Western Australia's Department of Justice
(DoJ) may have split into two separate divisions back in
February, but the group's IT unit has come through the process
That IT function serving both the new Departments of
Corrective Services and the Attorney-General will come to be
known as the Shared Information Services Directorate, with its
current chieftain Bob Berg remaining in the director's chair.
"I'll report to both CEOs, and run a shared service," Berg
told ZDNet Australia this week by telephone.
Berg said a number of arrangements had been put in place to
ensure cost and risk minimisation under the new system.
For example, all IT assets will be owned by the
Attorney-General's department, avoiding the problem of needing to
buy additional enterprise-class software licences for the added
Although the two departments will continue to use the same hardware infrastructure, Berg's staff will use technology such as Microsoft's
Active Directory software and virtualisation tools to keep the data owned by each secure and separate.
"We're leveraging all that stuff to give people the logical
feeling they're separate, while physically it's none of their
business," said Berg.
Only one set of IT standards guidelines will be maintained, in addition to one set of usage policies for computer
and telecommunications assets, although the actual application of
the usage policies may vary from area to area.
"One department may choose to say: I want all my staff to have
the Internet, and the other one may say nobody gets access," said
Berg. "But that doesn't change the way the actual policy's
While Berg said each department had discretion in terms of how
their money was spent, the IT unit will still be in charge of
"How they build it, who they build it with, what technologies
they use and the actual protocols they have to follow for the
integration is still my responsibility," said Berg.
Salary money for the IT staff will be split -- with some coming from each department.
Support from the top
Buy-in and support from the two
departments' top-level management teams is key to the success of
the shared IT unit.
"Both CEOs are committed to the whole sharing thing," said
Berg. "They both are convinced and are happy with the degree to
which the environment has been shown to be able to be
Part of that confidence comes from the IT unit's previous
success in keeping different parts of the old DoJ apart from
"We also [always have] look after people like the Office of
the Director of Public Prosecutions, the State Solicitor's
Office, and parliamentary counsel," said Berg.
"Now those three in particular have always been
extraordinarily paranoid about the need to be separate and appear
to be separate." In addition, judiciary representatives have
always been nervous about having to broadly share IT systems with
But Berg is confident of the success of the shared model, "because the CEOs aren't paranoid, and they're both very supportive of achieving it this way".