Defence CIO Greg Farr leaves

Department of Defence CIO Greg Farr will leave his role after five years of wrestling with the department's mammoth challenges.

After a five-year stint that has seen great technological change within the Department of Defence, CIO Greg Farr is leaving his post.

Greg Farr.
(Credit: Department of Defence)

The Department of Defence said that he had been employed on 19 November 2007, on a five-year contract, which finishes up in November this year, with no opportunity to extend.

"He is planning on finishing the contract. [He] will take a break, then will look at opportunities next year," the Department of Defence said in a statement.

The department has begun the search for a new CIO, calling the position a "demanding role, which will offer immense satisfaction to those with the required track record".

Farr has had an active tenure. In 2008, he made plans to revamp the way the department dealt with outsourcing , leading to the consolidation of the over 500 outsourcers that the department dealt with.

He believed that vendors needed to step up to the plate and take more responsibility for what they were providing to the government, meeting goals laid out in contracts, instead of trying to move the goal posts when projects became difficult.

He also predicted that IT departments would lose touch with their user bases if they did not become more responsive and flexible to user needs.

Farr has been at the helm of a major IT revamp called the Strategic Reform Program, which started in 2009.

The program had a AU$940 million budget for a four-year program of works , but this was increased in the last budget by another AU$550 million, with an extended delivery time. The program aims to achieve AU$1.948 billion in savings, over ten years (including the increased spend up front).

Additional budget was required because the Department of Defence's information environment had more (and older) equipment than had originally been thought, according to Farr .

Individual projects that Farr started include datacentre consolidation , telecommunications contract consolidation and a revamp of the department's HR systems .

Farr headed up Department of Defence IT as it implemented recommendations from the Gershon review, one of which suggested reducing the department's reliance on contractors .

Defence was also the lead agency for a whole-of-government Microsoft volume sourcing arrangement that saved the Federal Government an estimated AU$91 million over four years.