Skip to main content

In Review: Government CIO attitudes to BYOD and Outsourcing

by Ariane Caruso-Kern •
Subscriber preview

BYOD policies on the increase

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are a top of mind consideration for Government CIOs as we enter 2014. A BYOD policy was at least on the table as an option to manage the staff device fleet, if not already implemented or on trial according to the Government CIOs interviewed as part of Intermedium’s series Get to Know the CIO.

The majority of CIOs interviewed see the move to BYOD as an opportunity to deliver increased staff productivity through greater flexibility in work practices and user satisfaction.

Tablets and smartphones are seen as the starting point of any BYOD policy implementation.

The challenge articulated by government CIOs is how to reconcile security and confidentiality requirements with the need for flexibility. Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions were cited as necessary to address these issues whilst maintaining the benefits of functionality.

However, BYOD may be inadequate for anything other than light users. Grantly Mailes, Victoria’s Chief Technology Advocate stated “I am a relatively light touch user. I am a user of information not a creator of it and the device can securely deliver information to me, either through a secure web browser or through Citrix. The BYOD story might be different for someone who is consistently a content-creating knowledge worker.”

Commodity-type services identified as the biggest opportunity for outsourcing

A number of the CIOs interviewed as part of Intermedium’s Get to Know the CIO series identified outsourcing as an opportunity to deliver immediate value by tapping into established industry expertise to reduce cost.

Over 80 percent of CIOs interviewed are already using a hybrid model of outsourced and internal resources - or at least considering one.

It was widely acknowledged that commoditised services offer the most scope for value in outsourcing projects.

Karin Geraghty, CIO at the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) stated in November 2013, “I think a good opportunity for outsourcing would be the run of the mill, corporate type things around enterprise resource management type functionality. Things that are very common and ideally would be done across a number of agencies.”

CIOs interviewed were generally of the opinion that IT operations and strategy should be kept in house, whilst IT services could be either kept in house or outsourced. “We have certainly realised that there are some things you just can’t contract out. You can’t contract away accountability for one. And certainly there are some functions like strategy which you need to keep to yourself,” Andrew Mills stated. Mills was at that time the South Australia Whole of Government CIO.  As of 6 January 2014, Mills became the Queensland Whole of Government CIO.

Strong outsourcing candidates are infrastructure, desktop and server management; as well as systems such as email and calendaring, according to the CIOs interviewed. CIOs perceived that the savings generated from outsourcing would be redirected towards driving innovation.

Legislative, security and privacy constraints were cited by a number of the CIOs as a reason why a wholly outsourced model would be unlikely to be adopted by their agency. Patrick Hadley, CIO and Chief Information Security Officer at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) cites “The … problem is in relation to the nature of the Census and Statistics Act that we operate under, which rules out some of the more traditional IT areas that could potentially be outsourced.”

An effective working relationship is required even if the outsourcing is purely for commodity. Defence CIO Peter Lawrence summed this up when he stated, “The secret to making outsourcing work is building an effective working relationship. This means ensuring that both parties understand what win/win looks like, and making sure that everyone is committed to getting there.”

Building relationships key to working with government

The importance of relationship building with government was the most consistent piece of advice given by the 12 key government CIOs interviewed by Intermedium for ICT suppliers wanting to engage with the public sector.

At the heart of building good relationships lies the ability to understand government and the business they are in, including the specific constraints and rules that apply to the sector.  “…from my perspective I’m not after suppliers – I’m after partners and trusted advisors”, said David Kennedy in his interview with Intermedium, on 3 September 2012. Kennedy is the CIO at the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services.

It was acknowledged that industry members seeking to build these relationships with government should not focus on short term gains, rather taking in the long term view. To that point, Glenn Walker told Intermedium in March 2013 that some of their “most successful partnerships with industry are with people who are willing to maintain engagement whether we are spending money or not”. At the time of interview Walker was the CIO at the Queensland Department of Community Safety.  He subsequently (and briefly) became the Executive Director of ICT Renewal, at the Queensland Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA).  ITNews has reported that his last day in this role was to be 14 February 2014.

Related Articles:

Young gun to lead Queensland’s ICT reforms

SA CIO Andrew Mills to become Queensland GCIO in 2014

In Focus #5: BYOD policy still a work in progress for the Australian Public Sector

For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here to keep reading

Want more content like this? Contact our team today for subscription options!

  • Stay up-to-date on hot topics in government
  • Navigate your business with executive level horizon outlooks
  • Get deep public sector ICT insights on our Market Watch series
  • Federal
  • NSW
  • QLD
  • SA
  • Hardware
  • IT Services
  • BYOD
  • chief information officer (CIO)
  • Glenn Walker
  • Government relationships
  • Grantly Mailes
  • Karin Geraghty
  • ICT Outsourcing
  • Patrick Hadley