The NSW Government is investing in ICT to deliver a more customer-centric service, according to New South Wales Secretary to the Treasury Philip Gaetjens, who addressed representatives of the ICT industry at the Intermedium/AIIA 2014-15 Budget Briefing on Wednesday 23rd July.
“We recognise the need to take advantage of the increasingly tech-enabled, customer-focused environment”, said Gaetjens.
He said that the NSW Treasury estimates that spending on ICT currently accounts for 3.4% of total agency expenditure. The Secretary also highlighted that the amount spent on ICT increased by about 8% in the 5 years to 2012-13. Between 2011-12 and 2012-13 alone, spending increased by 6%.
This increase in ICT spend reflected “a greater focus in government on achieving better outcomes for customers, and how we provide those outcomes”, Gaetjens stated.
In considering the breakdown of where funding is being spent, Gaetjens noted that business applications take the single largest proportion, which he viewed as a good sign of the developments in train for ICT in the NSW government sector.
The focus for 2014-15 is Digital
The focus for 2014-15 is improving customer experience through the progression and expansion of the government’s digital capabilities, Gaetjens indicated.
Referencing the allocation of nearly $100 million in the 2014-15 Budget for Service NSW to increase and accelerate the expansion to digital channels and transactions, Gaetjens explained that the government will build on the work of Service NSW to date, with a greater focus on digital transactions now that the physical network of shopfronts is in place.
Gaetjens considered that “Service NSW is a great example of how the government and the sector are trying to approach customer service differently. Customers want more and more online, and NSW is moving to an approach that is much more anticipative and meets the needs of customers who want to come into a place and do more than one thing at one time.”
The Secretary also highlighted the $22 million allocated to State Records Authority to expand the digital archives, “to digitise the large amount of records that the state maintains, which will improve access to those records in the future.”
Updating NSW’s ICT Strategy
A meeting of the New South Wales ICT Board, of which Mr Gaetjens maintains the chairmanship, was held on 23rd July following the Intermedium/AIIA event.
“We will be discussing the progression of the digital aspect of the ICT Strategy in particular. The final results of these discussions, an updated ICT strategy, will be released later this year by the Minister, but there is a bit of work to do yet before that happens.”
Gaetjens is clear on the role of the ICT Leadership Board, which comprises the Secretaries of all Departments, the Customer Service Commissioner, and the Chair of the ICT Advisory Panel.
“I think it’s very important that I and my peers at the leadership level of the NSW clusters pay attention to what we need from ICT, to deliver the outcomes that the government wants from us,” he remarked.
Engaging with Industry
Increasing productivity was a key focus of Gaetjen’s address, affirming to Industry representatives that “the totality of the approach you offer to your clients in the public sector should communicate the productivity gains your solution will realise.”
He encouraged Industry to think differently in their approach to providing and delivering solutions, and in keeping with the government’s internal objectives, to take “a customer-centric perspective.”
Gaetjens also looked to Industry to respond to the government’s continued focus on enablement through ICT, and to play their part in maintaining a proactive dialogue between the public sector and the ICT industry.
“We are pleased to receive recognition from Industry commentators, but what I want most to be confident of is that we are engaging with Industry representatives, as the more successfully we can communicate our focuses and objectives to the market, the more successfully Industry can deliver on them.”