Computerworld Top 10 Most Influential 2009 — #7 Gershon

The countdown to the most influential of 2009 continues with our 7th place getter — Gershon

Computerworld's Top 10 Most Influential for 2009 continues with our 7th place: Gershon.

As the year draws to a close, it is time to recognise the people, products, organisations, trends and events that have had the greatest influence on the ICT industry and community. We have therefore launched the inaugural Computerworld Top 10 Most Influential.

Earlier this week Computerworld began counting down to the winner with one article each day from 10th place to number one.

We started on Monday with #10 — CSIRO's wireless patent win

We took a look at #9 Virtualisation and #8 Netbooks.

Once we reach #1 in two week’s time, it will be over to you for the readers' choice award. If you don't agree with the panel of 12 (see below) you can still have your say on the most influential person, product, organisation, trend or event for 2009.

We’ll publish the results on the website and in the February/March issue of Computerworld magazine.

Today is our number #7 — Gershon.

#7 Gershon

In October 2008, Sir Peter Gershon handed a report on the Federal Government's use and management of ICT to the Minister of Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner.

Tanner and his so-called razor gang had requested the report be done earlier in April that year with a view to finding out ways the Government could cut costs.

Gershon was the right man for the job, having completed a similar exercise for the UK government.

He didn't hold back in his final writeup; rather he slammed the Federal Government for its use of ICT, saying it was “neither efficient nor effective”.

“The current model of very high levels of agency autonomy, including the ability to self-approve opt-ins to whole-of-government approaches in the ICT domain, leads to sub-optimal outcomes in the context of prevailing external trends, financial returns, and the aims and objectives of the current Government,” he wrote.

It is worth pointing out that the government sector — with the Federal agencies at the forefront — represent the second biggest market spender on ICT in the country, behind financial services and insurance. And since Gershon submitted his report the market has undergone a massive transformation around the following recommendations:

  • Strengthen pan-government governance
  • Strengthen agency governance
  • Tighten the management of ICT business as usual funding
  • Enhance the management of the public service ICT skills base, including reducing the number of contractors by 50 per cent
  • Develop a whole-of-government data centre strategy
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ICT marketplace
  • Improve the sustainability of ICT use
  • The first recommendation involved, among other things, the setting up of the Secretaries' ICT Governance Board (SIGB), which became operational in 2009 to oversee the rollout of Gershon changes along with the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO).

    Those changes, which some argue started in some agencies prior to Gershon's findings, quickly gathered pace in 2009 and saw significant adjustments to procurement practices, the data centre strategy and the use of ICT contractors.

    Early in the year the Government signed a Volume Sourcing Arrangement (VSA) with Microsoft in a move that AGIMO claimed will provide average savings of $15 million a year over four years.

    Later in the year it announced it will create whole-of-government purchasing panels and contracts for desktops and telecommunications equipment and services.

    Tanner also announced a panel of data centre providers to service Federal Government agencies while they develop the whole-of-government strategies. Polaris Data Centres, Canberra Data Centres, Fujitsu, Global Switch Property and Harbour MSP were selected.

    And in October, Computerworld reported that Federal Government agencies are likely to adopt a self-assessment tool created by the UK Office of Government Commerce to evaluate their ICT capabilities as part of Gershon Review changes.

    In short, the second biggest market in the country for ICT, which is driven by the spending of public money, was undergoing the most wide-sweeping changes it had experienced in recent history.

    In August it was announced the Business As Usual (BAU) changes had created $109 million of savings in the 2009/10 financial year. Half of that figure —$54.6 million — was to be immediately available for reinvestment by Federal agencies.

    More recently the Tanner claimed the agency efforts to improve their use of ICT as part of Gershon Review changes will result in savings of more than $1 billion over the next four years.

    In a statement, Tanner said the second round of the business as usual budget reduction program had been completed with "savings of close to $430 million identified between 2010-11 and 2012-13".

    For many, the influence the changes had on companies doing business with Federal agencies, the slashing of 50 per cent of contractors, the data centre switch, and the saving of public money is enough to give Gershon a position on any top story list for 2009.

    Yet, the Gershon impact is ongoing and has spread outside the Federal space. Several state governments have noted the Gershon approach in outlining their own strategic thinking on ICT, Queensland in particular. Even the Department of Defence, which outlined a new strategy for ICT in November that had, admittedly been under consideration for some time, used the Gershon template and terminology.

    The name may not be immediately familiar to many on the street, but due to both its tangible impact in the Federal Government and its conceptual influence, the Computerworld Top 10 Most Influential for 2009 panel gave Gershon the 7th place.

    More stories on Gershon Tanner: Gershon savings to hit $1 billion in 4 years

    Federal Government agencies to adopt UK ICT self-assesment tool

    Tanner rules out super datacentre, sole supplier

    BOM tracking ahead on Gershon

    Tanner kicks off new ICT purchasing panels

    Tanner picks data centre panel for Gershon review changes

    Govt ICT ramps up change post Gershon: federal CIO

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