Prime minister 'shocked' by govt IT
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Prime Minister John Key told a business audience today that he is “shocked” by the state of many government IT systems.
“I’ve actually been shocked at how obsolete many public sector IT systems are, and how big the challenge will be to upgrade and modernise them.”
He made the observation at a speech about improving the public service to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce today, where he also announced the establishment of the new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Key says that part of improving public sector efficiency will be upgrading IT and he wants to see “technology used to create a step-change in customer service”.
Key announced 10 challenges for achieving a new “results-driven” focus for the public service, the last two of which are technology related.
The ninth challenge is about “improving interaction with government”. It will involve a one-top online shop for all government advice and support for New Zealand businesses. The lead minister is Steven Joyce and the lead chief executive is current Ministry of Economic Development CEO David Smol.
The tenth is “challenging results for the public sector to achieve over the next three to five years”, so that “New Zealanders can complete their transactions with government easily in a digital environment.”
ICT and Internal Affairs Minister Amy Adams has been designated as the lead minister for this goal and Peter Mersi, acting chief executive of Internal Affairs, as lead CEO. However, his responsibility lasts only until April 16, when Colin MacDonald takes over the position.
MacDonald has a record of achievement in government ICT. While in his present position as chief executive at Land Information New Zealand, he has led the cross-government programme for data and information re-use and established LINZ as the lead agency of the geospatial information sector.
“New technology provides easier and more cost-effective ways for New Zealanders to engage with government,” the Prime Minister’s statement says. “Technology also contributes to a public sector where there is continuous innovation and improvement, as it delivers on the expectations and needs of New Zealanders.
“The public sector provides significant services to businesses and individuals, and the quality and speed of these services makes a difference to businesses’ ability to perform, grow and export,” the statement concludes.
There are a large number of IT systems that run on hardware and software that is a DECADE out of manufacturing support, yet all the management will see is that "is running just fine then" and not do anything to modernise it.
Until shit breaks, they get egg on their face, then blame everyone else because it's not working.
On average a server has a lifespan of about 5 years before being depreciated by the bean counters. But computer systems are expected to remain the same for 10-20 years, and now the current PM comes and pretends to be "shocked" by all this.
Anyone who has worked at the bottom of the Govt IT ladder will tell you there is plenty of willingness to update and fix the IT problems, it's the ten levels of management all the way up to the PM himself that are stopping it all from happening.
Posted by IT worker at 15:36:46 on March 27, 2012
Posted by Anonymous at 15:00:50 on March 27, 2012
One thing I'd suggest though is to use more open source.
Time and again I see good salespeople from software vendors selling oversized and unnecessary things. Managers and not SMEs making buying decisions over fancy dinners. As a NZ tax payer I actually get frustrated like hell to see millions wasted with each project just because of crappy software decisions.
And the problem doesn't stop there. Because these solutions are now so bulky it is now necessary to have dozens of specialists from overseas flown in to manage the mess.
Install open source for $0 and spend those $$$$ millions on local capability for installation and support. My prediction is, that you will get what you want faster, cheaper and better than with commercial products.
Posted by Anonymous at 11:54:50 on March 19, 2012
Posted by Ex Govt IT worker at 20:09:13 on March 19, 2012
Posted by Nib at 16:25:36 on March 19, 2012
Posted by Anonymous at 10:55:18 on March 19, 2012
Posted by Nib at 16:32:19 on March 19, 2012
Posted by Harry at 19:39:20 on March 19, 2012
Posted by NIB at 15:08:52 on April 3, 2012
First of all you cant compare Govt IT and Commercial IT, they are totally different beasts from risk profiles, data governance and security through to governance and funding. Anyone who thinks they can compare them is wrong.
Secondly, Govt IT has a success stories and joined up IT. The Wanganui computer system (now redundant) was well ahead of its time serving Corrections, Courts, Police and MOJ. Incis was completed and implemented successfully aand replaced a number of disconnected and ageing systems. For a more recent example check out the internationally acclaimed Encyclopedia of NZ at teara.govt.nz
Govt IT is in a State of flux now as the industry changes again. Legacy systems in each Ministry have become end of life and need replacing. Leadership is needed and has been forthcoming from the DIA and the Govt CIO as they try to bring agencies into line and set standards for adoption of cloud and other technologies. Larger Ministries such as Health and Justice Agencies have more to loose as their systems are more complex with connections and inter-dependencies with other agencies.
Just think of how many other companies or banks you have to deal with and perhaps you'll start to understand the complexity of a whole of Govt jointed-up IT. Not to say that it cant be done as it has been successfully in State Govt in Australia but it needs more than lip service from the Govt to ensure the transformation happens.
Posted by henareho at 18:24:42 on March 16, 2012