Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Principles of Engagement on ICT (Australia)

Kevin Noonan, Research Director, Ovum

AUSTRALIA: The Principles document is a good start. It has defined some lofty objectives for the future, however it is at best the first step in a very long journey. In his 2008 review of Federal Government ICT, Sir Peter Gershon found “the government marketplace is neither efficient not effective”. His report noted that 40 percent of surveyed companies “had decided not to participate in the government market”. Clearly, a lot is needed to be done to achieve any lasting change.

The Federal Government has already gone to great effort to achieve agreement between all the major players, about the content of the document. This is to be commended because without some basic agreement, no lasting change could be achieved.

The Principles document has no force in law, but is instead provide a statement of intention about good corporate citizenship for all players in the government market. There is likely there will be no shortage of vendors willing to sign up to the document, as it contains nothing particularly controversial. As more vendors sign up, the document will have greater moral persuasion. Government agencies are equally covered by the document, and the market will be looking to them for a clear show of support.

The Principles could best be compared to a specification document prepared at the beginning of a major project. The big test is what happens next. We now all agree what nirvana will look like. The big challenge will be getting there.

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