​Department of Finance to rebuild two-year-old IT system

The government department has kicked off the hunt for a new 'pre-budget' IT system, two years after its current one was installed.

A computer system put in place at the Department of Finance just ahead of the 2014-15 federal budget will soon be replaced, with the department citing "usability issues".

Expressions of interest (EOI) for the new "pre-budget system" are already in circulation, with the closing date less than four days away.

It is expected after the EOI closes that a tender will surface early next year, with the full rollout of the winning system pencilled in for early 2018.

Documents produced for potential tenderers as part of the EOI said that the existing system, which is only a few years old, "has some usability issues which are reducing the efficiency for staff interacting with the system".

The new pre-budget system will be expected to handle documents and other information, from the initial step of costing a new policy proposal and assessing its impact on the budget bottom line, through to the finalised budget papers.

The department stated that key to choosing a successful vendor is its ability to support business and process changes, and its flexibility in supporting human and system workflow.

The new system will be required to reduce effort when searching and retrieving information for reporting purposes; offer real-time and on-demand status reporting on workflows; contain the ability for multiple users to access and view information, including running reports, simultaneously; contain secure access and permission controls; have an easy-to-use process for storing emails and other documents linked to each NPP and costing; and allow for the linking of submissions to NPPs to multiple costings and government decisions.

The EOI has set the requirement that the new system should be able to operate within the Finance Standard Operating Environment -- which currently comprises of Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise, Microsoft Office 2016 Enterprise Edition, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 -- and be both IPv4 and IPv6.

"The solution architecture should be innovative, interoperable, and flexible enough to accommodate related technology changes that could be leveraged in the future," the EOI states.

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh said it appeared to be another example of government waste.

"An entire computer system needs to be replaced within two years of its purchase -- another Turnbull stuff-up," he said. "The government are so distracted fighting each other that it is failing to do basic due diligence -- and it is Australian taxpayers who are paying for the government's waste."

"The expression of interest will help inform Finance of potential commercial off-the-shelf systems in the market with capability to address these pre-budget business requirements in a more modern and integrated way," the spokesperson told AAP.

Finance said it had started working with ASG in February to roll out a new electronic workplace environment, expected to cost AU$29 million over four years.

At the time, Michael Hirschfeld, assistant secretary for portfolio planning, property and construction at the department, said the new electronic workplace environment would "in effect [be] a refresh of our entire IT environment".

As part of the electronic workplace environment, the department will have a new desktop environment, mail services, laptops, and Surface Pros. The department will also begin utilising Microsoft's Sharepoint to share documents.

Earlier this month, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) warned that its existing IT systems are nearing the end of their life and that it needs money to have them updated.

"I believe the temporary staffing model and the AEC's election and roll management IT systems are at the end of their useful life," Rogers wrote in his submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. "As a result, much of the delivery of elections and the data for monitoring and reporting on that delivery is reliant on human intervention and manual processes."

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