Queensland cloud-first policy sees IT divisions become brokers

Queensland's government IT divisions are set to become service brokers under the state’s new cloud-first policy and implementation model.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Queensland's government agency information and communications technology divisions are set to transition from a provider role to a service broker role, under the state's new cloud-first policy.

Queensland's Cloud Computing Strategy, which is an addendum to the Queensland Government ICT Strategy 2013-17, was released today, along with the state's new Cloud Computing Implementation Model — which indicated the role of the government's ICT divisions would change under the plan.

"Traditionally, agency ICT divisions have been the in-house provider of ICT services. However, with cloud adoption and the corresponding sourcing ICT capabilities as-a-service, their role and mindset will shift from producing and managing assets to acting as a broker of ICT services from external suppliers or utilising other brokers to satisfy business needs," the Cloud Computing Implementation Model document (PDF) said.

The document also indicated that the state would establish a whole-of-government "federated identity broker" to support the secure sharing of cloud services and applications across governmental agencies.

"Federation with non-government organisations and partners should occur using the central broker where there is benefit in standardising and abstracting government integration requirements for providers," the document said.

The new strategy policy and implementation model comes after the state established its independent Commission of Audit in March 2012.

While the state's Commission of Audit report, published in February this year, recommended the government adopt a cloud-first model in order to improve public services and minimise costs, the Queensland Government has decided to do so only when it is economically viable.

"ICT-as-a-service will be procured from the private sector in the form of ICT-as-a-service wherever this is feasible and represents value for money," the Queensland Government Cloud Computing Strategy document (PDF) said. "Queensland Government will initially look to adopt common and commodity ICT cloud services through accredited (pre-qualified) arrangements."

According to Queensland's IT and innovation minister, Ian Walker, the new strategy will reduce ICT costs for the state.

"The Strategy and Implementation Model is an update to the Queensland Government's ICT Strategy and is critical to progress our ICT as a service policy, allowing us to only pay for what we use," said Walker. "We've seen this in action through initiatives such as the recent 'cloud ready' Microsoft deal that will save the government AU$13.7 million."

Walker also said that the new strategy would offer the Queensland public service the tools to transition to a cloud-based environment, along with new services for Queenslanders.

"This is one of the most robust suites of tools to be delivered by any Australian government, helping to revitalise frontline services by giving agencies the agility to respond to changing business needs and priorities," he said.

"Cloud computing is a key component of our ICT renewal agenda, which also includes the One-Stop Shop program to improve public access to government services and the highly innovative Open Data initiative."

Queensland's move to adopt a whole-of-government cloud-first policy comes only weeks after the nation's treasurer, Joe Hockey, and finance minister, Mathias Cormann, said that cloud computing would be considered following the 2014-15 budget — despite the federal Commission of Audit report recommending the shift to the cloud.

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