The Queensland government has accepted recommendations from an independent audit of the government to change its approach to IT, including the decision to stop using its shared services provider CITEC for centralised IT services.
The audit came about in March last year, when an Independent Commission of Audit was established to help provide the government with advice on its financial positions and strategies to strengthen the local economy and achieve value for money in service delivery.
The commission made 155 recommendations, including six IT-related recommendations.
It recommended that the Queensland government "discontinue the role of CITEC as a centralised provider of ICT services within government, and initiate a process to divest the CITEC business within two years". The state government accepted the recommendation, but noted that it would have to conduct additional policy work to better understand the consequences of doing so.
"CITEC is only part of a broader services provision and IT asset environment in the Queensland government, and as with other recommendations relating to IT and corporate service provision ... a detailed implementation plan, which first and foremost establishes an orderly process to manage the implications of this recommendation, is needed," the government's response said.
The other five recommendations move the government away from managing its own IT processes and toward adopting an "IT-as-a-service" strategy. This will ultimately result in the state government moving toward cloud-based computing, discontinuing its role as the owner of its IT assets and systems.
To enable the service delivery shift, more emphasis has been placed on the state's Chief Information Office to focus on strategic issues and ensure that agencies' CIOs are able to adopt the cloud-based approach and reap the greatest value from it.
While CITEC will not be used for centralised IT services, the director-general for the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, Andrew Garner, told ZDNet in a statement that there has been no decision to sell CITEC, that it is unaware of any potential buyers, and that the government has not made a decision as to when and if CITEC will stop trading.
Garner said there would be no immediate staffing implications for CITEC's current 434 full-time equivalent employees.
"Any staffing implications cannot be determined at this stage, but will be a key consideration as part of the implementation plan."
CITEC employees were informed of the changes by the Garner on Tuesday morning during an all-staff meeting.
Its future is to be considered when the IT minister Ian Walker oversees the development of Queensland's IT strategy. This strategy will in turn be shaped by the findings of the IT audit.
Former Liberal-National IT minister Ros Bates previously blamed CITEC's financial difficulties on the previous government's Identity, Directory and Email Services (IDES) project. IDES stalled in 2010, blowing its delivery schedule out by two years, and in 2011 forced Labor IT minister Simon Finn to respond to claims that it was costing AU$23,000 per user. Bates eventually dumped IDES in mid-2012, stating that it would be better to pursue possible cloud-based alternatives rather than spend the remaining money budgeted for the project.