The New South Wales government has officially transitioned its ServiceFirst portfolio into Unisys' Australian head office, where the IT firm will provide a centralised IT support service to state government departments and agencies under GovConnectNSW.
Speaking at the official opening in Sydney on Friday, Minister for Finance, Services, and Property Dominic Perrottet said outsourcing the GovConnect responsibilities to Unisys frees up the government to focus on areas outside of IT such as education, health, and infrastructure.
"In reality we're involved in all these businesses that we really shouldn't be involved in and one of the things I think from a state government perspective that we should be focusing on is our core responsibilities," Perrottet said.
"There are other areas which can distract us from our core responsibilities but when you've got leading companies like Unisys and Infosys out there, with the expertise in IT ... they can provide the best service."
The minister said the initiative is about making sure the government is operating as efficiently as possible.
"Bringing in an expert provider like Unisys means public servants will have access to the latest IT technology and faster turnaround times, enabling them to provide better service to the people of NSW," he said. "We're in the early stages but we wouldn't pursue this if we didn't think it would work."
Unisys said its service desk provides a centralised point of contact for the IT and field services, as well as the SAP support, payroll, finance, HR, and procurement functions provided by Infosys under the GovConnectNSW brand.
With over 900 full time employees in Australia and approximately 7,500 staff in the Asia Pacific region, Tony Windever, Unisys vice president and general manager for enterprise solutions APAC, said that what his company is focusing on is bringing innovative services and solutions to its clients and government institutions, to allow them to deliver a better service for their own clients.
"We're very focused internally on becoming a fair more agile, flexible, and adaptive, responsible organisation for our clients; in this part of the world we have a very strong partnership and presence in government," he said.
"If you look at leading government institutions and corporations globally, they're really making important investments now in digital transformation to achieve really three things: To deliver a better experience for their customers or citizens; the second is around process improvement, and the third reason he said is around building and mobilising better business models that are very much cloud-based and as-a-service based."
The transition into the Unisys location is now complete, with the call centre having gone live on December 14, bringing with it 128 new jobs. Perrottet expects the initiative to provide AU$13.4 million in savings over the next six years.
Perrottet said he sees the Unisys outsourcing project as the catalyst within government, expecting other agencies to follow suit.
"[Under GovConnect] We have 6,000 public servants, 24 agencies, and hopefully this a blueprint for more to come across government -- I really see this as the start of something," he said.
"Hopefully this is something that we can spread out.
"I think it's like anything in government, if you set something up and it works and it is efficient, and it also provides savings for the government then it provides a blueprint for agencies to go, 'Look what's happening over here', particularly when you incentivise them as well to go back into their own departments and their agencies. I'm sure they will look at it."
Windever confirmed that there was the capability to set up other government agencies within its Rhodes location, saying that Unisys is already in the early stages of talks with other agencies in regards to what their IT solutions might look like.
The NSW government initially signed the contract with Unisys and Infosys in June, to outsource the functions of the state's shared service provider, ServiceFirst.
Under the six-year contract, Unisys will provide end-to-end outsourced IT services including mobile device, laptop, and desktop support; central computing infrastructure support including server, storage, networking, and data centres; IT service management including a centralised service desk in Western Sydney; desk-side support; and application services.
At the time, Perrottet said that outsourcing ServiceFirst would provide agencies with a more cost effective way to deliver high-quality IT services for greater employee productivity and better value for NSW taxpayers.
"It's time to move our back office into today's world, give our public servants the tools they need to work effectively and shift to modern, flexible, and scalable technology solutions," he said.
Earlier this week the Department of Defence extended its IT support services contract with Unisys for another two years to October 2018, valued at approximately AU$74 million.
Under the contract, Unisys will provide IT support for 100,000 end users at approximately 450 Defence locations across the country. The contract will also include providing support for joint service and international military exercises such as Talisman Sabre, as well as emergency disaster responses including floods and bushfires.
Unisys won its first regional IT services agreement with Defence back in 2008 for an initial five years.