Ministry mega merger faces IT challenges

Some systems are yet to be scoped following the merger of four large New Zealand government departments in 2012.

New Zealand's "mega ministry", the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), is still merging its infrastructure more than two years after it was formed, according to a new government monitoring report.

The report, released on Tuesday, says management estimates that MBIE now operates around 50 percent on a common platform and "significant" challenges remain.

"MBIE has plenty of opportunity to improve its effectiveness and efficiency, and will need to realise these opportunities to be able to deliver on its goals with the forecast funding track," the Performance Improvement report says.

"While some of the required efficiencies have already been identified, for example, via consolidation and new technology, a significant challenge remains, and some of that challenge remains to be sized."

MBIE was created in 2012 through the merger of the Department of Labour, the Department of Building and Housing, the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and the Ministry of Economic Development.

The report says technology has been a barrier to gaining traction on workforce initiatives.

"These challenges have been exacerbated by weak HR management information systems. Payroll data, only recently integrated, remains of variable quality. Management information and reporting issues have been an irritant to overall progress."

Progress in improving basic IT infrastructure and addressing issues around vendor engagement and management has been good, but this infrastructure phase needs to be completed and the emphasis shifted to improving "information management".

After that, MBIE needs to increase the focus on improving access to data and information.

"However, it is still early days in building the information base and the analytical capability needed to support superior business performance," the report says.

The relationship between this functional area and the business units is variable, and still has "some way to go to reach maturity".

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