The Northern Territory will implement a new ICT Governance Framework effective from 1 July 2014 according to the Territory’s 2014-15 Budget.
The Department of Corporate and Information Services (DCIS) lists the framework among its strategic issues for the year, stating that the issue is “Improving strategic ICT investment decisions and management of major ICT initiatives across government through the implementation of a new Northern Territory Government ICT Governance Framework.”
IT project management and governance has been a major issue for the NT demonstrated most recently when the Asset Management System (AMS) was scrapped after a review found that it would be too costly to make the system fit for purpose.
Originally commissioned by the former Labor Government at an estimated cost of $7.2 million, the project’s costs blew out to $70 million before it was cancelled by the current Country Liberal Government.
“KPMG estimate this would cost taxpayers a further $120 million and take five years to complete. We will not be taking the approach of throwing good money after bad,” said Minister for Corporate and Information Services, Dave Tollner when he announced the project cancellation in March 2014.
The very high profile and expensive failure of the Asset Management System has prompted the Government to adopt the new framework in a bid to improve project governance and hence improve project outcomes.
Governance was identified as the key issue in ICT project failure with the Minister saying that “The single most critical thing is to put into place a stronger, more robust governance approach and get the right senior people within Government participating in it.”
According to the budget papers the DCIS will use the ICT Governance Framework to monitor five major ICT projects in 2014-15. While the budget does not specify which projects will be monitored, it seems certain that the replacement system for the AMS will be among the monitored projects.
DCIS has been allocated additional funding of $12.5 million over three years in this 2014-15 budget to deliver the Asset System Network (ASNET) which will replace the AMS.
ASNET will be a network of existing NT Government asset management systems integrated through a new web- based portal and will incorporate:
- the Asset Information System (AIS);
- the Roads Information Management System (RIMS); and
- the Building Asset Management System (BAMS).
While the AMS project was awarded to multinational ICT firm Fujitsu, the Government expects that work on the ASNET project will be performed locally and provide opportunities for local territory suppliers.
DCIS has also received funding for its regular business of IT service provision to NT Government agencies with an allocation of $26.3 million for 2014-15 down very slightly from $26.7 million in 2013-14. Data Centre Services also provided by DCIS are expected to cost NT Government agencies $28 million in 2014-15 in line with the previous year’s figure of $27.9 million.
Other ICT related Budget Highlights for DCIS for 2014-15 which were funded in previous years are:
- Progressing the development of electronic procure-to-pay processes to facilitate timely payment of government suppliers.
- Continuing enhancement of tendering systems to streamline tendering and procurement processes.
- Completing the initiative to expand mobile phone and broadband services in remote Territory communities.
The budget also contains funding for other ICT initiatives.
Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services will receive a total of $4.0 million for ICT initiatives, $0.91 million for upgrades to the Northern Territory Fire Alarm System Transmission (NTFAST) fire alarm monitoring system and $3.05 million to continue supporting key information, communication and technology systems.
The Department of the Attorney-General and Justice will receive $4.7 million for the Integrated Justice System.
Details of each and every funded ICT initiative in every agency is discoverable in Budget IT.