blog Your writer has become accustomed over time to the depths of incompetence which our great Federal Government is capable of sinking to when it comes to deploying and managing IT infrastructure. Remember the time when Federal Parliament revealed plans to deploy Windows Vista, more than a year after Windows 7 was released? Or the time a report revealed that the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) had “no parliament-wide IT strategic plan” and no mechanism for making strategic IT decisions, despite a decade of reports warning of the situation? Yeah.
But this one really takes the cake. In an exchange in a Senate Estimates hearing yesterday (PDF transcript here), first reported to our knowledge by ZDNet, DPS secretary Carol Mills revealed the department didn’t have enough money to complete the rollout to Windows 7 it has been working on. Yup, that’s right. Mills said:
“The challenge that we have identified is not that the department of finance did not hand over an equivalent amount of money to that which they were spending. One of the challenges for us is the move from leased to purchased equipment which means that rather than a smooth leasing fee we have a large upfront fee in replacing equipment with a capital spend.
￼We also found in our survey of offices a large number of items that were really out of date and, for example, although they were operating, some of the equipment cannot operate under Windows 7 so it has to be replaced. Now that is not necessarily a problem that the finance department was fully aware of; they were not managing that system. It does mean that, as I think I indicated at the last estimates, we have a funding gap of around $2 million to do a full rollout and that is why we are doing it on a priority basis. We will roll everything out but we have had to do it over two financial years rather than one, which would have been more desirable.”
Liberal Senator Senator Scott Ryan then said: “So a $2 million funding gap is, following your analysis of the equipment and the varying state of it, in terms of bringing everyone up to the same standard for the Windows 7 rollout. It that the description of it?” Mills replied: “That is right, yes.”
On the one hand it’s easy to understand how the Parliament could screw this up. Oh, wait. No, no it’s not. $2 million is not just the kind of money you find behind the couch. You really wonder how a government which is capable of deploying a $37 billion National Broadband Network still manages to be incapable of upgrading its parliamentarians’ desktops to Windows 7 within budget. *sigh* Sounds like new DPS chief information officer Eija Seittenranta has a job of work ahead of her. And why is DPS purchasing desktop machines anyway? Hasn’t leasing pretty much become the standard option for desktop infrastructure by now? None of this makes any sense.
Image credit: Microsoft