When it comes to technology in government, Michael Turner, like most public service IT professionals, likes to keep his eye on the future.
“I focus on the new technology that’s coming into play,” said Turner, assistant deputy minister of telecommunications and informatics for Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). “I have a small team of people that keep track of future technology and which parts will be of interest and value to government.”
Turner, who has spent 34 years in the public sector, is also responsible for ensuring that the architecture behind some of the federal government’s largest projects is established and maintained. In his current position, he oversees three main data centres in Ottawa along with smaller centres in other locations, provides support to his operations branch and is involved in implementing and managing the common infrastructure services for all of government as part of the Government On-line (GOL) initiative. He also provides support services that reach out to 11,000 government IT professionals across the country.
“Every organization, agency or department of the federal government gets support services of some kind from the PWGSC,” he said.
Turner is also involved in building Canada’s Secure Channel, which will allow citizens and businesses to conduct online transactions with the federal government in a safe environment.
As for the future, the federal government is considering secure wireless LAN services – provided they have the same level of security as wired services.
“I believe in being service-oriented,” Turner said. “We are really on the leading edge in the world in terms of some of the services we’re developing and the capabilities we’re putting forward in this country.”