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Gartner: Low-Hanging Fruit Largely Plucked

Gartner: Low-Hanging Fruit Largely Plucked

Gartner vice-president Asia Pacific Richard Harris says the government’s review of ICT managemen should focus on mid-sized agencies

Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner has announced a major government review of ICT management

As the government commences its review of ICT management, Gartner Group is warning it is likely to find there's little "low-hanging fruit" left to pluck in large government agencies.

Gartner vice-president Asia Pacific Richard Harris says he welcomes the review, but suspects most of the focus should be on mid-sized agencies, where scope for consolidation still exists. But he says achieving worthwhile savings is likely to demand a lot of work.

Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner has announced a major government review of ICT management, which includes approximately $10 billion in ICT assets and spending of around $6 billion per annum. It is to be headed by Sir Peter Gershon, former chief executive of the UK Treasury's Office of Government Commerce and chairman of several companies. His procurement reviews for the Blair government in 1999 and 2004 — the latter described by the BBC as "a modern bureaucrat's Domesday Book which identified 21 billion pounds in savings" — laid the foundations for the UK government's procurement reforms, including ICT.

The savings were to come from job cuts and greater efficiency, and included a recommendation to cut at least 80,000 civil service jobs. Sir Peter identified certain functions as offering good opportunities for savings through the use of ICT, including tax collection and benefits payments, and advocated aggregating and reorganizing other functions to achieve savings in procurement, buildings and facilities.

However, Sir Peter recognized that not all government functions presented such clear opportunities and accepted that those with a large proportion of physical assets or customer-facing staff faced great challenges to achieve savings if they were not to hurt customer service.

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