A three-year period of uncertainty for Victorian shared ICT agency Cenitex between 2011 and 2014 prevented it to make future plans, resulting in no investment in technology during the period.
At the time the government was eyeing the privatisation of the agency, with little investment in ICT updates at Cenitex as a consequence.
According to a new Victorian Auditor-General's Office report, Cenitex: Meeting Customer Needs for ICT Shared Services, released today, this lack of investment in technology had an impact on service delivery and workforce productivity.
“After the government removed the mandate from departments and agencies to use Cenitex in 2015, it became especially important to be cost-competitive and focus on customer needs and expectations to remain competitive with the private sector,” the report states.
The report says that Cenitex has changed and started to upgrade its old technologies, increase service automation, redesign its structure and business processes, and improve the skills and capability of its staff.
Cenitex addressed some of the issues by unbundling previously packaged ICT services, which enables customers to have more flexible arrangements with it.
It embarked on an organisational restructure in 2016 to transform Cenitex into a more customer‐focused organisation and benchmarked its service level targets in 2018 against a peer group comprising five Australian ICT shared service organisations.
It has also invested around $25.1 million over 2017–18 and 2018–19 in Program Fortify to upgrade core technologies and improve service delivery through increased automation and an uplift in staff capability.
Program Fortify was approved in March 2018 and in April 2019 Cenitex and VMware released details of the work on the program, with Cenitex saying it expected it to be completed by the end of the year.
The $30 million program was initially valued at $17.3 million, with Cenitex later adding $7.8 million in costs to the program as it had previously not included internal staffing costs. The value has since been updated to $30 million.
Cenitex expects that Program Fortify will deliver new technologies as well as increase service automation that will improve its service reliability and responsiveness to customer needs.
"However, the absence of a benefits management plan means Cenitex has no objective baseline from which to gauge the extent of improvement achieved from Program Fortify," the audit report states.
In January, Cenitex CEO of seven years Michael Vanderheide decided to leave the organisation.
Vanderheide said at the time that although the organisation’s board had sought to have him continue in the CEO role following his contact expiring at the end of the current financial year, he had decided that it was in both his interests and Cenitex’s for “someone new to take the reins”.
In July, former Australian Taxation Office chief financial officer Frances Cawthra was appointed Cenitex CEO.