The role of shared services can often be broken into two layers. The first is the infrastructure layer — the data centres, networks and desktop infrastructure, and some of the more basic generic services. The second is the complex applications that run across the first layer — services such as human resources, payroll, and some financial activities such as fleet management. Different governments have taken different approaches.
The deployment of shared services has something of a mixed history in public sector organisations in Australia. The notion of pooling IT services from multiple government departments and agencies into a single operation appears to hold great benefits, from both a cost and service delivery perspective. But history has shown that such efforts can quickly be derailed by the complexity of the tasks they are trying to consolidate — especially when the motivation for consolidation slides too far towards cost recovery as opposed to providing excellent service to the agencies involved.
Communities NSW CIO, David Kennedy, said he supports the data centre reform project and can see the value of data centre consolidation and rationalisation leading to improved capability and value for money.
After years of planning, and months of supplier selection, the NSW government Department of Services, Technology and Administration (DSTA) has called for proposals for its data centre reform program, which will consolidate some 100 disparate facilities into two. The five shortlisted suppliers had until the end of January to put forward their ideas and capabilities for the shared data centres — either existing or purpose-built facilities — for government agencies across the state.