Topics: IT Services; ICT Strategy; NSW.
Last month’s $25.5 million PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) contract with the New South Wales Treasury was the one of the company’s largest government ICT contracts to date, dwarfing seven years of previous federal contracts.
The contract for the implementation of the ‘Prime’ financial and performance management (FPMS) IT solution is also the company’s largest 2016 ICT win in the NSW government market so far.
It follows a $4 million contract with PwC for performance testing of the FPMS IT solution between September and December 2015.
PwC appears to have gradually rebuilt its ICT services capabilities since the firm’s technology services unit was sold to IBM in 2002. In the past decade, the company has made a series of IT-related acquisitions including digital analytics consultancy firm Logan Tod & Co in 2012, and digital consultancy firm BGT Partners in 2013.
Over the past seven years, the company has signed 127 contracts with federal government worth a total of $33.5 million. PwC is currently ranked 151st on Intermedium’s 2015-16 Supplier Leader Board – an improvement on its 2014-15 and 2013-14 ranking.
Two of the largest federal contracts are with the Department of Health; a $5.9 million contract signed in 2011 to evaluate the Personally Controlled Electronic Record Program, and a $4.5 million contract won in 2013 to manage change and benefits of the Aged Care Gateway program.
The firm also secured a place on the first national partnership contract in 2011 alongside McKinsey and Company, Ocean Informatics, Trilogy Information Solutions and the University of Queensland for the roll-out of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record.
The latest contract brings the NSW Treasury one step closer to the replacement of the existing budget management system, a program that has been in the pipeline since aspects of the disaggregated legacy systems were found to be inefficient in a 2012 interim report by former head of Sydney Water Kerry Schott.
Prime will replace the agency’s multiple finance systems, including the Treasury Online Entry System (TOES), with a single integrated Whole-of-Government system.
The introduction of Prime will generate financial reports more effectively and decrease the workload for public servants working on the Budget, according former Treasury Secretary Philip Gaetjens.
NSW Treasury have also recently engaged MiP Australia in a $186,000 contract to “develop a Conceptual Data Model for Prime, and to assist with the development of a Logical Data Model”.
The recent procurements put the department on track to have the system in operation before the 2017-18 NSW State budget, in accordance with the timeline specified on the Treasury’s website.
The overhaul of the budget management system is part of Treasury’s financial management transformation (FMT) program that began in 2012-13 and received $90 million in funding over four years in the 2014-15 State budget.
The FMT program aims to transform the budgetary process from end-to-end, with updated policy, process and ICT requirements across the public sector.
Most Australian jurisdictions have either successfully updated their legacy budgetary systems or are in the process of doing so. Like NSW, the majority recognise that Australia’s budget formulation system is unique, and have chosen to develop either bespoke or highly customised systems to meet the complex requirements.
Tasmania is one of the few to have chosen against this convention, procuring a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) budget management solution in late 2015. According to the Request for Tender, the Department of Treasury and Finance aims to procure ready-made software “which will need configuration [but not customisation] to operate within the Tasmanian Government environment”. The tender closed in February 2016 and the outcome of this procurement has either not been determined, or not been made publically available.
The Australian Capital Territory has also chosen to obtain a COTS Government Budget Management System to replace its ageing Budget Development Application, awarding Excelerated Consulting a $2.25 million contract to develop and implement the system over two stages.
At the Federal level, the Department of Finance (Finance) is in the process of redeveloping its Central Budget Management System, originally receiving funding as a new initiative in the 2010-11 Budget. A 2014 review of the SAP-CSC Australia project, worth $55.6 million in total, found that a solution had not been developed in the forecast timeframe. Finance has attributed the complexities of the federal government’s financial and budget requirements as reason for the delays.
Other jurisdictions have managed to replace their legacy budgetary management system without complication.
The Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance replaced their legacy budget management system with the State Resource Information Management System (SRIMS) in 2008, and have since engaged NEC to upgrade the system in 2014. SRIMS is built on Performa Group’s BIDS solution.
Western Australia completed an in-house development of the Strategic Information Management System to replace its Treasury Information Management System in October 2012.
South Australia utilises an in-house developed budget management system which it implemented around 2001 and has subsequently been upgraded to meet changing needs.
Queensland currently uses its TriData Financial Management system as its primary budgeting and reporting system. u&u were contracted last year to conduct a technical review of the system early in 2015.