by Byron Connolly

QLD government to roll out Office 365

Apr 10, 20143 mins
Cloud ComputingGovernment

The Queensland government is rolling out Microsoft Office 365 to 149,000 staff across its agencies in a deal that is expected to reduce its IT costs by $13.7 million over the next three years.

The government agencies will deploy Office 365 for messaging and email, as well as the enterprise social network Yammer. Productivity applications such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel are also part of the basic package.

The total cost for the roll out is $26.5 million over the next three years compared to just over $40 million if the new agreement was not in place, Queensland’s minister for science, information technology, innovation and the arts, Ian Walker told CIO.

All agencies will deploy the subscription based service apart from the Queensland Department of Education Training and Employment, which already has a specific Microsoft contract. Statutory authorities and other agencies can purchase what they need under the new agreement.

Minister Walker said the roll out was a significant step forward in the state government’s plan to modernise its ICT environment and move towards providing IT as a service.

He said agencies have been using multiple versions of Microsoft Office software and one of the key benefits of this deal is it provides a uniform set of products across government.

“It sees us move from a government owned and operated model to one that leverages world class solutions to deliver flexibility and economies of scale that drive innovation and transformation.”

The roll out is part of the Queensland ICT Strategy 2013-2017, a blueprint to improve services across the state through better use and analysis of government data, and by using modern, cost-efficient technology.

This is not the first project under the new plan. Minister Walker said his department – the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts – has been piloting a cloud-based email service for 300 staff.

“We will finalise the whole of the department now this proposal has been put in place. There are a number of projects around government that are already heading in this direction. What this does is provide infrastructure that is necessary for each department to move in an uninhibited way to IT-as-a-service in accordance with the business needs of those departments,” he said.

Minster Walker said processes had been put in place to ensure there’s no repeat of Queensland Health’s payroll disaster, which is expected to cost the state $1.2 billion over eight years.

“All of our major projects from now go through the Director’s General Counsel, where all the directors-general have vision of the project so that nobody can move out of step without knowing what other departments are doing,” he said.

“Any project of consequence now needs sign off not only from the sponsoring minister but also from me as IT minister. Thirdly, there is a system of gateways in place that are monitored by the Director’s General Counsel to make sure things are on track. Fourthly, we now have an IT dashboard published online which shows the current status of IT projects.”

Read: Qld Health aftermath: Govt still seeking to redress overpayments Read: Queensland government unveils ICT ‘action plan’