The Department of Defence has defended its outsourcing relationship with Kaz, claiming steps have been taken to clear a backlog of helpdesk requests that escalated during a "demanding period".
The department was responding to an article which appeared in Computerworld online yesterday that exposed serious IT service delivery delays by Kaz, which has a five-year, $200 million outsourcing deal with Defence.
Despite remediation efforts by the outsourcer, Kaz has struggled to stem rising call volumes and a glut of IT support requests as a result of staff shortages.
As a department spokesperson pointed out, the outsourcing arrangement has been in operation for less than 12 months.
The spokesperson attributed the problems to heightened operational tempo, performance impacts due to an SOE rollout and difficulty retaining ICT professionals.
"The challenges faced are not the sole provence of Kaz and can not be reasonably attributed to Kaz' performance," the spokesperson said.
"Performance has improved and we are returning to business as usual.
"Much has been done by the CIO group, Defence agencies, Kaz and other industry partners in addressing the challenges."
While change request backlog data obtained by Computerworld shows upwards of 6000 jobs in the 31-day-plus bracket, Defence said 100,000 calls were received by the helpdesk in May and this was reduced to 60,000 calls in September with a 70 percent resolution rate in the first call.
Data obtained by Computeworld show medium-priority jobs are taking up to six weeks to resolve.
The department also responded to claims that security policies were being breached in a bid to cope with staff shortages.
Sources claim the network operations centre is understaffed by 55 operators.
"The security clearance process takes too long, so uncleared staff are being allowed to man the service desk," the source said.
The Defence spokesperson said Kaz is complying with all Defence security policies, but admitted to a period of limbo.
"There is obviously a period between when staff are hired and when their security clearances are confirmed," the spokesperson said.
"Defence would like to reiterate that Kaz continues to be very professional and cooperative in helping to address current challenges.
"While Kaz provides an integral part of Defence's IT support services, it is not the sole support agency."