For embattled outsourcer, it's time to strike

Readers of this magazine don't need convincing about the critical importance of IT in today's business environment.

For many organizations it's central to success.

If IT has a problem, we all have a problem. And that's exactly what is occurring at the Department of Defence.

The debilitating service delivery debacle that is unfolding at Defence has the potential to affect the military organization's operational capability.

That is, if it hasn't already.

Based on internal reports obtained by Computerworld journalist Rodney Gedda, service delivery is in chaos.

The department's outsourcing provider, Kaz cannot keep up with user demands and this is partly due to serious staffing issues.

Gedda's expose paints a sorry picture of poor operational support and harried helpdesk staff trying to keep a lid on escalating demand.

That demand is spiralling out of control. Helpdesk and support volume figures obtained from sources inside the department show a glut of IT support requests.

When Computerworld first reported on the department's outsourcing problems more than six weeks ago, Kaz had undertaken a range of remediation initiatives to rectify these concerns. These remediation efforts have, it seems, failed.

Instead, the entire debacle has grown progressively worse with requests for support taking as long as six weeks.

As is often the case in outsourcing deals, there was an exodus of staff after the deal was inked in 2005.

As part of the changeover process in the five-year, $200 million deal, sources claim staff were re-offered their previous positions at lower rates.

We've all heard these outsourcing tales before with some of the bigger services deals that have been done in Australia over the past decade, and I'm sure we will hear them again.

The rumour mill at Defence is in overdrive and in these highly-charged environments it is often a hotbed of claims and counter claims.

While staff are loudly protesting, denials from management and the service provider are flying thick and fast.

Often the truth is somewhere in between.

But there is no denying there are problems and there is some placating to be done.

For the embattled outsourcer, it's time to strike.

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