E-government app centre report due out

The final report on the feasibility of an “e-government application development centre” will be published this week.

The centre, a project of Information Technology Association of New Zealand (ITANZ), is designed to help evolve applications for government agencies and then to commercialize them as appropriate for wider, probably international sale.

“The report makes a strong case for commercialization,” says ITANZ head Jim O’Neill. “That was expected. It gives reasons (for its conclusions) and builds methodologies” for the centre’s evolution and operation.

The choice as to whether to establish the centre is for government in the last analysis, says O’Neill, “so the only real recommendation we make is that government should convene a group to consider the idea. There is nothing we can do if government doesn’t want it.” The suggested mechanism for the centre involves membership “at various levels” by ICT vendor companies and other organizations such as research groups and industry clusters.

All the outlines of projects with commercialization potential will be made available to all members of the centre, who can approach the project on their own, but will be encouraged to form consortia.

This could make a little known technology developed by one of the centre members or a productive combination of technologies form many members more visible to the government client than if it were approaching many vendors separately via the usual RFI process, O’Neill says.

It may also offer a neat way through the “transparency” bugbear, whereby government contracts must theoretically allow anyone to bid, he suggests. By going to the centre, that opportunity is offered equally to all members of the centre, but individually strong solutions can still come forward in an easy and natural way.

The feasibility study was developed for ITANZ by Joseph Rousseau.