Government agency claims ITIL first

Summary:Victoria's State Revenue Office has become the first government agency in the world to gain IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification for technology services, an achievement it says vindicates an earlier decision to cut ties with its outsourcer.Run by the Office of Government Commerce in the UK, the ITIL standard offers 'best practice' criteria for the provision of IT services such as help desk, service level management, and disaster recovery.

Victoria's State Revenue Office has become the first government agency in the world to gain IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification for technology services, an achievement it says vindicates an earlier decision to cut ties with its outsourcer.

Run by the Office of Government Commerce in the UK, the ITIL standard offers 'best practice' criteria for the provision of IT services such as help desk, service level management, and disaster recovery.

Only 35 organisations -- all commercial entites including IBM, Siemens and CSC -- globally have achieved ITIL certification.

The State Revenue Office, which collects taxes for the Victorian government, adopted ITIL after it decided to end an outsourcing agreement two years ago. The move ended a seven-year relationship.

"We were concerned 20 percent of our budget [for the entire agency] was 'outsourced' to a service provider," said its corporate services executive director Tony Whelan.

Whelan cited cost control as the major factor behind the decision to bring services in-house and adopt ITIL.

"We'd dragged down the cost as far as we could in services, but a service provider always wants to increase revenue," he said.

Whelan refused to name the provider, but said the company was unable to meet the agency's revised budget for desktop maintenance -- it has 450 PCs.

"ITIL was adopted as the model to guide our insourcing of infrastructure and application services," said Paul Broderick, Commissioner of State Revenue.

Paul Broderick, Commissioner of State Revenue, Victoria

"Achieving certification is the culmination of that process." The organisation was awarded BS15000/AS8018 (ITIL) certification after a series of audits in June.

"[The auditors] looked at each section of the standard and ask 'how do you comply?'. It's quite deep in terms of how far they drill down," Broderick said.

The agency had been ISO compliant so that was a "really big advantage" in passing the ITIL audit. "We already had very well-documented processes," he added.

The cost of attaining ITIL certification was about $90,000, according to Broderick. This included training some employees for the ITIL Foundation Certificate.

However, the agency had already calculated costs savings of $2 million per year from bringing IT services in-house. Being ITIL compliant ensured that decision was right, Broderick said.

"The impact of ITIL is that previously we didn't have that comfort that our systems could be measured to prove they were 'best practice'.

"ITIL ... provides comfort that our systems are robust and that we will maintain best practice.

"We want to milk every dollar of investment in our IT systems," said Broderick.

Conforming to ITIL will also help the agency extend the life of its core revenue management system, e-Sys, to 2015. Its Oracle Forms application helps to electronically collect and disperse $7 billion in revenue.

Under ITIL certification, the State Revenue Office will have to pass an audit every six months if it is to maintain its accreditation. It employs 35 technology staff in Melbourne and Ballarat.

Topics: Government

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