If all levels of Australian government and the private sector are to succeed in the next phase of e-business, they had better be prepared to dig deep or even scrap existing projects and start again from scratch. At least this is the message research company Gartner is taking to its E-Business: Reality Bytes, conference which kicks off in Sydney tomorrow [Tuesday].
John Roberts, Gartner's research director, claims the government is going to have to adopt a standards approach and invest heavily in infrastructure to present a "single face" to the Australian public and businesses if it is to transform into a true "e-government".
"The Australian [Federal] Government has a tough task ahead of them before they can even consider transforming into an e-government, and that involves establishing a single face of government that Australian citizens can see," said Roberts.
"The government has to link an integrated and seamless environment across all sectors including local, state and federal agencies. Will this happen? I don't think so," he added. "The complexities and politics of transforming the three levels of the Australian governments into an e-government will deter from a successful e-strategy for a long time. Australia can not afford the continual duplication of effort across multiple layers of government."
Dubbed the "transformation" phase, Gartner predicts government and corporate bodies will have to re-engineer business processes in order to maximise these economic gains. But this will come at a cost.
Roberts also slammed the Federal Government's recent 2001-2002 Budget, claiming that the IT spend pales in comparison to some of Australia's closest neighbours.
"Singapore announced a (AUS)$1.5 billion spend to transform its government over the next three years. Times that by about six for the size of Australia, and correct me if I'm wrong but I didn't see $9 billion announced in [Australia's] Budget," he said.
This investment was separate from a further $1 billion spend by Singapore to encourage high-tech industries, Roberts added.
However, Roberts did commend some of the e-business initiatives undertaken by the Government, and from a global perspective, he believes Australia is comparable to many of the leading technology savvy nations.
Gartner's E-Business: Reality Bytes, conference will cover a number of e-business topics including application development, supply chain collaboration, ERP and security.