Australia test drives new outsourcing models

Australia test drives new outsourcing models

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) will introduce "selective IT outsourcing" in coming months and is following the lead taken by government social services agency Centrelink in recent weeks to reject the single service provider model pushed by the Federal Government under its outsourcing program.

The science agency is developing an IT systems architecture roadmap to provide a framework for its outsourcing strategy which will be implemented by the end of this financial year.

CSIRO strategic business advisor John Williams said the government is still moving ahead with its outsourcing push but with a "freer hand" in the wake of the Humphrey Review which favoured outsourcing on a case-by-case basis.

Williams said CSIRO will keep its core business in-house and take a "best of breed" approach to outsourcing.

"The focus is on e-enablement beginning with a comprehensive architecture roadmap; we are using consultants for this process but retaining its delivery in-house so there will be small pockets of selective outsourcing," he said.

"It would be silly to rush off and implement projects without a roadmap, it is simply a matter of prioritising. We want to avoid disasters we have seen in the past with IT outsourcing."

Only last month Centrelink met with IT suppliers to outline its outsourcing model which focused on selective piecemeal arrangements rather than long-term outsourcing contracts.

These moves by Commonwealth agencies mark the end of mammoth long-term outsourcing contracts with single service providers, a model which was strongly opposed by CSIRO staff when plans to outsource the science body's IT infrastructure began in August 2000.

The move led to national strikes by staff and intense lobbying to the then Minister for Finance, John Fahey.

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