A spotlight has been shone on the technology services and costs across the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) courtesy of a recently launched IT service catalogue, which has triggered an overhaul of service delivery and IT spend and sourcing.
Last month, DIAC published a catalogue of every technology service operated and used across the organisation, from communications, applications and the management of critical business applications and IT projects.
Based on ITIL methodologies, the project won best ITIL project of the year at the recent itSMF 2010 awards.
The catalogue includes details of costs, what a service does, and benchmarks, information has forced DIAC to understand every mechanism associated with an IT service, according to first assistant secretary technology services division Peter McKeon.
DIAC has essentially crossed a point of no return for an overhaul of technology service delivery, he said.
“It's far more substantial as a driver of change and quality processes in an IT organisation, for an organisation,” Mr McKeon said. “It's an exposure, it's effectively a commitment of what you're doing and how you do it for the organisation. Once you've started it you can't stop."
“It's the start of a substantial part of the journey from here out. The very first part was getting to the stage where we had enough understanding and confidence in the things we were doing, and knowing what we were doing, to put them out there and say this is what they are.
“Some of the changes already happened, it forces a behaviour in the IT areas that are supporting these things, they're not now hidden, they're actually exposed.”
A major implication is that DIAC has a “granular” view of all IT costs, he said, knowledge that wasn't previously available.
Tracking the IT investment flow will allow DIAC to examine its spending and allocate funding where it is most needed and provides the best return on investment.
“You cannot do anything about the costs of services until you understand what the costs are. As those become known you can have that engagement process with the business to understand 'have we got the priorities right', and 'have we got the right investment in IT happening'.
“We currently support 100 plus systems [applications] in DIAC at the moment... The big advantage for this is we'll know we're investing in the right area, whether we can start investing less in some that are not required or less important.
“I'm not just talking about retiring a system... but have we got the right focus and the right investment in support hours of operation, responsiveness and so on.”
This audit will also be extended to the DIAC technology sourcing strategy and assessing whether in-house resources can provide better service than the technology companies, Mr McKeon said.
“You cannot assess until you understand the cost of the services at a variety of granular levels... Step one is getting that visibility, and once you do it does always tease out question of are there other ways of doing things, other means of procuring things or service providers.
“You should always looking at sourcing strategy and continually reviewing it without staying on one particular philosophy.”
Another implication is that the department can fomulate more meaningful benchmarks, specifically aligned with the needs of service users as opposed to arbitrary definitions of uptime, he said.
"A lot of KPIs, service level agreements are around say how long will it take me to deliver something, how long will it to take for an incident to be solved in a system, what volume can it handle, what are the costs, all those go into the metrics
“You have to go through the work to understand what they currently are, the next phase is working with the business - now we've published these - lets talk about further if they're meeting your needs, and if they have to be changed.
“Because sometimes changing is easy, sometimes changing them is complex, sometimes changing them has substantial cost involved.”