​Transport for NSW denies IT project cost blowouts

The state government expects its Making IT Work For You project will be completed on-budget before the end of the year.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) has denied its Making IT Work for You program has blown its budget, telling ZDNet instead the project remains within the funding envelope.

The project was kicked off in 2014 with a budget of AU$426 million.

"More is being invested in IT as we are roll out a package of major upgrades to modernise how we do business and it is important that budgets reflect the scale of work that needs to be completed," a TfNSW spokesperson told ZDNet in response to questions on the reported cost-blowout of the IT project.

The government entity said the project is centred on investing in the systems needed to make Transport a "flexible, agile, and collaborative" workplace. It also hopes up-to-date IT will allow TfNSW to "keep attracting the best people and make sure we're able to deliver the best outcomes for customers".

According to TfNSW, the Making IT Work for You program will transform the IT infrastructure of the Transport cluster by centralising IT services and support to around 27,500 staff working at various locations throughout the state.

"We will bring a network allowing Transport staff to work seamlessly across any location at any time," TfNSW explained.

"The Making IT Work For You (MITWFY) program is addressing a critical need to refresh and renew Transport's ageing IT infrastructure assets and improve collaboration," the spokesperson added.

"Transport for NSW is moving into a new phase of its IT strategy and it is time to adapt the structure of the Group IT team to make it fit for the future. This includes both continued focus on operational delivery and building new capability for the future."

The project involves the implementation of online collaboration tools, cloud-based mail, the development of a Windows 10 standard operating environment, a new MyIT self-service portal and service desk, centralised datacentres, and will also see the foundations built for a faster and more reliable network infrastructure for sites across TfNSW, Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), and the State Transit Authority.

The TfNSW spokesperson expects the IT transformation to be completed before the year is out.

"The MITWFY Program remains within its approved funding envelope. It is delivering the revised scope implemented from the reset activity in March 2017 and will be completed later this year," they said.

Fairfax last week reported TfNSW's IT group blew its AU$30 million annual operational budget by more than AU$80 million in the 12 months to June, which it said followed a AU$40 million blowout in the operational budget from the previous year.

TfNSW reported that as of January 31, 2018, the program spend was AU$366 million.

Since kick-off, TfNSW said major contracts have been awarded, new datacentres have been built and opened, servers and applications have been migrated, approximately a third of Transport mailboxes have been migrated to online mail, and other new software and technology products have begun rolling out for staff.

Providers working on the major IT project include: IBM Australia, NEC IT Services Australia, DXC, Optus, Telstra, TPG, Fujitsu, and National Technical Services (NTS).

IBM Australia recently scored a AU$1 billion whole-of-government contract, with the new five-year agreement seeing the multinational provide hardware, software, and cloud-based solutions, and also includes joint innovation programs in quantum computing, cybersecurity, and research, touted by the government as furthering its digital transformation agenda.


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