Few outside Government knew what ‘CenITex’ actually meant until a presentation at an AIIA function in Melbourne on 23 April 2009. Suggestion that it should have been named ‘project enigma’ can now be laid to rest, as we now know that it stands for ‘Centre of IT Excellence’. CenITex is charged with consolidating the IT infrastructure of 14 Victorian government departments into the one ‘centre’. It has major implications therefore, not the least of which being the changing responsibilities of agency CIOs.
In the context of Government IT projects, the remit handed to CenITex is enormous. Up till now, however, there has been very little information on the initiative. This lack of information spurred a full house for the AIIA lunch due to the promise of an update.
It turns out there is a structure, there is a plan, and there is significant progress.
It just might work if those tasked with the enormous responsibility are allowed to get on with it. The biggest obstacle to its success will not be any great technical issues but the posse of sceptics who appear to be doing all they can to sabotage the project.
The consensus from industry seems to be that should CenITex not get full and robust support from the highest echelons in Government, and should it fail to acknowledge the magnitude of the change management task it has been handed, it has as much chance of success as someone taking on Mike Tyson with one hand tied behind his or her back.
One other thing is clear, significant IT function reform in Victorian government is not going to happen by focussing on reductions in IT staff in the first instance (as with the Gershon Review changes occurring in Canberra). Once CenITex has done its surgery, this may indeed be an option open to qualified consideration but in the current economic climate, it is simply not sensible.
The boat that is CenITex is far from being rudderless and the course is very much set. Whether the weather will make it a cruise or will make it more like the infamous Sydney to Hobart of 2000, is yet to be seen. One thing that is for sure, the boat simply has to reach its stated destination.