Ontario CIO Ron McKerlie on application lifecycle management

More effective lifecycle management of over 2,000 software applications currently used across the Ontario government will be among the priorities of the Office of the Corporate CIO under the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

Ensuring the continued availability of critical applications, which are vital to the operations of various government agencies in the province, is very important for efficient IT service delivery, according to Ron McKerlie, corporate CIO of Ontario.

McKerlie and other CIOs within the Ontario Public Service clusters outlined their short-term and long-term infrastructure and information technology plans at a breakfast roundtable in Toronto this week sponsored by the Ontario chapter of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC).

Of the 2,000 applications running across the government of Ontario, about 200 are deemed as major applications, McKerlie said. “A significant percentage of that is operating on unsupported or outdated technology.”

Of these top 200 major applications, about one in six are considered as “high-risk,” which means they are running on outdated or unsupported systems, he added.

“The Ontario government will move to a more comprehensive, robust method of managing our applications,” McKerlie said.

The approach for the provincial government’s application lifecycle management is outlined under the Major Applications Portfolio Strategy (MAPS), which involves implementing application inventory, identifying and assessing the risks and monitoring the applications throughout their lifecycle, he said.

In addition to the application lifecycle management strategy, McKerlie outlined other initiatives in the pipeline that support the government’s goal towards modernization and improvement of service delivery.

“Operating effectively as a single enterprise and improving efficiency are our key modernization priorities,” McKerlie said, adding that these initiatives will also allow the province to increase service delivery while driving down per unit cost.

McKerlie cited the province’s telemedicine network and the Justice Video Network as among ongoing initiatives that’s enabling the Ontario government to increase service delivery while driving down cost.

The telemedicine network enables Ontario’s health care providers to deliver health services and transmit health information electronically. It provides, among other things, access to health services as well as education and training for residents in remote areas, without having to travel, McKerlie said.

The Justice Video Network, on the other hand, has provided benefits in the area of travel cost reduction and public safety, he said. “It reduces the risk of public safety by restricting transport of offenders.”

The video network consists of more than 380 installed systems across Ontario, according to John DiMarco, CIO for the Justice Cluster, who also presented at the ITAC event. The video network allows various justice-related or law enforcement activities to be through video, such as getting witness testimony from a remote location, without the necessity of physical travel, he explained.

“Video is the way to go for cost avoidance, public safety and aligning with the government’s green strategy,” DiMarco said.

The Justice Cluster is the largest cluster within the OPS, with more than 27,000 staff in over 900 locations across the province.

The ITAC-Ontario Roundtable was a networking opportunity for its members in the vendor community to get a better understanding of the Ontario government’s procurement initiatives in the area of information and communications technology.

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