Microsoft, telcos in firing line as Feds tighten IT belts

Summary:Australian government CIO Ann Steward has outlined new regulations and procurement strategies aimed at preventing government agencies from making poor investment choices in ICT.

Australian government CIO Ann Steward has outlined new regulations and procurement strategies aimed at preventing government agencies from making poor investment choices in ICT.

In her address at CeBIT today, Steward discussed a comprehensive review of ICT spending within the Federal government.

The government is especially tightening the screws on volume software licensing — Steward making particular mention of a new approach to the volume purchase of Microsoft software licences.

The Department of Defence, she said, has been given a lead agency role in negotiating cheaper and simpler pricing from the software giant, which can then be accessed by other Federal agencies.

Heads of agreements with telecommunications carriers, she noted, are also under review.

Among the many measures detailed in her speech were new review requirements on government agencies before ICT projects can be approved.

Any project worth over AU$30 million, of which ICT investments make up over AU$10 million, will be subject to a "two-pass process", Steward said.

Under this process, agencies will be asked to bring forward an outline for any new project in the first instance. Should this outline be approved, the agency will be granted time and potentially a small amount of budget to develop a more comprehensive business case for the project.

Such a process allows the government to make "more informed decisions" on spending, Steward said.

It has been developed in a response to "lessons learned" from past government ICT projects.

"There are some examples across government of where projects haven't been as successful as they should be," Steward told ZDNet.com.au.

"At times, projects are rushed, there is no clarity around the scope, around how benefits are to be measured, or whether the skills are available to do the work," she added.

Topics: Government, CEBIT, CXO, Government : AU, Telcos

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