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

by Pallavi Singhal •
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South Australia’s long-awaited ICT Strategy, ‘SA Connected’, is the first to formally adopt a “share first” approach. It also follows the Queensland Government in taking both an ‘as a service’ and ‘digital by default’ approach.

“From now on, we form partnerships and share first,” according to the SA Connected Strategy. “From 2013 onwards, we will see increasing numbers of multi-agency approaches.

“We will put in place across-government support to make it easier for agencies to work together. Central agencies and expert groups will provide leadership to coordinate agencies and ‘show the way’.”

The Strategy also outlines aims to increase ICT solution sharing between Government agencies through an “open by design” approach.

“Instead of re-inventing what already exists, we are going to re-use and share capabilities and solutions across government,” it says.

“All agencies will demonstrate that genuine effort has been made to identify and use existing solutions before new initiatives are approved.”

SA has joined the growing trend towards an “as a service” approach to ICT that has recently been seen in the Queensland Government ICT Strategy 2013-17 and in the newly elected Coalition Government’s ICT Policy.

“We continue to re-invest in our hardware and software – just to keep the lights on…[but] we won’t be buying more boxes and wires than we need to, we’ll be buying services,” states SA Connected.

It also echoes the digital by default approach taken by the Queensland Government.

“Our customers prefer online services, and increasingly, mobile-ready services,” says the SA Connected Strategy.

It also formally states the SA Government’s inclination to avoid big ICT projects.

“From now on, we’re not going to start up any more big ‘ICT’ projects,” according to the Strategy. “We’re only going to have business change initiatives.

“We know that large projects run a higher risk of failure. 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.”

This decision is unlikely to significantly affect any already announced ICT projects. The largest new initiative funded in SA’s 2013-14 Budget is the $4.1 million infrastructure (non-ICT) and ICT fit-out “to support the operations of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption and the Office for Public Integrity”. The ICT value of the initiative is estimated to be around $2.05 million, and the project is expected to be complete by mid-2014.

Other newly funded ICT projects include $1.8 million improvements to accommodation and ICT systems at the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit, and $1.5 million for the development of a new case management system and other improvements at the Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

SA Connected also emphasises the shift to open data, with an Open Data Action Plan released alongside the Strategy. All SA Government agencies are expected to develop individual open data strategies and implementation plans, with an overarching strategy provided by the Office of the CIO.

“Open data is now at the heart of our ICT strategy,” SA Premier Jay Weatherill said upon the release of the Strategy.

In addition to improving its own practice of releasing data sets, the SA Government will also be leading the national push “to ensure that all governments make their data publicly available in a consistent way”, according to a media release.

SA Connected will be the first strategy to be constantly amendable.

“ICT won’t remain static in the future, and neither will our strategy; it will be digital by default and live online…adapting as we need it to, under the governance of the ICT Board.”

“The South Australian Government is well positioned to make the most of what the information age has to offer. We are big enough to be good, and small enough to be great,” states the Strategy.

The SA Connected Strategy replaces the Government’s previous Ask Just Once Strategy which was released in 2007.

The final SA Connected Strategy has been stuck in the pipeline for some time following the release of a draft version in February 2013.

SA Government CIO Andrew Mills, who has been significantly involved in the development of both SA Connected and the SA Strategic Plan, recently announced his move to the Queensland Government as its new whole-of-government CIO in January 2014.

“South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet will follow its regular processes in order to fill the position of Chief Information Officer,” a spokesperson from the Department told Intermedium.

Related Articles:

What will SA’s new ICT plan look like?

South Australia to launch new ICT Strategy in 2013

SA Budget 2013-14: Why the ICT industry need not despair

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

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