Any future outsourcing beyond CenITex will be entirely up to agencies themselves, as the Victorian Government moves to implement the principles and actions outlined in the State’s ICT Strategy.
“The intent of the ICT Strategy is to provide an impetus and policy direction for departments and agencies around contestability and reviewing market options”, Chief Technology Advocate for the Victorian Government, Grantly Mailes, told Intermedium.
“Decisions about outsourcing business areas within government are made by each department or agency when there is a business driver to review a service model,” Mailes added.
Victoria has now commenced or completed all 50 actions outlined in its initial ICT strategy released in February 2013, and the March 2014 Strategy Update, The Victorian Government ICT Strategy 2014-15, has added 28 new actions to be undertaken over the next two years.
Key among them is a Cloud Framework, which the Strategy Update indicates will be completed by the end of this month.
In addition, the coming 12 months is expected to see the following finalised:
- A Cyber Security Strategy;
- A Whole of Government (WofG) infrastructure and services roadmap;
- A WofG BYOD policy; and
- A WofG social media strategy.
One of the aims of Victoria’s 2013-14 ICT Strategy was to determine the most cost-effective mix of insourced and outsourced services, effectively endorsing outsourcing operations where it was reasonable to do so.
“Smart businesses routinely and carefully consider what areas to outsource and what to keep close. Similarly, we must continually explore what can be outsourced – with the potential to wholly outsource some services”, the Strategy stated.
This approach culminated in the Government’s decision in September 2013 to approach the market for Expressions of Interest for the delivery of IT Infrastructure Services, that had until then been provided by CenITex.
The EOI closed on 10 October 2013 and CSC, Datacom, Dimension Data, Fujitsu, HCL, Hitachi, IBM, Kinetic IT, NEC and Telstra, were invited to participate in a Collaborative Dialogue Process (CDP) to refine the Request for Proposal (RFP) before its release.
The Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI) was provided with $6 million in the 2014-15 Budget to proceed with the outsourcing arrangements for services provided by CenITex.
The RFP for outsourced services is expected to be issued to industry later in 2014, according to a media release from Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips.
The potential cost reductions and flexibility offered by cloud technology are also a focus of the 2014-15 Strategy Update.
Principle 9 of the Update states that cloud-based ICT systems “will be evaluated first for new and renewed systems.”
“The preference will be for standard versions provided by public cloud vendors, requiring little or no customisation. Most services that are supplied using ICT are not unique, and many other governments around the world are using standard systems serving similar needs to Victoria’s”, states the Strategy Update.
Agencies will not be required to provide explicit additional justification for non-cloud purchases, but the agency’s application of the ‘cloud-first’ principle will be examined as part of external reviews of major projects.
“Clearly, major system purchases go through scrutiny beyond an individual agency, and the principles of the ICT Strategy will form part of that additional scrutiny”, said Mailes.
When asked for an example where an agency had opted for a cloud solution rather than utilising a traditional approach, Mailes told Intermedium that his own Department, DSDBI, had done this when it choose a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management and Grants Management service.