Following CenITex: NSW may outsource ServiceFirst functions



blog New South Wales Finance and Services Minister Andrew Constance has had a busy time with relation to the State Government’s IT operations since stepping on deck just a few months ago. In early September, Constance announced a new cloud-first procurement policy, and this morning the Minister finally started to detail the long-rumoured breakup of NSW shared services agency ServiceFirst, with Businesslink also reportedly a possibility. According to iTNews, which has a great scoop on this one (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“NSW’s new minister for finance and services Andrew Constance has confirmed his government is looking into outsourcing some of the functions of shared services agency ServiceFirst.”

The move appears to be similar to the outsourcing effort currently being undertaken at troubled Victorian IT shared services agency CenITex. The Victorian Government recently revealed plans to turn CenITex into a ‘broker’, rather than an actual provider of IT services. Hosting, storage, network and desktop services are currently on the agenda to be outsourced at CenITex.

The move comes a little after a year after the NSW Commission of Audit group set up by NSW’s Coalition administration published a landmark report into the management of the NSW Public Sector, finding that dozens of overlapping and competing systems and services providers had created “chaos” when it came to the state’s current IT shared services paradigm. At the time, the report stated:

“Neither ServiceFirst nor BusinessLink currently meet customer expectations across a number of vital functions,” the report found. “Neither is truly integrated and in many instances the level of service is poor. Nine years after its establishment, BusinessLink is now in the process of integrating its three SAP systems. ServiceFirst has three legacy systems, inherited from its predecessor units. More important, its staff morale is low and customer satisfaction is poor. Clients of Service First are united in their frustration and dissatisfaction with the service provided. To be fair to the shared service providers they have been starved of funds and have not been able to modernise.”

It’s about time. I fully support the moves the NSW State Government is undertaking here. Like other states such as Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, it’s doing a terrible job of providing IT shared services to departments and agencies. It’s time for the private sector to have a go.

Image credit: Natalie Singh, royalty free