The Victorian government has allocated $6 million of its 2014-15 budget to outsourcing ICT infrastructure and services provided by CenITex.
The Coalition government last year called for expressions of interest from the private sector for storage, processing, network management, service desk and desktop and end user services. The services had before been provided directly through government-owned CenITex, which the government is transitioning into a broker of services.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to transforming the ICT services that underpin the State Government and this funding will continue the procurement of outsourced ICT services,” Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said in a statement on the budget.
In addition, the Victorian Government revealed in its budget today that it plans to spend $7.8 million in 2014-15 on a $40 million rollout of free Wi-Fi for its V/Line trains and a program to eliminate mobile black spots in regional area of the state.
The government has also set aside $3.5 million this financial year for VicConnect, a project that will overhaul ICT procurement in the state. The Victorian government plans to spend $9.5 million over four years to build the new marketplace.
“The funding for VicConnect project will create a Government cloud – a secure private data network – and Government ICT marketplace for the existing Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy,” according to the budget.
The Victorian government has allocated an additional $1.1 million for a range of “innovation initiatives” which will fund prizes and fellowships for science and innovation research.
Changes for CenITex
Rich-Phillips said the government has had productive talks with ICT vendors and CenITex’s government customers.
“The collaborative dialogue has provided useful information that will inform the approach to market that should be taken for the services provided by CenITex. As intended, the feedback will inform better ways to structure the Request for Proposal (RFP) that is released into the market as part of the procurement process,” he said.
“The RFP for the outsourced services is now being refined and is expected to be issued to industry later in 2014.”
Rich-Philllips said responsibility for the next stage of the procurement of outsourced services is being moved to the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation.
“The transition will provide access to this procurement and other ICT market and project management expertise and will continue to ensure the outsourcing project will be closely coordinated with, and meet the ICT service and transformation needs of, Victorian Government departments,” he said.
A CenITex presentation that surfaced online last year explained that the agency’s current operating model was under pressure from supply side forces such as new capabilities around cloud, and demand side forces such as utility ICT models that challenge the agency’s cost structures.
Budgetary constraints and pricing and cost transparency problems had also caused problems.
In 2012, CenITex was the subject of the Victorian Ombudsman’s report after the ombudsman heard allegations of improper conduct. Following the investigation, CenITex closed its Efficient Technology Services (ETS) division and cut 200 staff.
Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam
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