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ISIS upgrade looks promising

by Chris Huckstepp •
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The fate of the $1 billion Income Security Integrated System (ISIS) upgrade will soon be decided, with DHS almost ready to present its business case to Government.

“We will provide the advice when the government chooses to make the decision,” said Department of Human Services Secretary, Kathryn Campbell to the Senate Estimates Committee on Community Affairs Legislation (the Estimates Committee) on Friday 24 October.

The Government recognises the need to rebuild ISIS, which was described by the National Commission of Audit as “a significant risk to a core function of government”.

Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews told The World Today last week that ISIS will cost at least $1 billion to rebuild but that some Government policy goals will be compromised with an “antiquated” ICT system.

“But, obviously there is some recognition that, if we want to make changes, we need to have up to date IT and that's what I'll be proposing.”

Gary Sterrenberg, Deputy Secretary, Chief Information Officer Group informed the Estimates Committee of the advice the Department had received, stating “The unanimous advice that we have been given by those we have consulted is to break this into smaller pieces—work packages—to make sure that it is governed clearly.”

”I think those that have failed have tried to spend a lot of time in dark rooms building things, and by the time they have come out the world has changed. Having those checkpoints to assess whether the project is still on the right track is good advice. Those that have been more successful in recent years have achieved that by chunking it down into these work packages,” said Sterrenberg.

The National Commission of Audit, released in May 2014 was scathing of the 30 year old ISIS, citing its obsolete coding languages and overall inflexibility made payments and maintenance costs high. ISIS was also blamed for increasing the need for debt recovery by DHS.

DHS has spent $7.9 million of the $16.2 million allocated to the development of a business case. 

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