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Beyond the expected

Defence IT Woes

By Deano - 4 December 2006 25

Today’s Canberra Times reports that Labor Senator Mark Bishop told 2CC listeners last week that workers in Defence could take their annual leave while waiting for a help desk fix.

Working in Defence, I have first hand experience of this. Simple network access changes take anything up to 28 days. Heaven help you if your workstation fails as it takes six weks to get a replacement. With everything computerised these days, there is nothing you can do but sit and wait it out. Its bad enough seeing public servants sitting around doing nothing, but when it includes $1000 a day consultants, the situation is scandalous.

What’s Your opinion?


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25 Responses to
Defence IT Woes
podfink 5:15 pm 04 Dec 06

I have been on both sides of the coin. As an APS officer frustrated with the poor IT service. But also as a contractor for the IT service. If you’re in the APS and you think outsourcing doesn’t work, you’re wrong. Your masters just aren’t prepared to pay for an adequate level of service for you. There is a list of VIP staff who get amazing levels of service. Just not the great unwashed.

RandomGit 4:18 pm 04 Dec 06

You and the other 200 people moving networks Deano. Plus the account replication time to a new Domain server. Plus lost mailboxes, MQ Series crashes, your manager whining about a 20 minute shutdown time on his laptop because it is synchronising 40 gigs of My Music with his network share that he set up ‘for his own convenience’.

It’s not all about you.

Deano 2:57 pm 04 Dec 06

Deano, your issue revolves around the EBCAK issue. No offrence to you, naturally.

None taken, but not sure what you’re getting at. simply tasks like changes to network access when someone moves sections so they can access the new section’s files takes 28 days to action even though the actual job takes less than 5 minutes.

Absent Diane 2:53 pm 04 Dec 06

yeah I prob worded that loosely – by market experience I meant dealing with IT contracts…

S4anta 2:42 pm 04 Dec 06

VY, thats why Service Level Agreements were invented. BAsically an MOU that ties on a short from contract for services, govt style.

VYBerlinaV8 2:35 pm 04 Dec 06

In house legal departments will get away with what you let them get away with.

Sammy 2:29 pm 04 Dec 06

If the concern is around contract writing, then maybe some specialist contract lawyers should be used.

One of the issues i’ve found contracting for Government is that sometimes the contracts are just too onerous. A 20-page contract for a job that’ll take about a week to complete is just ridiculous, and i’ve seen it go this way. It’s almost like the in-house legal department is attempting to justify its own existence. But that wouldn’t happen … nah.

S4anta 2:28 pm 04 Dec 06

Deano, your issue revolves around the EBCAK issue. No offrence to you, naturally.

RG, trix has hit the nail on the head. There is a small problem with the lack of competant contract managers in the public or private spheres. Aging population and all that bollocks.

Sammy, you must be reading the internet from a parallel universe. good on you however, high fives.

RandomGit 2:25 pm 04 Dec 06

No, RandomGit. They have no experience with outsourcing contract management.

Ah, I see. Experience with contract management rather than IT work. Gotcha.

Yeah, I can agree with that.

VYBerlinaV8 2:22 pm 04 Dec 06

When things are this bad perhaps the senior execs need to take some responsibility. Sadly, Defence is known in professional circles as a pain in the ass client where everything is someone else’s responsibility. Civilian departments are better, but still not good.

If the concern is around contract writing, then maybe some specialist contract lawyers should be used. The biggest problem govco has it it thinks it can do everything, and it can’t – they just don’t have the resources or the right staff.

Sammy 2:11 pm 04 Dec 06

I do a lot of federal Government outsource work, and the projects I work on now get completed in weeks, rather than months, and cost half as much as they did when completed in-house. Sounds like a shining example to me.

trix 1:55 pm 04 Dec 06

No, RandomGit. They have no experience with outsourcing contract management.

However, I have yet to see a shining example of outsourcing in the private sector either – so much for “market experience”.

seepi 1:54 pm 04 Dec 06

It means they write useless contracts focussing on ‘outputs’ and fancy databases and don’t specify the basics like times for helpdesk response. or a useful helpdesk response, beyond assigning someone a customer number.

RandomGit 1:41 pm 04 Dec 06

Umm, did you say outsourccing IT away from the Public Sector doesn’t work because the Public Sector has no experience? Isn’t that a reason to outsource, because they don’t know what they are doing?

I must have read that wrong.

Absent Diane 1:36 pm 04 Dec 06

outsourcing IT in the public sector does not work (yet?) due to the public sector’s lack of market experience.

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