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Monday, 15 October 2012 14:57

New IT strategy “chance for Victoria to be IT governance leader”


IT governance consultant Mark Toomey has issued a detailed critique of the Victorian Government Technology Advisory Committee’s draft IT Strategy for the state, released two weeks ago.

The committee was established following damning reports on the effectiveness of the state government’s IT projects from the state's Auditor General and Ombudsman. Toomey urges a more advanced perspective on business leadership and governance of IT, commensurate with the guidance provided in the ISO 38500 international standard for the Corporate Governance of Information Technology, which is referenced in the report.

The standard is based largely on the Standards Australia AS 8015 standard, which Toomey partially wrote (though he doesn’t mention that). Toomey says there is an opportunity for the Victorian IT industry to become a global centre of excellence in adoption and use of ISO 38500. “The standard complements, rather than replaces accepted and widely used management frameworks such as COBIT, ITIL and the various UK Office of Government Computing project management tools including Gateway, MSP and Prince2,” says Toomey.

“The IT Strategy document presents a useful start to a process of renewal in Victorian Government use of IT,” he says, ”but it is only a start. It needs to be reinforced and improves in several important areas, beginning with the government’s philosophy of IT use.

“Government and industry should recognise that IT is no longer merely a tool for automation. Rather, it is a fundamental business resource, used not just by individual organisations, but also used independently by other organisations and individuals within the overall ecosystem."

The behatted Toomey, through his consultancy Infonomics, has become Australia’s leading authority on IT governance. “Better government services cannot be delivered merely through information and technology: these are passive elements,” he says.

“What is required for better government services is the effective use of IT/ This requires which requires a strategic intent for services and service delivery that is informed by an understanding of what is, and what will be possible through the use of IT.”

Central to Toomey’s critique of the government’s draft IT strategy is his identification of the opportunity it provides for Victoria to “become a destination for the world’s government and business leaders who want to know how to be successful with IT.

“Melbourne is already a global centre for expertise in IT governance, but the growth of this expertise is hampered by lack of funding and engagement. With funding, and appropriate government engagement, this expertise could gain far more prominence.”

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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