The Rees’ Government will be looking to capitalise on improved efficiency within NSW Government data centres as it steps up the implementation of its ambitious agency consolidation strategy.
The strategy, delivered alongside the budget in June, outlined Premier Nathan Rees’ focus on job creation and the consolidation of the 160 NSW Government agencies into 13 new Super Departments.
Agency consolidation is to be based on six key policy areas; Premier and Cabinet, Treasury, Employment/Economic Development, Justice/Law, Environment and Government Services, with the changes primarily impacting upon back office information systems and related data management services.
Since the Rees' Government announced its plans to streamline the state’s agencies, implementation of this broadly encompassing strategy has been slow to get going.
But despite the strategy’s general slow progress, the strategy for data centres within key Government departments is on the move. According to sources, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) will rapidly conclude its previously announced (October 2008) strategy for consolidation of its approximately 130 data centres, with key government strategic requirements and documentation said to be close to finalisation.
Contingent upon government approval, Commerce will proceed to the market phase, where it will adhere to the traditional two-staged NSW Government procurement process. The proposed procurement arrangements are expected to be listed under the “Proposed Tenders” page on Commerce’s NSW eTendering website.
The commercial aspects of the Commerce data centre strategy will hinge on the previously announced plan of Department of Health and Department of Education and Training to become anchor tenants for at least two super data centres to be constructed within NSW. As the initial users of the new data centre contracts, each will serve as models/test beds for the viability of this strategy, with the aim of identifying and rectifying any operational level change management process issues that arise. As part of the strategy, downstream upheavals to the agencies’ current information systems (e.g. Payroll, HR and accounting) are expected, as well as a reorganisation of the departments’ telecommunications needs.
As the Rees’ Government’s strategy continues its expansion of data centre capabilities across the state, fresh opportunities for ICT firms appear certain, with the Government expected to look outside the traditional consortia of data centre providers.
Sources within the industry are predicting that the data centre procurement process will call for the construction of between two and four fully functional (naked/empty) data centres in NSW, most likely in Sydney. These data centres are expected to require extensive support services, improved power and communications infrastructure as well as comprehensive disaster management and recovery processes to facilitate the expansion, providing a rich business landscape for ICT suppliers.
Part 2 – The Data Centres Procurement Process