Opponents of shared IT services in government have a new case study they can point to, and NetApp's busy executives have another tricky item to consider after a major Australian shared services organisation failed. That agency is CenITex, created in 2008 by the government of Australian state Victoria. CenITex's original vision …
Since the staff employed for the "centre of excellence" were already working for other projects, does this mean that the whole scheme delivered nothing significant? except for sending large amounts of cash offshore, of course.
CenITex's problems mainly political...
CenITex's main problem was the lack of any whole of government IT oversight; each department thought it was 'special', especially the larger departments, and demanded (and got) custom IT services. Even now, after five years, I believe the majority of CenITex managed users aren't on a services catalogue but get bespoke services.
With no power to enforce standard offerings, everything having to proceed by consensus, no money, legacy gear and most of the senior contract staff being kicked out, it's not surprising they weren't able to execute.
Meanwhile a bunch of cloud vendors are showing that 'shared services' work fine thank you... but then they don't create special SOEs and special networks with special storage and special security and then try to sell it as a 'shared service'.
So as usual, a political problem where the blame gets sheeted home to the techies...
Re: CenITex's problems mainly political...
Political - and for anyone who has ever worked in a government IT department, bureaucratic. That assumption that they were so special and different to every other organisation meant that each project was bloated full of analysis and verification by the wrong people - ie, the bureaucrats.
Having worked as a sub-contractor on a number of government projects including at Cenitex (A.K.A. the CENtre for IT EXcrement) it became clear that the core of the problem was with the culture. The "get it done" attitude that drives most IT organisations and individuals didn't seem to exist there. People seemed more concerned with making sure their contract was extended or getting their mates in on a rate that didn't come close to matching their value - or their skill set.
Not everyone was like that of course, but enough people in positions of power were, which made it a foregone conclusion that its dismemberment and dismantling would be the outcome.
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