Excellence in the Use of IT in Government

The National Library's Te Puna system was carried out most competently, on time and within budget. More importantly, it achieved all the outcomes specified for it by Government.

Despite problems with Incis, government technology intiatives can succeed, which was one of the aims for this category.

The convening judge for the Excellence in the Use of IT in Government category, Andrew Mason, says he found it hard to pick a winner because all three finalists were excellent and in other years, each could have been a winner.

However, the award’s winner was the New Zealand National Library’s Te Puna system.

Te Puna involved replacing systems and software for the New Zealand Bibliographic Network and Kiwi Net database that were up to 15 years old. Y2K issues heightened the need for the scheme, and digitisation programmes also eased access to records and archives.

This project was extremely high-profile, following on from the very public disaster of its predecessor, says Mason.

Te Puna’s overall execution was carried out most competently, on time and within budget. More importantly, it achieved all the outcomes specified for it by Government.

“We were particularly impressed with the overall selection process, and the fact that the National Library made a decision to go for a proven package, but also one that was in the early stages of its life-cycle (not an easy balance to strike).

“The subsequent implementation of the selected package enabled some business process changes to be affected in the National Library,” Mason says.

“We were also impressed with the way in which the National Library developed strong partnerships with its suppliers of software, technology and also project management, which were major factors in ensuring overall success.

“Te Puna is a system of which the National Library can be proud.

“It is now a world leader, with a number of other countries’ national libraries following in its footsteps. Furthermore, the system provides a solid foundation for the development of a number of e-government initiatives,” he says.

The other finalists were:

  • Auckland City Council for a new booking system called Centro, that unites separate council systems and allows departments to share information.
  • Statistics New Zealand’s $24 million IT programme, which replaced computers dating from the 1960s. The six-year project involved eight project groups and 58 interrelated projects. It claimed efficiency savings of $3.2 million by June 1998 and a further $400,000 by this June.

Judges:
    • Revathi Balakrishnan, Consultant, Synergy International
    • Colin Jackson, IT and Contract Specialist, Ministry of Commerce
    • Andrew Mason, Consultant, Expert Knowledge-Based Systems

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