Victorian ombudsman fires an ICT distress flare
Cloud computing is maturing to the point where it now offers an increasingly viable alternative to traditional ICT project approaches for infrastructure and applications. Leadership is now required to see that cloud computing is all about making practical tradeoffs between the benefits and risks of, on the one hand, innovative new ICT sourcing models and, on the other, well known - but failing - traditional models.
Some Victorian departments already have hands-on experience with the use of public cloud computing services, for example, which have proven to be highly effective as a better, faster and less expensive alternative to more traditional ICT project approaches.
Using a service which is already operational and which iteratively evolves is a much less risky way to meet many business needs than trying to build or customise and support an in-house system. Such innovative approaches, however, require a new mindset and new skills on the part of both agency executives and ICT professionals.
An important element of looking to the future is to develop the capacity of department and agency executives to see beyond the current problems, and to appreciate the opportunities and possibilities for more innovative approaches to meeting business needs.
As the proverb goes, when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail. The Ombudsman’s report has highlighted that the hammer of major ICT-enabled projects is failing. While the faulty hammer needs to be mended we also need to accept that there are many alternative ways to meet business needs that don’t necessarily require the hammer at all. – Dr Steve Hodgkinson, Ovum
This opinion piece originally appeared in the February/March 2012 issue of Government Technology Review.
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