New Zealand reveals roadmap for digital government


The Department of Internal Affairs shares blueprint for digital government at the flagship FST Government New Zealand conference held in Wellington on 2nd August.

The New Zealand government is fine-tuning its roadmap for digital services under a comprehensive future strategy unveiled by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) in Wellington.

This strategy was shared during a keynote by Russell Cooke, the DIA’s acting Chief Technology Officer. He said the building blocks for digital government are simple by design, open and shared, and centrally coordinated.

An open ecosystem is “where we want to get to.” This ecosystem places the customer experience at its core, and balances expectations around privacy, trust and security. “This means that we need to have strong confidence and assurance that all parties in the service chain can deliver to government outcomes.”


Targeting $100 million in savings

On the ICT integration front, system effectiveness and efficiency is taking centre stage. The administration is targeting NZ $100 million in savings over five years consolidating dispersed platforms. “This is about transforming the way agencies buy, access and use ICT services.”

At present, 120+ agencies use common capabilities because this “makes good business sense.” Moreover, 59 agencies have signed up for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). To date, IaaS has delivered savings of up to NZ $13.7 million.

Telecommunications-as-a-service (TaaS) is gaining momentum. Up to 16 agencies have signed up for TaaS, while delivering savings of between NZ $20-$30 million in the first two years.

The administration is building its data investment framework. The focus is to connect information silos, and make data more readily available. “Know it’s there, know who to talk to, and authorise access.”

Not one monolithic system

The broader strategy is not about implementing one monolithic system used by all agencies. “This is about enabling us to join up services to customers in a safe and seamless way, and to foster innovation where it matters, not simply to deliver and operate it all from the centre.”

For a work program to succeed, stakeholders need to work together: “Because you will have the answers that we don’t have. In fact, we might not even know the questions to ask yet.”


Heroes don’t solve problems

In an open environment, organisations should not be “looking for heroes to solve complex problems.” Rather, the broader partnerships galvanise wide-ranging expertise and perspectives.

This involves collaboration across traditional boundaries, while empowering staff to think and work differently.

“Creating a coherent ICT ecosystem that supports a radically transformed public service is a big job,” added Cooke. “You can see here that we don’t prescribe what the radically transformed public service is.

“Our job is to make better public service outcomes achievable by putting in place an ICT ecosystem that gives the overall system effective digital services, appropriate and timely shared information, innovative technology platforms, investment guidance and digital leadership skills to deliver services in the best way.”

A successful digital ecosystem is guided by core principles, among these, connected information, consolidated platforms, enabled business processes, and building the people capability.


Galvanising decision-makers

The DIA’s partnership framework galvanise senior leaders, empowers teams and transitions from a “hero to host” mentality. This alliance has brought together 55 senior leaders from 21 frontline agencies. These stakeholders are driving system transformation, and also carry oversight of the ICT strategy.

“It’s about working differently to transcend agency boundaries,” noted Cooke. The future is led by smarter customer-centred services, building a more coherent ICT eco-system, and radically transforming public services.

Not tied to a desk

In future, staff will work differently. They are no longer tied to a desk in an agency, but are part of multi-disciplinary project teams. These teams are either co-located or virtual groups that work across different locations, including home.

Common capabilities mean that agencies can focus on their business requirements and not on the underlying infrastructure.

“The next generation of common capabilities will most likely come from the marketplace,” added Cooke. “This doesn’t mean that current capabilities will disappear. It just means that agencies will be working more closely with the supplier community to develop new ones.


Cloud marketplace

An established cloud marketplace enables agencies to adopt and transition to public cloud services. This access is available in a trusted, easy and secure way. This marketplace takes co-designed, agile and flexible approach to accelerate services. Key design principles enable agencies to consume services in an effortless, secure and efficient way.

“We are currently working with a Cloud Co-Design Group of ten agencies including Callaghan Innovation, EECA, ACC, LINZ and MBIE. Governance is being provided by the ICT Strategic Leadership Group within the Partnership Framework.”