Govt updates on ICT strategy progress



blog You may recall that we weren’t that enthusiastic when the Federal Government issued its latest whole of government ICT strategy document in October 2012, shortly before the Australian Government Information Management Office was split and a new executives appointed to whole of government CIO and CTO follows. In fact, at the time your writer summed up the document as follows:

“I have read through many government documents containing hundreds of pages of waffle before, but this “ICT strategy” released by the public service this week takes the cake.

How, the Federal Government should ask itself, can it release a whole of government ICT strategy which barely mentions technology? Which barely mentions any of the major ICT projects which are currently going on or have recently completed within the Government – projects worth billions of dollars? Which does not mention any of the chief information officers, secretaries, agency chief executives or ministers who will be held accountable for them?

This document released by the Federal Government this week, frankly, is not an “ICT strategy” by any stretch of the imagination. A strategy, by definition, aims to define what someone will do, when and how, and even sometimes why. This document details none of that.

What it does do, like the Victorian Government’s ICT strategy this week, is contain hundreds upon hundreds of motherhood statements detailing the Federal Government’s belief that technology is, in general a good thing, and how everyone should use more technology – but not which technology. It contains dozens of buzzwords, but very few action points. It contains dozens of ideas, but no implementation plans for how the Government might put those ideas into action.”

This morning AGIMO’s Andrew McGalliard, from the agency’s governance and policy branch, published an update on the Government’s progress on delivering on the strategy, and contrary to my initial expectations, it appears as though there are in fact quite a few worthy initiatives getting under way in a timely manner.

McGalliard writes that the Department of Finance and Deregulation, which houses AGIMO, has been investigating the issues and possibilities for a whole of government Big Data Strategy; Preparing a roadmap for mobile technology; Enhancing as a resource to support collaboration and re-use across government; Working with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to commence rollout of the whole-of-government Parliamentary Workflow Solution, and liaising with agencies to make services more accessible.

In addition, according to the public servant, other iniatives include reviewing data centre sourcing arrangements; Reviewing the mobile telecommunication devices and services panel; Enhancing and partnering with agencies to increase the number open data sets available on the site; and listing additional cloud and cloud-like services to the Data Centre as a Service (DCaaS) multi use list.

In our view, this update is very encouraging. Although the initial ICT Strategy document issued by the Federal Government was quite vacuous, when it comes to the actual initiatives on the ground, we’d have to say that most of them are very positive and precisely what we would expect to be happening — when it comes to both public-facing projects, as well as procurements initiatives behind the scenes. The initiatives listed also mirror very similar projects in NSW and Victoria, stemming from those states’ own recently released ICT strategies. Perhaps there’s some vigour and life in AGIMO yet ;)

Image credit: Phil Ragen, royalty free