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Investing for New Zealand: Insights from 2015/16

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer

The Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) is the functional leader for government ICT. The GCIO's role is to work with public and private sector organisations to transform government ICT to support better public services for New Zealanders. This includes leading the Government ICT Strategy and driving investment in ICT systems and digital platforms that enable New Zealanders to interact with government anytime, anywhere.

What impact/opportunities does ICT hold for government investment?

ICT is a key enabler for digital government. Citizens expect us to make it easy for them to deal with government, and technology is key to making that happen. There are opportunities to be smart about how we invest in common digital services and ICT platforms and capabilities, to lift the quality of the citizen experience and achieve economies of scale. This approach will free up agency resources to focus on delivering their core services. We have a goal to improve information sharing, which will help agencies be more responsive to the needs of New Zealanders.

Why is ICT important to helping government realise better value from its investments and assets?

ICT underpins everything we do and is a critical catalyst for business transformation. The commercial and technology shared capabilities we've put in place fundamentally change the way government consumes, procures and invests in technology. By making it easier for agencies to buy in the services they need, rather than investing in or building assets, they can be more agile and innovative and focus on really transforming the way they deliver services.

What do you think the GCIO's biggest achievements were from an investment management perspective in the 2015/16 year?

In late 2015, we revised the Government ICT Strategy to be more adaptable, flexible and enduring[10]. It guides our investment priorities in five focus areas and there's an integrated programme of work that supports delivery of the strategy. This is designed to be responsive to new opportunities and initiatives can be re-prioritised quickly to ensure the programme of work continues to represent the best mix of investments to deliver the outcomes of the ICT Strategy.

The GCIO has established a Partnership Framework, which involves 55 senior leaders across 21 agencies working together to drive transformation across the public sector. We're working on a system-wide view of investment in service, technology and information and have a strategic investment group supporting this work. It's a big step forward in terms of collaborative leadership across the system.

Two other significant achievements include developing the Telecommunications as a Service (TaaS) shared capability and establishing government as one customer with global suppliers like Oracle and Microsoft.

TaaS, which we developed in partnership with nine agencies, moves asset ownership and investment risk to vendors and gives government more flexibility and choice. Our software framework agreements with global suppliers give government buying power as one customer and all agencies access to the same terms and conditions.

What do you see as the top challenge for government in successfully managing ICT investments and how will you be addressing this challenge?

One of our top challenges is in achieving outcomes for the whole system when agencies are all at different stages on the journey. Our model is “centrally led, collaboratively delivered” which means we work across agency boundaries to understand the needs and then try to make it easy for agencies to co-design and adopt shared services and engage in specific initiatives when they're ready.

We've had excellent support through the Partnership Framework for driving a common set of priorities, and widespread input into the Government ICT Strategy. Continued collaboration is key.

What are your teams' key focus areas for the 2016/17 year?

We have five key focus areas as outlined in the Government's ICT Strategy.

Government ICT Strategy Focus areas

  • Digital Services
  • Information
  • Technology
  • Investment
  • Leadership

First, we are committed to making things easier for individuals and businesses through digital services.

Second, we want government to use information more to inform decisions, drive operational change, shape policy development, and share data more readily across agencies and with the public.

Our third focus area is technology and implementing initiatives which will create the platform for better public services.

Fourth, our investment strategy will focus on ensuring investments are targeted at fewer initiatives with more impact.

Last, our focus in the leadership area will be on building the skills and capability in the information, technology and digital workforce of government.

In addition to these focus areas is system-wide assurance that ICT risks are being identified and well managed by agencies and that benefits of ICT investments are being delivered.

What are the key tools and resources you offer agencies that are undertaking ICT investments? How do agencies access these?

We offer information and advice to agencies on the range of ICT capabilities and services available to them, the supply market, as well as frameworks, guidance and resources to help agencies with assurance, planning and privacy. There's a wealth of information on: www.ict.govt.nz

We're here to help and agencies can talk to our relationship managers and capability managers who can provide more details and point them in the right direction.

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