South Australia state government CIO Andrew Mills has spoken about the challenges that he has faced in his 30 years in the public sector and provided an insight into the delivery of the state’s IT projects.
In Sydney this week for the CeBIT conference, Mills gave an insight into how his department is making life easier for citizens with the “common site for government project”; a move that has seen hundreds of government Web sites merge into one portal.
“We’re writing information in a way so that people who aren’t in government can understand what they’re seeing,” Mills told CIO.
“It’s quite a different way of delivering government information online. It’s about going from multiple website approach to a single site for government,” he said.
Mills stressed that establishing good priorities has been important to his success in the role of CIO.
“As with any cross government role, it’s about picking the right priorities.”
He also said one of his greatest achievements was the completion of the Future ICT project – a project that resulted in the creation of SA’s new sourcing department. This project allowed Mills to establish a team that he still works with today.
“I saw the program from start to finish and I saw the delivery. That group now works for me so I’ve got a lot of continuity,” he said.
When providing career advice for other CIOs in the public sector, Mills was clear to emphasise that any words of wisdom he had could apply to CIOs across a number of different sectors. He was also quick to point out that the needs of the business should remain a priority.
“Listen to business and meet the business’ needs. Too often ICT gets isolated and it’s about opening up to the business and realising what’s possible and what’s not possible.
“I think the role is changing and is more about looking at the technology side. I think it’s reaching the stage where it has to be business focused.”
Mills described how the cloud is increasingly being used by the SA government. While Mills doesn’t particularly like the term “cloud”, he said cloud storage solutions are starting to have a greater impact on the business models of many government entities.
“We already have a government cloud in some senses,” he said. We only use one mainframe which boarders on infrastructure-as-a-service, we’ve bought our payroll as software-as-a-service for the past seven years, and all of our public sector is on one e-mail system. So in a sense it’s a continuation. I think the business model is changing.”