Queensland will reform its ICT decision making framework to ensure that agencies change business process to match out-of-the-box software, rather than customising systems to their own unique ways of working.

The recommendations of the ICT Audit, alongside those of the recently tabled Commission of Audit will inform the Queensland Government’s soon-to-be released ICT Strategy. Industry members can submit feedback on a strategy discussion paper here.

Critical applications and estimated cost of replacement:

  1. Queensland Health QH Hospital Based Corporate Information System (HBCIS) ($250m)
  2. Department of Community Safety Human Capital Management System ($150m)
  3. Queensland Health AUSLAB ($131m)
  4. Queensland Shared Services finance and HR systems (more than $77m)
  5. Department of Housing and Public Works SAP Housing Tenancy Management, Plant Maintenance, Project Systems ($75m)
  6. Department of Natural Resources and Mines Automated Titling System ($40m)
  7. Queensland Health payroll solution (more than $40m)
  8. Queensland Health AUSCARE ($5m)
  9. Queensland Treasury and Trade TriData ($5m)

10. Queensland Police Service Incident Management System ($5m)

11. Queensland Police Service Weapons Licencing Management System ($4.2m)

12. Queensland Health Finance business solution ($4.1m)

13. Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services Carepay system ($1m)

14. Department of Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing IAParks Version 2 ($0.8m)

15. Department of Community Safety Disaster Management Portal ($0.04m)


Related Articles:

QLD Budget ICT cupboard is bare...again

Queensland Government goes ‘cloud first’

Minister not yet firm on what 'ICT as a Service' will actually mean for Queensland

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