IDC says NSW strategy depends on management

By Paul Hemsley

The benefits of the NSW Government ICT Strategy 2012 depend on management evolving and adapting with the plan, according to analyst firm, IDC.

Launched earlier this month, the strategy aims to reform industry engagement and procurement strategies for ease and flexibility in dealing with government for ICT delivery.

IDC senior market analyst for the Australia Virtual Markets, Emilie Ditton said the capacity of management to truly understand what the needs are in ICT delivery will decide the strategy’s “success”.

Ms Ditton told Government News that management needs to understand the relationship between the benefits of standardization and the real needs of ICT service delivery within the organization.

“There’s a whole process around that and many of the existing challenges that government has will still be there in terms of managing vendors, understanding of requirements, ensuring that ICT delivery meets the requirements of the government agency internally,” Ms Ditton said.

According to Ms Ditton, the difficulty in working with government for vendors is managing of the risk, which are projects failing because that reflects badly on government and vendors.

“Certainly the move to cloud services for the NSW Government is about trying to mitigate that risk though in reality, it just becomes a different sort of risk,” Ms Ditton said.

She said the risk with taking a new approach is always whether or not the government is able to understand or articulate whether it really needs to deliver those things or not.

“Historically, governments have not been good at articulating those needs,” Ms Ditton said.

She said the strategy is aiming to change the risk, “whether it’s better or worse, it’s probably better”.

“Given how new cloud is and broad based cloud service is for government agencies in Australia and given that the NSW Government is one of the first to really take that head on, they’ve got a lot to work through,” Ms Ditton said.

She said the NSW Government needs to work out how cloud services can be used to deliver the ICT requirements for government.

“It does mitigate the ICT project risk that the Queensland and Victorian Governments have been struggling with, but as with all new approaches, the proof will be in the next few years.”

In terms of the strategy’s effect on the relationship between government and industry, the challenge of government has always been its capacity to manage its vendors, Ms Ditton said.

“I really don’t see that being any different because of the different way of delivering it,” she said.

She said vendors that have a focus on government already engage with government on this basis in one way or another.

“[They] are quite used to the requirement to fit within the context of the procurement strategy or the procurement framework that the government agency has in place.

“So I think this is just a flavour of that and it’s the mode of operation with engaging with government that’s in place anyway,” Ms Ditton said.

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