Vic Police last on CenITex's queue

Victoria Police's recent publicised difficulties have likely put it at the back of the line of agencies waiting to receive infrastructure services from the state's new shared services agency CenITex.

Victoria Police's recent publicised difficulties have likely put it at the back of the line of agencies waiting to receive infrastructure services from the state's new shared services agency CenITex.

Peter Blades at the symposium
(Credit: Suzanne Tindal/

CenITex is managing enterprise tools such as email and infrastructure such as desktops for six government organisations. By 2012 it wants to be managing the desktops for another seven.

"Some of you have been reading things in the paper," CenITex CEO Peter Blades said yesterday at the Gartner Symposium in Sydney. "This one here, Police, might go to the back of the queue. I won't tell you why. You can figure that out yourself."

A detailed report by the Victorian Ombudsman recently blew apart the Business Information and Technology Services segment of the Victorian Police, bringing to light tendering and documentation behaviour considered to be inappropriate.

Blades was meeting with Victoria Police's new executive director infrastructure, Michael Vanderheide, next week, he said.

First in line is the Departments of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD), Blades said. The due diligence is complete, he said but the Memorandum of Understanding needs to be signed and is being delayed because of DIIRD's ancient PC Fleet. CenITex's prices include provisions for replacement of fleets.

"They don't know how they're going to pay for it. So we're not taking their assets over until they determine how they're going to pay for it. That's an issue for Treasury and them. Not us," Blades said.

Human Services, one of the larger organisations, according to Blades, is next. It is looking to come in by the middle of January. The Department of Justice is set to transfer to CenITex by the end of March.

That leaves The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, VicRoads, the State Revenue Office, the Environmental Protection Authority and Victoria Police.

Already, just from the six customers that have come on board, CenITex has been battling with consolidating 14 directories, 13 datacentres, three desktops and two service centres. Building a new CenITex service centre has been a $60 million investment for which BMC recently was awarded an almost $5 million contract for the front end.

Once everything is in place, CenITex hopes to provide the government with an annualised savings of $40 million. If providing those services goes successfully, it may then move onto providing shared applications such as payroll.

Vendors have noticed Blades' focus on bringing IT in-house. "We've already got some vendors coming to us saying ... 'look I can take 25 per cent out now for the front end and 50 per cent cost out of the back end'," Blades said. "We can do it better than them," he continued, adding that if CenITex couldn't do it better, it would outsource.

Today, CenITex services 13,765 desktops, has 400 employees and takes in $65 million in annual revenues. The future state will be 600 staff, $240 million per annum revenues and 60,000 desktops, Blades said.

Achieving savings goals has meant keeping a steady eye on costs. "We inherited a 70 per cent contractual workforce [from agencies]," Blades said. He's brought that number down to about 40 per cent. "With the workforce people, we're just slowly working through converting them."

One high profile contractor CenITex hired directly — Thana Velummylum — has, however, maintained a role within the company with a $450,000 annual pay cheque. When queried on the payment yesterday, Blades said Velummylum was worth the price.

"I would say that this guy, the one you're reporting on, if he was taken out of the equation, [efficient technology services] program would be endangered. The guy doesn't sleep. He contributes tremendously."


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