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SA progresses with WofG ICT strategy implementation

by Michael Read •
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The South Australian Government appears to be sticking to its guns regarding the central tenet of its ICT Strategy SA Connected, issued in November 2013.

The Strategy’s core promise was to replace large and expensive ICT projects with a “big plans, small projects” approach. 

 In line with this approach, but also no doubt due to the determination to exercise fiscal restraint, the 2014-15 South Australian Budget, handed down last month, contained no large allocations for any significant new projects.

“From now on, we’re not going to start up any more big ICT projects. We’re only going to have business change initiatives. We know that large projects run a higher risk of failure,” the Strategy states.

“We will break these down into smaller segments, with well‑defined exit strategies that ensure that we’re not locked into spending more time and money to continue projects that aren’t working. We’ll still have big plans, but projects will be shorter, and they will be planned and delivered by multi‑disciplinary teams, not just IT.”

When contacted by Intermedium, a spokesperson from the Office of the Chief Information Officer was unable to provide details of how this new framework has worked in practice since its inception. The Office is, however, working on creating a guide to assist agencies with the transition. 

“Ceasing to undertake big ICT projects isn’t just about breaking down a big project into smaller segments”, said the spokesperson.

“It’s about reassessing the approach to ensure that value is delivered early and often throughout the life of a project, while managing the risks. This also allows for the early identification of, and flexibility to terminate, projects that aren’t progressing the way they were intended. The Office of the Chief Information Officer and ICT Board are developing focused guidance for agencies to get the most value out of their ICT-enabled projects.”

Cooperative approaches

The Strategy also endeavours to have agencies find “shared solutions” to “common problems” where possible.

According to the spokesperson, this requirement informed the recent update to Alert SA’s website. The update brought together social media messages from all of the State’s different emergency services regions, allowing the public to view all notifications, advice and warnings from a single web location. 

Uptake of Open Data

Another key pillar of the policy was the promotion of open data. This followed a mandate handed down by the South Australian Government in September 2013 for Government data to be open by default.

According to the spokesperson, the timeline outlined in the Action Plan to Advance Open Data still informs the Government’s uptake of open data, and drove the Unleashed application development competition, which is now in its second year with over 460 data sets available.

“The open data approach is focused on making stronger connections with industry and the community by improving access to government-held data. The Action Plan to Advance Open Data outlines a clear set of achievable activities that improve our ability to do this. The Unleashed competition is an example of all state government agencies releasing data sets to enable web and application developers to create new solutions.”

The Office of the Chief Information Officer has no intention of making any of the other key pillars of the strategy compulsory for agencies to follow.

“SA Connected provides guidance for state government agencies about meeting the challenges of the digital economy. It does not serve as a mandate but rather sets the strategic direction to assist agencies to align their activities with this shared direction”, said the spokesperson.

Although, underpinning the strategy is an ICT policy framework which relates to a number of issues such as security, accessibility and web standards, which all agencies in South Australia are expected to adhere to.

Intermedium is hosting its 2014-15 South Australia Briefing: Making the Budget Count for ICT on Wednesday 30th July.

This event will feature in-depth budget analysis from Intermedium’s Judy Hurditch, and an address by South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis.

For information about other events in this series, click here.



Related Articles:

Tough SA Budget has little ICT joy

SA’s new ICT Strategy takes “share first” approach

“There is no point in an ICT project” says South Australia

SA Office of the CIO to simplify service delivery


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