Defence CIO to take information management lead

A review of the Australian Department of Defence has recommended that the CIO have much more oversight of the systems within the department, and target a reduction in duplicated systems.

The First Principles Review of the Department of Defence has recommended that the chief information officer and chief technology officer have greater oversight of information management across the entire department.

The review (PDF), released on Wednesday by Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, made 76 recommendations for change within the mega department to improve structures, processes, and systems.

The government has accepted 75 of the 76 recommendations, and will give the department two years to implement the changes, which will be headed up by the secretary of the department and the chief of the defence force.

The review found that there are over 2,500 information management applications, including 300 financial applications. The department had intended that its chief information officer, Peter Lawrence, be responsible for information management across Defence, but "in practice, accountability has remained fragmented and unclear".

"There has been a lack of effective governance and control, which has led to siloed solutions, especially in the military arena where the Chief Information Office Group has less domain expertise and is further removed from the end user," the report noted.

The associate secretary for the department would be directed to implement enterprise information management that works over the military, and the Band 3/3 star level enterprise business committee would set the direction and priorities of the information management agenda under the recommendations.

The CIO would be responsible for the implementation of the enterprise information management agenda, and would be responsible for its networks. The CIO would authorise all expenditure on information management, and be responsible for "enterprise information management frameworks, including architecture, standards, policy, and master data management", the report stated.

To support the CIO, the report recommended that the chief technology officer should be recognised as the technical authority and be able to "red card" decisions.

There should also be an enterprise-wide framework for architecture standards and master data management, and a road map developed to standardise business and information processes and applications.

The report stated that this would see Defence move to a smaller number of systems, and the retirement of a number of legacy systems.

Systems already in planning would need to conform with this new agenda.

"We note a number of domain-specific information management reform programs are already under way or planned in Defence. These must be aligned and leveraged under the new model, including the human resource management and payroll system, the garrison and estate management system, financial information system reform, and logistics system modernisation," the report stated.

"The chief information officer will have to ensure that all of this work is consistent with the information management transformation agenda."

Funding for this project should be prioritised as part of the 2015 Defence White Paper, the report stated.