Australian government’s IT spend to continue on upward trajectory
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Federal government expects to spend AU$ 10 billion on IT during 2017-18. The report states that the Office of the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, The Hon Angus Taylor MP, confirmed that IT spending is projected to grow by AU$ 300 million from AU$ 9.3 billion during 2016-17, which in turn represented a huge jump over the AU$ 6.7 billion spent in the financial year 2015-16.
Previously, in a speech on March 19, Mr. Taylor set out the digital transformation agenda for the coming year. He said that the increased investment in ICT was essential ‘After years of stagnation in the ICT spend across Government allowing systems to become badly rundown’.
Talking about the adoption of agile methodology, Mr. Taylor said, “First, we are squarely focused on applying an agile methodology in new projects and where we can in pre-existing projects....And as importantly as that agile methodology, we’re working to break up projects to better understand our technology investment and work with Ministers and agencies to improve their proposals, breaking them up into much smaller, more digestible pieces.”
Breaking up the big tenders that Government has traditionally done into smaller pieces and directing a higher percentage of government IT spend towards SMEs is a priority area. The Minister said, “An allocation of 10% more of our IT spend, let’s face it $9billion is the number I gave you earlier, an allocation of 10% more to SMEs would be one of the biggest investments in innovation in this country’s history.” He identified the sweet spot for SMEs as being between about 80,000 and 5 million dollar sized contracts.
The launch of the Digital Marketplace during the second half of 2016 was the first step towards making it easier for innovative SMEs to access government contracts. Further initiatives would be to build independent integration capabilities for those smaller projects within the government, reviewing the use of panels and driving cloud uptake.
At the moment, only around AU$ 60 million or 0.5% of the government’s IT spend goes to the cloud, while AU$ 700 million is spent on buying traditional hardware.
Mr. Taylor also said that the GOV.AU project for making the government’s digital estate simpler, is very much alive and remains a key deliverable for the coming year.
He acknowledged that there were issues faced during the past year but talked about learning from them. The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) now has the power to review and oversee projects and ensure that taxpayers’ money is well-spent.