In a bid to shed the costly, inefficient burden of its ICT infrastructure, the Government of Western Australia has placed its consolidation plans in the hands of three cloud providers: Datacom, NEC and Atos.

None is better than one

In January, the regional government signed a single contract with three vendors, under which the companies will compete with one another in selling their services, in order to keep costs and delays to a minimum.

The program, GovNext-ICT, will see the services currently running from the state’s 50 data centers gradually transitioned to externally managed private cloud platforms. It is hoped that the initiative will save the state between AU$60m and $80m (US$45m-60m) a year.

Speaking at CeBIT Australia yesterday, Andrew Cann, CTO at the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) in Western Australia, explained that he expects the cloud vendors to take charge of the shift.

“We told them we don’t want them to be passive in this, we want them to be actively going into government and dragging them forward and tell us when they’re not being compliant.

“We go through those vendors and they find the right deal for us. We don’t care how it gets to us, as long as it gets to us and it’s unified.”

The purge

According to Cann, the state’s excess IT infrastructure is a result of having purchased more than was needed in the first place.

However, the state’s internal efforts could be driven forward by the change of state government which took place in March and will be cutting the number of departments in Western Australia from 41 to 25.

Rather than migrate duplicate systems of soon-to-be-merged agencies, the GCIO has recommended that the best systems are chosen before they are transitioned onto the cloud.

The consolidation of state and national government data centers is not just an Australian practise. United States and Canada have similar programs underway, although, as is often the case with bureaucratic institutions, progress sometimes proves to be slow and tedious