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Gershon programme on track?

By johnboy 7 July 2009 32

The Australian reports that Government plans to bypass the Canberra IT industry and consolidate on less expensive models are well underway.

    “We’ve moved from 42 separate enterprise agreements on the core desktop parts of our Microsoft spend to having some 88 agencies under one agreement,” he said. “We’re getting a saving of at least $15 million per annum over four years.”

    Two other whole-of-government agreements are under negotiation, for telecommunications and desktop computing infrastructure, and the Finance Department is pursuing a third, for procurement of office equipment such as photocopiers and printers.

    Agencies were also starting to explore suppliers outside Canberra to reduce costs and risk. “The IT market in Canberra can be quite expensive, so we are looking at how agencies can do business with firms in other states,” he said.

    With the first round of cuts to agencies’ business-as-usual funding meeting the targets set by Sir Peter, AGIMO is turning its attention to performance and wider collaboration for the second round.

It’s probably going to be some pain for the local “IT sector”, but losing the players who really are providing nothing useful, and with no innovation, could well be a good thing in the long term.

What’s Your opinion?


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Gershon programme on track?
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j from the block 11:41 am 02 Sep 09

peterh said :

greenit said :

absolutely it is. can’t be efficient without loads of paperwork to back you up. what i am seeing in the market space is a lot of people getting frustrated with the panel contract arrangement, the dept may be getting best pricing, but absolutely no value for money.

Ah, the cutting of nose to spite face. In the wake of Gershon, there is a massive amount cut backs, and surprising little strategic vision. Value for money, as in long term, is a difficult thing to argue to the SES, being hammered to spend less.
On the upside, when it all gets too hard, the savvy IT contractors will come back in as consultants to fix the issues, what will the consultants suggest? Bringing in contractors to get the projects back on track. The wonderful circle of life continues………

peterh 9:35 am 02 Sep 09

greenit said :

Gershon ICT efficiencies may be eaten up by the amount of time that agencies have put in to reporting to AGIMO on ICT spending for the last financial year. If you have seen the document to be completed, you would really have to wonder if this really is “government ICT efficiency”.

absolutely it is. can’t be efficient without loads of paperwork to back you up. what i am seeing in the market space is a lot of people getting frustrated with the panel contract arrangement, the dept may be getting best pricing, but absolutely no value for money.

j from the block 9:14 am 02 Sep 09

I am on occaision an IT contractor, essentially it all depends on how the market is going. If a government department is going to pay me 100 an hour to do something I would do for 50 an hour in any other field, I’ll take it. Contractors are contractors, after a few years I became fine with the fact most perm employees hated me, I would do my job, fix the problem / finish the project and move on. Now the market has gone down again, I’m back in a policy / programme area, but never fear, when the market calls with their wallet out, I’ll go back. For now, I just go play in a bar to help cover the shortfall.

An APS 3 help desk monkey does the same job as a perm for 40k a year as they do as a contractor for 90k a year. Gershon burst the bubble, it will blow up again.

greenit 8:46 pm 01 Sep 09

Gershon ICT efficiencies may be eaten up by the amount of time that agencies have put in to reporting to AGIMO on ICT spending for the last financial year. If you have seen the document to be completed, you would really have to wonder if this really is “government ICT efficiency”.

ant 3:00 pm 08 Jul 09

Wraith said :

There are a hell of a lot of contractors out there who like to profess they know everything to justify the stupid rate they are on, but when pressed fold like a deck of cards, so throwing dispersions on to people who are trying to learn and then not helping them is a little shallow itself.

I’m not a subcontractor, I’m not on a stupid rate AND I get rec leave and sick leave AND a basement car park! And I didn’t throw dispersions, cast nasturtiums or even aspersions upon these struggling kids, I didn’t even sneer. I just eventually suggested what the problem might be and lo and behold, such was proven to be the case. (different in each case, oddly enough, and the signs were there).

And as Astro said, I am not an IT person.

astrojax 1:34 pm 08 Jul 09

oops, i meant to add: of course that unless you can present IT specialists who can do the other specialty work these contractors do, there’s no case is there? certainly none against the goodly ant…

astrojax 1:32 pm 08 Jul 09

from what ant said, wraith, clearly IT isn’t ant’s area of expertise, so your little rant is a bit misplaced. and i think the accepted usage is ‘casting’ aspersions, not ‘throwing dispersions‘.

The panel model itself is one of the factors that drives costs up. When you have to ‘suck up’ the cost of firstly getting onto the panel, and then writing detailed competitive RFT/RFQ responses, that time has to be budgeting into the cost of jobs won.

FFS, just using the panel model properly would make a big difference. That is, get industry to write detailed and sensible responses for panel membership, then simply request rates and availability when work comes up. Getting a second round of competitive responses just adds to the time and cost, and brings no real value.

In addition, it’s all very well for government to request prices for specific products, but unless the appropriate solution architecting and design has occurred first, the products we be as useful as a chocolate teapot. And then the providers get blamed for their products ‘not working’. It’s a very common problem, and I see it a lot where I work.

I agree with Fisho – the optimum is a mix of insourcing and outsourcing. And done properly, neither option is cheap.

Wraith 11:00 am 08 Jul 09

ant said :

I contract, and get around a fair bit, and the IT people I’ve encountered are very nice BUT don’t know much about IT and what they do know is very narrow and focussed. And shallow.

Watching some eager kid try to raise a new email account on an exchange server… for 2 days… is depressing.

There are a hell of a lot of contractors out there who like to profess they know everything to justify the stupid rate they are on, but when pressed fold like a deck of cards, so throwing dispersions on to people who are trying to learn and then not helping them is a little shallow itself.

peterh 10:21 am 08 Jul 09

The problem that the departments now face is that there will be panels of suppliers who won’t want to innovate – to share their ideas with the entire panel of competitors.

In effect, by going to a panel model, the amount of innovation by resellers has been stymied. The “players who really are providing nothing useful, and with no innovation”, as JB puts it, will have a bigger role than they should have. The box dropping reseller now can compete against the innovators, solutions are not key to winning business, best price is.

The Panel RFQ doco asks for a price and delivery time. No mention of alternatives, or a long term option for a better solution. This will see the players that don’t have the ability to innovate joining the fray, an example will be the Harvey Norman or Harris Technology type companies winning business that traditionally they couldn’t have touched.

There isn’t any room for diversity, either. The product type, part number and brand is all spelled out for the reseller. No alternate solutions, or products, you just respond to the RFQ with what the Dept asks for. no thought, just a price list of the very best price.

the disturbing thing is that the Department must be getting advice from somewhere re the technology that it wishes to procure. Who is providing that information?

Fisho 6:43 am 08 Jul 09

What this Gershon report competely failed to recognise is Canberra’s IT skills shortage.
I’ve spoken to a number of people in various depts, lack of skilled staff is a huge problem. And many complaints about losing staff, and too much workload.

No problem though, Dept’s will quickly realise they can’t meet basic functions and hire back the staff they laid off (as contractors) and the cycle will continue until the next Gershon comes along…. Until then the ‘ditch everyone’ principle is in operation.

Outsourcing should really only be used where it is too expensive to maintain in house expertise over the long term, project work, or where BAU tasks are cheaper to outsource.

ant 11:51 pm 07 Jul 09

I contract, and get around a fair bit, and the IT people I’ve encountered are very nice BUT don’t know much about IT and what they do know is very narrow and focussed. And shallow.

Watching some eager kid try to raise a new email account on an exchange server… for 2 days… is depressing.

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