NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (DADHC) has given itself the mission to make its core Siebel system more user-friendly for its staff.
Siebel's a wonderful product but for a casual or intermittent user it's quite intimidating as well.
"Siebel's a wonderful product but for a casual or intermittent user it's quite intimidating as well. So people who use the Siebel system all the time really appreciate its power and its flexibility, but for people who don't interact with it on a daily basis, its flexibility becomes a liability," DADHC chief information officer Jim Hegarty told ZDNet.com.au yesterday about the platform, now owned by Oracle.
Now in the second year of the $7.5 million project, Hegarty has been upgrading the system from version 7.7 to 8 and has also been putting in some improvements to help those intermittent users be able to use it more easily.
Those upgrades include achieving a business function view rather than a modular view. "One of the complaints we get from our users is, to do x business function, they have to go to half a dozen screens. What we want to do is we want to pull that view from those half dozen screens into a business function," he said.
Hegarty agreed that this work was similar to what the Department of Community Services was doing, yet on a smaller scale. DADHC put in its Siebel system 18 months after DoCS, and learned from its counterpart's experience, he said.
Despite having DoCS and DADHC both working on Siebel, Hegarty said getting skilled workers hasn't been a prohibitive problem. When there's a shortfall, Businesslink, which supplies the department with shared services, has an agreement with Accenture to supply workers.
They're difficult things to answer. You know Facebook is not the solution.
Another focus at the moment for DADHC is forming a client-centric view in its systems by recording information on client interaction, whether it's done directly by the agency or by a non-government organisation (NGO) funded by the agency.
"We're looking to open our back-end systems more to NGOs so that they can provide that information," the CIO said. "We've implemented server provider portal technologies that enable non-government organisations to view and update a limited range of data at this stage that relates to them. We want to extend that out so that we can get more client data in that way."
Hegarty was also working on closer collaboration with other agencies under the People First agenda.
Such collaborative themes work in well with NSW parliamentary secretary for Transport Penny Sharpe's new NSWsphere effort, based on Kate Lundy's government 2.0 Public Sphere event.
Hegarty said he would likely attend the event and would listen carefully in the hope it would shed some light on issues that concern him about web 2.0 in government. "I'm very interested in it, because I think getting that balance right between what the technology will enable you to do and what a responsible society will want you to is a really interesting paradigm... They're difficult things to answer. You know Facebook is not the solution," he said.
"When people talk in generalities — about publishing the information that can be published, citizens being able to take their information with them, putting people at the centre of the equation — all of that as ideals I have absolutely no problem with whatsoever," he said. "It's translating that into a way which you would actually deal with people and their information which I think is the big challenge going forward."