A dashboard created by VicRoads to improve ICT project governance and reporting to its board has garnered interest from other government agencies across Victoria as they look to improve on a poor track record of performance.
Created just a few months ago, the dashboard is providing VicRoads’ ‘information access and technology committee’ with a 360-degree view of the status of technology projects across the entire agency.
Victoria’s recent history of ICT project delivery has come under scrutiny. A report released last April by the state’s auditor-general, John Doyle, found that around 35 per cent of the 1,249 ICT projects active across the state government since 2011 had gone over budget and a third weren’t completed.
Last year, VicRoads cancelled its long-standing registration and licensing project, writing off $100 million that was spent on the deployment.
In his report, Doyle said that many agencies had difficulty in providing basic information, which had raised concerns about the level of scrutiny applied to the status and performance of ICT projects.
“This lack of accountability is serious and needs to be addressed urgently,” Doyle said at the time.
Speaking to CIO Australia, Dale Andrea, CIO at VicRoads, said the dashboard gives the organisation a clear understanding of the performance, risks, application availability, and investment required to achieve benchmarks over the longer term for around 23 active IT projects.
A key project is the building of a Transport Analytics Platform, which will integrate multiple datasets from internal and external sources, and use open government data to support decision making across the department.
This information will be used to support more integrated and predictable journeys, improved safety and environmental outcomes, and strengthen the economy through effective use and management of the road network, Andrea said.
Andrea said the dashboard promotes effective engagement of business executives who need to be across information rapidly, including the governance issues that they need to attend to at any particular time.
The dashboard is cut into six sections: ICT strategy and investment, ICT services, information services, ICT assurance, and a transport and technologies section unique to VicRoads which looks at intelligence transport systems and availability, roadmaps, and other technologies that supports its network.
“It’s not a fully automated dashboard at this stage – there are elements of it that are but we certainly are using EPMO (enterprise project management office) tool at the moment to populate the project delivery element of that reporting,” he said.
“As part of the dashboard, there’s a call to action for the committee to respond to in terms of the governance that they provide. They can see all of the trending measures across the different sections but we call out the actions that they are required to have a look at.”
Andrea presented the dashboard to the CIO leadership group of the Victorian government and said it was positively received by other agencies that expressed interest in using it.
“We want to drive collaboration across all of the departments [across the Victorian government].
“For us, this is about driving great communications to our executive and I think we’ve been successful in doing that. It’s also about sharing and seeing how agencies can take advantage of the work that we are all doing,” he said.
The Victorian government’s Department of Premier and Cabinet is also building an IT dashboard for the public to view the status of technology programs. Andrea said he expected an initial launch of this dashboard to take place by July.
Last year’s Doyle audit report found that the former Department of State Development, Business and Innovation’s ICT project status dashboard, published in 2014, failed to deliver sufficient and transparency because it only included minimal high level information for six high value, high risk ICT projects.
But the new dashboard will provide a lot of transparency around major IT projects that are being delivered by the Victorian government and VicRoads will be a part of that, said Andrea.
Andrea was adamant that despite budget and time blowouts in many IT projects across various state governments, new dashboards are less about cutting costs and more about providing transparency.
He said that a lack of clarity around IT projects creates risk.
“So from the project delivery side, it’s really around reducing risk and making sure we are attending to the issues of concern early and we are realising the benefits from those projects.
“Governance is a key factor. We are not just trying to improve reporting, we are trying to improve the knowledge and the capabilities of all our all of our governance groups," he said.
Follow Byron Connolly on Twitter:@ByronConnolly