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NSW commits to 12 months of ICT upgrades

by Poppy Johnston •
Free resource

Ten per cent of the New South Wales Government's critical applications "deemed legacy" will be upgraded over the next 12 months, according to the state's 2015-16 ICT Metrics Report.

These upgrades will help establish interoperability across government and encourage collaborative investments – provided agencies stick to the recommended architecture design guidelines, like the NSW Government Enterprise Architecture, which promote consistency across government.

The upgrades will also mitigate information security risks associated with legacy systems – an issue front of mind for the public sector following the WannaCry ransomware attack early in May.

The annual ICT Metrics Report is a multi-source data collection initiative that was introduced as part of the 2012 ICT Strategy. Intended to inform NSW’s strategic direction, the report’s findings align closely with the new digital.nsw strategy, which flags cybersecurity and standardising information management as priority areas.

Other key findings in the report include a 10 per cent increase in ICT expenditure in 2015-16. The government’s total ICT expenditure has grown steadily in the time the Coalition has held government, increasing from $1.99 billion in 2010-11 to $2.65 billion in 2015-16. These changes did not exceed the external benchmarks for ICT expenditure as a proportion of total agency expenditure.

In 2015-16, capital expenditure had increased to 33 per cent of the NSW Government’s ICT spend (30 per cent in 2014-15), pushing it six per cent above the external proportion of capital versus operating expenditure benchmark for state and local government.

 A number of key service transformation initiatives, like Service NSW’s digital licencing and the Department of Family and Community Services’ (FACS’s) ChildStory, and infrastructure programs, like Transport for NSW’s ‘Equip’ ERP upgrade and Service NSW’s Accelerated Delivery Strategy, were found to be responsible for the elevated capital expenditure.

With many of the initiatives cited approaching their expected completion dates, it is uncertain if capital spending will continue to climb at the same rate. The Child Story system, for instance, is due to be rolled out to FACS’ districts and state-wide services over a five-week period in October–November 2017. Similarly, the Transport cluster’s new Equip ERP system is being progressively rolled out to cluster agencies, according to an audit released by the NSW Auditor General last month, with the final agencies expected to receive the system in 2017.

However, despite several major transformative projects approaching completion, ICT spending could get another boost when the government overhauls the key applications currently considered legacy in the next twelve months.

Applications remain NSW’s most costly service tower, accounting for almost half of the total ICT expenditure in 2015-16.

The report also found hardware expenditure was marginally above benchmark, while the use of outsourcing was marginally below benchmark, which may indicate “an opportunity to further utilise as-a-service sourcing models”.

The report also points to the increased uptake of cloud overall, including ICT outsourcing increasing from $375 to $426 million, with 63 per cent of this as-a-service.

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