The government has made a good start along its ICT roadmap on the technology front, but now needs to turn its attention to business applications, says SAP’s public services vice-president Vivek Puthucode, who is based in Singapore.
Government needs to merge the philosophy that led to the ICT roadmap with the efficiency and productivity-boosting direction of Treasury’s BASS (Benchmarking Administrative and Support Services) exercise. “There doesn’t seem to me to be much co-ordination between the two initiatives,” he says.
Puthucode says there is huge potential for a jump in efficiency. This will come from replacement of ageing back office systems with much more efficient modern-day counterparts.
A burden of responsibility lies on the central agencies, Puthucode says, to show concern at how smaller agencies with less ability to run expensive selection exercises can “gear up” with more efficient and productive systems.
The larger agencies can do the hard work of surveying the market and making appropriate selections, of all-of-government solutions, while bearing in mind the need to adapt these to the smaller agencies’ needs.
Correlating such an initiative with Treasury benchmarks gives a greater impetus to row in with the standard approach, he says.
If you know your agency is below the benchmark there is an initiative to look at more efficient systems.
He mentions financial management information systems and human resources suites as offering particular potential for a “leap-frog” in ICT practice.
Puthucode insists he is not saying this simply because SAP deals in back-office software.
“There is opportunity for the whole industry here to support the New Zealand government without it costing an arm and a leg.”