Thursday, March 31, 2016

It Seems That Victoria Has Had An Exciting Time Over The Last Few Years With Government IT.

This appeared last week:
Benjamin Preiss state political reporter
Published: March 21, 2016 - 3:29PM
Bungled IT systems that were scrapped before launching, or introduced with major flaws, have cost taxpayers almost $900 million.
The splurge by government departments on faulty projects comes despite repeated warnings in recent years about substandard commissioning processes.
Earlier this month Victoria's financial watchdog issued another scathing report on six information communications technology (ICT) projects in the public sector.
Acting Auditor-General Peter Frost said weaknesses in planning and implementation meant projects were often cancelled before completion while still "incurring significant costs".
Now the Andrews government says it is introducing changes to improve management of ICT systems.
A spokesman said the government had "bolstered the rules" for commissioning ICT systems, and will increase the use of independent experts to monitor projects.
The list of costly projects includes the bungled $240 million Ultranet system for schools that was supposed to be used extensively by parents, teachers and students.
The government pulled the plug on the project in 2014 after only a handful of schools adopted it and it has sincebeen the recent focus of an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission inquiry.
A doomed $62 million ICT system commissioned by the Department of Justice is among the latest projects that failed to launch.
The Age can also reveal the former Department of Primary Industries spent about $25 million on an online project known as the Resource Rights Allocation and Management system.
It was used for just two years before another $3 million was spent to make it compatible with cloud technology.
RMIT computer science expert Andy Song said government IT projects were vulnerable to a range of problems, including mid-project leadership changes.
"A change of management can bring a disastrous result," he said.
Dr Song said IT projects were expensive but could fast become obsolete as new technology takes over.
The HealthSMART system was another expensive project that was supposed to link hospital computer networks and data but was widely criticised for its limited application.
Some estimates have placed its price at $360 million or higher but the Health Department insisted its total capital cost was $329.4 million.
The department did not confirm how many hospitals or health services were now using the system.
More here:
The summary still makes some grim reading.

Digital Dashboard: Status Review of ICT Projects and Initiatives – Phase 2

Tabled: 9 March 2016
This audit is Phase 2 of the 2015 Digital Dashboard: Status Review of ICT Projects and Initiatives. It examined six information and communications technology (ICT) projects to determine if they were appropriately planned, managed and implemented in terms of time, cost, benefits realisation and governance.
The audit confirms that ICT projects continue to show poor planning and implementation with cost and scheduling overruns. While one of the six projects examined finished on schedule, none was or will be completed as initially budgeted. One project was terminated prior to system delivery, six years after its planned completion date and over twice its intended budget. Most of the projects examined faced significant challenges at various points during implementation.
Despite this, the audit saw some elements of better practice at the University of Melbourne and Yarra Valley Water which contributed to project completion.
Clearly defined governance arrangements do not necessarily guarantee a successful ICT project. Agencies should work on developing a robust culture of active governance at the senior management level to make informed decisions and to effectively engage with consultants and vendors.
The audit restates better practice elements from VAGO’s 2008 guide, Investing Smarter in Public Sector ICT, to assist agencies in delivering successful ICT projects.
Here is the link:
While it seems to be the same all over it really seems to be a worry that we keep having these project overruns and failures!

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