Rob Sussman, Joint CEO, Integr8 Group
IT Web: In Government
25 March 2010
For far too long the South African government has been exposed to poor service delivery from a handful of well-aligned partners, at largely inflated project costs. Naturally, there is much room for new entries into this space and companies with proven credibility in the private sector and high delivery expectation at competitive costs are perfectly positioned.
Barack Obama was quoted as saying: “What Washington needs is adult supervision.” I think the act of criticising government comes as naturally as breathing, and South Africans are no different. The ongoing saga around inappropriate government spending aside, I think the South African government has faced some unique challenges.
First, because we have been fighting a ticking time bomb with the World Cup preparations, much of our ICT infrastructure decisions of late were done without any meaningful road mapping and integrated departmental planning.
Second, the government is currently facing a huge procurement problem. The State IT Agency (SITA) remains fraught with internal battles and, as a result, government has struggled to increase its pool of accredited suppliers.
Third, the uncertain global financial markets have placed a substantial burden on our state departments, many of which have had their budgets slashed for the year ahead. Looking to your ICT systems to deliver improved efficiencies can only work if you have access to the right technologies – and these come at a price.
That said, we should not sit back and feel sorry for our leaders. I believe Paul Vecchiatto’s report on the budget drama in Parliament last week highlighted the fact that party politics are guilty of creating unnecessary speed bumps in the road to delivery.
In short, the South African government should be doing three things: conducting proper long-term, strategic planning, including technical road mapping, at national level; kick-starting SITA and helping it deliver on its mandate – especially by expanding its pool of accredited service providers; and aggressively embracing technologies such as SaaS and cloud computing to gain improved functionality and cut costs.
Most importantly, public sector IT is not that different from private sector IT. You can’t do everything yourself. The trick is finding partners that are used to delivering on a large scale and to the exacting standards that should be a given for any government implementation
For far too long the South African government has been exposed to poor service delivery from a handful of well-aligned partners, at largely inflated project costs. Naturally, there is much room for new entries into this space and companies with proven credibility in the private sector and high delivery expectation at competitive costs are perfectly positioned.
Barack Obama was quoted as saying: “What Washington needs is adult supervision.” I think the act of criticising government comes as naturally as breathing, and South Africans are no different. The ongoing saga around inappropriate government spending aside, I think the South African government has faced some unique challenges.
First, because we have been fighting a ticking time bomb with the World Cup preparations, much of our ICT infrastructure decisions of late were done without any meaningful road mapping and integrated departmental planning.
Second, the government is currently facing a huge procurement problem. The State IT Agency (SITA) remains fraught with internal battles and, as a result, government has struggled to increase its pool of accredited suppliers.
Third, the uncertain global financial markets have placed a substantial burden on our state departments, many of which have had their budgets slashed for the year ahead. Looking to your ICT systems to deliver improved efficiencies can only work if you have access to the right technologies – and these come at a price.
That said, we should not sit back and feel sorry for our leaders. I believe Paul Vecchiatto’s report on the budget drama in Parliament last week highlighted the fact that party politics are guilty of creating unnecessary speed bumps in the road to delivery.
In short, the South African government should be doing three things: conducting proper long-term, strategic planning, including technical road mapping, at national level; kick-starting SITA and helping it deliver on its mandate – especially by expanding its pool of accredited service providers; and aggressively embracing technologies such as SaaS and cloud computing to gain improved functionality and cut costs.
Most importantly, public sector IT is not that different from private sector IT. You can’t do everything yourself. The trick is finding partners that are used to delivering on a large scale and to the exacting standards that should be a given for any government implementation
For far too long the South African government has been exposed to poor service delivery from a handful of well-aligned partners, at largely inflated project costs. Naturally, there is much room for new entries into this space and companies with proven credibility in the private sector and high delivery expectation at competitive costs are perfectly positioned.
Barack Obama was quoted as saying: “What Washington needs is adult supervision.” I think the act of criticising government comes as naturally as breathing, and South Africans are no different. The ongoing saga around inappropriate government spending aside, I think the South African government has faced some unique challenges.
First, because we have been fighting a ticking time bomb with the World Cup preparations, much of our ICT infrastructure decisions of late were done without any meaningful road mapping and integrated departmental planning.
Second, the government is currently facing a huge procurement problem. The State IT Agency (SITA) remains fraught with internal battles and, as a result, government has struggled to increase its pool of accredited suppliers.
Third, the uncertain global financial markets have placed a substantial burden on our state departments, many of which have had their budgets slashed for the year ahead. Looking to your ICT systems to deliver improved efficiencies can only work if you have access to the right technologies – and these come at a price.
That said, we should not sit back and feel sorry for our leaders. I believe Paul Vecchiatto’s report on the budget drama in Parliament last week highlighted the fact that party politics are guilty of creating unnecessary speed bumps in the road to delivery.
In short, the South African government should be doing three things: conducting proper long-term, strategic planning, including technical road mapping, at national level; kick-starting SITA and helping it deliver on its mandate – especially by expanding its pool of accredited service providers; and aggressively embracing technologies such as SaaS and cloud computing to gain improved functionality and cut costs.
Most importantly, public sector IT is not that different from private sector IT. You can’t do everything yourself. The trick is finding partners that are used to delivering on a large scale and to the exacting standards that should be a given for any government implementation