blog To analyst firm Longhaus, where the firm’s managing director Peter Carr has been musing about the impact which the Queensland Government’s recent re-appointment of Peter Grant to its whole of government chief information officer position. An opinion piece by Carr this week raises both the somewhat fractured nature of the industry representatives in the state and also the potential for Grant’s appointment to help unify it:
“… while people have had plenty of opportunity to be polarised by the new QGCIO, and the landscape in which he enters the fray is one of disunity, the appointment of Peter Grant presents the Queensland ICT Industry with an opportunity to not choose sides. It is in fact the most clear and present opportunity to not choose sides. It is the gauntlet thrown at the foot of industry.”
What Carr is talking about here is the fact that organisations such as the Australian Information Industry Association, which recently hosted a lunch where Grant outlined his vision, Software Queensland, Queensland.NET and other organisations in the state have historically not gotten along well and consequently had attracted limited success in being able to deal directly with the Government in achieving positive industry change.
A good example of this fractiousness would be the recent resignation of long-time industry figure Bruce Mills from the government’s ICT industry committee, which provoked a war of words amongst the industry associations that ultimately involved Technology Minister Simon Finn. No matter who was ultimately responsible for the issue, it wasn’t a great look for the IT industry in Queensland.
Personally, as I noted when Grant was appointed, I am a great deal more pessimistic than Carr about the potential for the CIO to achieve change. I think that will take a change of Government in Queensland, for a start, and some fresh thinking — not bringing old blood back into the sector.
In addition, I don’t necessarily think the interests of the various industry associations are aligned, with groups such as the AIIA tending to represent large multinational vendors like Microsoft and IBM, whose interests tend to run fairly contrary to those of smaller vendors represented by groups like Software Queensland. To give one example, Queensland firm Technology One is pretty focused on keeping local technology jobs in Queensland, while IBM executives would tend to say that skills can be located in many different locations — including offshore.
However, ultimately Carr’s right — there is the chance for a fresh start in Queensland at the moment. And if the various CIOs, politicians and industry players can get behind that, perhaps the state can avoid having virtually every major whole of government technology project, and many others, savaged by its auditor-general in a few years’ time when the next round of audits comes up.