Independent analyst firm Ovum has called on the Gillard government to publish a multi-year IT Strategic plan, claiming the state’s public sector needed a new list of priorities following the knife-edge election, which resulted in a minority Labor Government.
Ovum government research director Kevin Noonan said in a statement today that the previous IT plan expired after Rudd’s departure and the election. “The government quickly needs to spell out a new multi-year IT strategic plan to replace the one that lapsed in 2010,” he said.
Noonan said the former Rudd’s government IT Plan delivered cost-saving policies, but left “cash-strapped” agencies unable to focus on new strategies; hence the need for a new one. “This plan needs to focus on delivering greater value and clear government outcomes, not just cost savings,” he said.
IT was a key theme of the 2010 federal campaign, with one of the main issues debated being the rollout of the National Broadband Network, backed by Labor and opposed by the Coalition. However, the two sides of politics didn’t debate the internal technology dynamics of the Canberran public sector in substantial detail.
Although Labor has been in power since 2007, Noonan said changes in government typically impacted on administration agencies and IT suppliers.
The year 2010 closed with a new Prime Minister and a change of government in Victoria, with Liberal candidate Ted Baillieu becoming premier of the state. In the next two years, other reversals might follow and the ghost of Wikileaks releases might continue to challenge policy-makers, according to Noonan. The New South Wales state election in late March is expected to result in a new Coalition Government, while Queensland Premier Labor Anna Bligh will face voters in 2012.
As the state political scene is afoot to be shaken by elections, Noonan warned big challenges could lie ahead for government IT too. “The coming year is likely to be a time for big changes for government IT around Australia,” he said.
“This can provide long-term opportunities for astute IT suppliers, but it means 2011 could be a time of big upheaval in the state government IT market,” he said.
The peak IT decision-making body in the Federal Government is the Australian Government Information Management Office. However, AGIMO’s ultimate fate is currently up in the air following the Reinecke review handed down late last year into how recommendations stemming from Sir Peter Gershon’s review of Federal Government use of IT were implemented.
At the heart of the agency, according to Reinecke, was an essential conflict — between the ideas of implementing policy and creating it. One path to resolving that issue, he wrote in his report, would be to separate AGIMO’s operations. The Gillard Government has not yet decided what path to take, following Reinecke’s report.
In the meantime, however, AGIMO has continued in its role — handing down a landmark draft Government approach to cloud computing last week, for example.