Australian states warming up to roles of CIOs and CTOs

Recognizing the growing importance of ICT to the state’s economy, the government of Queensland, an Australian state, has joined other states by appointing a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in addition to a Chief Information Officer (CIO).

The newly created role is part of a growing trend by state governments to appoint two C-level information executives to improve efficiency and reduce annual government ICT spend.

The Queensland Government Chief Technology Office (QGCTO) will be established next month and plans are already underway to recruit a CTO.

In recent years Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia have appointed both a CIO and CTO for their states.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said last week the new CTO office will be charged with slashing IT spend between A$41 million (US$31 million) and $74 million annually through infrastructure, network and data center consolidation.

The QGCTO will also develop better practice guidance for agencies in project sizing, requirements specification and supplier engagement.

Earlier this month the Premier tabled a service delivery and performance review to parliament which states the government needs to be more prudent with ICT investment and procurement. The 163 page document recommended that the Government Enterprise Architecture (GEA) be used as the framework for making decisions that align with a service delivery vision.

According to the review, active management of the GEA will ensure opportunities for greater agency collaboration to work together on ICT projects.

“The government does not currently have a comprehensive understanding of the data or the information it holds,” the review states.

“The review recommends consolidating the management responsibility and accountability for infrastructure, networks and data services across the government. This consolidation will generate many benefits.

“The resulting efficiencies will free up funds for service delivery, enable agencies to focus on their core business applications, and it will assist in providing the agility and flexibility for the government to respond to service delivery requirements.”

Recommendations from the review will be undertaken by Citec, a commercialized business unit of the government and an ICT service provider.

“CITEC has the technical expertise to drive the consolidation of data centers, networks and infrastructure for the government. The Review recommends that CITEC be re-orientated to focus on undertaking this consolidation and providing ICT services to government rather than actively pursuing work in the private sector,” the review said.

CITEC has been charged with establishing the QGCTO and an innovation center to “enable suppliers, in conjunction with government agencies, to demonstrate products and services that will enable the government to achieve its service delivery objectives.”

John Puttick, chairman of Qld-based IT industry body Software Queensland said ICT already represents 62,000 employees and $21 billion in revenue, making it one of the largest contributors to the state’s economy.

“Queensland is fortunate to be able to look to its own suppliers for ICT solutions, specifically tailored for local requirements, which would otherwise have to be purchased overseas.”

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