2 years ago

Service - Leadership in Government - Issue 75

  • Text
  • Government
  • Leadership
  • Urban
  • Leaders
  • Pandemic
  • Transition
  • Digital
  • Infrastructure
  • African
  • Economic
  • Global
  • Cities

S technology

S technology Supplier-driven. Suppliers chosen by the government work directly with individual departments to bring them on board and provide transition support when required. There is no government mandate; rather, price competitiveness and suppliers’ ability to significantly lower costs motivate departments to make the switch. For this to work well, the central agency designates a few suppliers per service tower. 3 The agency balances the risk of limited suppliers by allowing each to achieve threshold scale and lower costs. This model is easier to implement. Suppliers bear most of the implementation risk. CYBER CIRCLE: It’s impossible to completely eradicate cyber risk or the potential consequential damage to reputation resulting from a cyber incident. The risk is pervasive. But resilience is possible for organisations that contemplate a circular approach, which Aon terms The Cyber Loop. Department-driven. This transition is often the least effective. After a cross-government entity chooses a panel of suppliers to deliver IT services, each department chooses the suppliers and services that best fit its needs. The primary goals for departments are simple – lower overall costs or new capabilities. Although the agency-driven transition often proves most effective, it may not have the authority to require departments to get on board. Thus, a supplier-driven transition is easier to implement. However, it can create more complexity because of the large number of suppliers and the absence of a government-wide coordinated approach. 3. Source services by buying market-ready packages and maintaining supply-side competition When sourcing IT infrastructure services, consider the move from two perspectives: the supply side (how the market provides these services) and the demand side (how departments consume the services). Supply. There are three affinities within IT infrastructure services on the supply side. The first centres on processing and storage for hosting services, the second on the end-user, and the third on the network. 4 While hosting services are self-contained, end-user and network services are bought in multiple variants. For example, some elements in the end-user service tower are purchased separately for some users, including desktop offering (with no custom enterprise applications, including all licence costs), email (Google’s enterprise offering), and productivity products (Office 365). Unified communications such as voice-over- Internet-protocol (VoIP) telephony and desktop integration is a specialised service that is bought separately from suppliers with a communications pedigree. Network services have a strong affinity for data carriage and voice services typically bought from telecommunication providers. Some elements of wide-area network services are bought as part of the data carriage, which may include a managed router, network monitoring, and cross-site network service management. The typical objective of sourcing IT infrastructure services is effective service delivery at a reduced cost of ownership. Encouraging supplier competition is one of the best ways to meet this goal. In IT infrastructure procurement, there are two ways to achieve this: standardised services (such as cloud) that have competition builtin or customised services from multiple suppliers. Buying standardised services in the cloud (data as a service, IaaS, PaaS, and to an extent, SaaS) opens numerous options. When demand is strong, suppliers tend to innovate rapidly to compete on pricing or enhanced services, THE CYBER LOOP Organisations enter the loop at different points, then continuously cycle through the loop to obtain better outcomes. THE INSTITUTE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS SOUTH AFRICA (IITPSA) Thabo Mashegoane, President and Board Chairperson, IITPSA IITPSA President Thabo Mashegoane recently highlighted the need for the development of ICT professionals and an ICT skills pipeline for the country, as well as to extend digital access to all sectors of society. “ICT access is becoming a human right, and without it, millions of people cannot access education, jobs, vital information and services,” says Mashegoane. “As ICT professionals, we cannot simply be torch-bearers for ICT – we need to assume greater responsibility for helping build this critical infrastructure. We need to ensure equitable access for everyone.” Mashegoane called for industry to advocate for policy that favours the majority. “ICT needs to be talking to the government and forming partnerships across policy formulation and implementation. We need to be working together to create digital education platforms that are free or low cost, coordinated and transparent. “The foundation for skilled or employable youth is access to training and education, so we have to create policies that give all young people equal access,” he says. “We cannot simply be torch-bearers for ICT.” – Mashegoane 24 | Service magazine

technology S 4 both of which benefit customers. There is low entrenchment, so switching suppliers is easier. Comparability leads to better benchmarking and automatic price adjustment in the market. Custom requirements will not be met in many cases, which could push costs into more expensive areas of the stack to achieve application remediation. For non-standard services, where much of the legacy platform would be, competitiveness is best encouraged through multiple suppliers in each service tower. Benchmarking is used to manage supplier performance, but effectiveness is limited by comparability issues in the customer service offering. Obtaining services from multiple suppliers should be done with care as it could lead to lingering problems such as poor service delivery due to lack of coordination, higher integration, governance and operational costs. Demand. On the demand side, the prices for IT infrastructure services that a central agency publishes may differ from those available in the market. Department-facing services are often A well-planned agency approach that works effectively within the government structure and has a clear transition plan produces results within a couple of years. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND acquired as part of a bundle, or because of a transformation where the agency owns the financial risk. Departments may be less interested in supply-side unit costs and more interested in per-user IT costs and matching IT costs to business outcomes. All service unit costs should be attributable to one or more departments. This is straightforward when there is a one-toone matching between users and the services consumed but when platforms are shared or some services underpin other user-facing services, this clarity is lost. The packages must ensure an allocation of service-tower costs for shared elements. After transforming current-state services for IT infrastructure, the next challenge is articulating future-state services. Instead of defining these services, central agencies should focus on articulating high-level target-state requirements. They highlight the relative prioritisation of emerging technology trends, as well as the change in user segments and their needs. This may seem to contradict the traditional advice of locking down service definitions as early as possible. While definitions are key in addressing current services, they are needlessly time-consuming and distracting when it comes to target-state services. Predicting the direction of technical services is difficult, especially in a multi-stakeholder environment, with a high risk of locking into technologies that might be inefficient in the long term, and the greater proliferation of technical silos. A more effective strategy is to focus on target-state requirements to help suppliers understand the direction the central agency is heading and to signal a business-outcomes focus. Short-term service needs, such as logical next steps for current and ongoing projects, should be clearly articulated. These needs should be positioned as directional, using the breadth of market capabilities to bring a fresh perspective to the business problems that these technical solutions are attempting to solve. THE JOURNEY TO DIGITAL GOVERNMENT To function with technology that is as seamless as citizens are accustomed to in the commercial world, governments must take a service-centric approach. Smartly providing IT services helps governments overcome slim capital resources, sluggish economies, and the reticence of sceptical departments and agencies to create a more cohesive system. A well-planned agency approach that works effectively within the government structure and has a clear transition plan produces results within a couple of years. Understanding the market by using collaborative procurement models and competitive service contracts with vendors should allow for flexibility as technology and the government’s specific technology needs evolve – to create a digital government that serves a country, province or municipality well for years to come. S REFERENCES 1 United Nations E-Government Survey 2012: E-Government for the People 2; 3 A service tower is a logical grouping of services. For example, a tower of end-user services includes desktop management, printer management, email, and collaboration tools. 4 Processing: server, middleware, as well as security and data centre management. Storage: various management forms (storage area network, network-attached or direct-attached storage) and backup and recovery. End-user: desktop management and collaboration, including email, video conferencing, and messaging. Network: local area network, wide area network, or a metropolitan area network management. THREATS LINKED TO DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES State-funded cyber warfare includes public sector and corporate espionage as well as hacking. Geopolitics is currently playing out in the cyber arena. State-sponsored hackers have been breaking into shipbuilding facilities looking for ice-breaker ship technology/schematics in their race for the Arctic, while other players have been targeting Covid-19 vaccination research. There are continued attacks between India and Pakistan from a cyber-warfare perspective. In South Africa, cyber hacking of high-profile politically exposed individuals remains is a major threat. Organised crime is managed by profit-driven corporations who set up specialised divisions for malware software development, distribution networks and money collection. Operations are expanded by identifying channel partners to distribute their malware for a share of the proceeds (of the total return of investment – 400%). Activists hacking examples are Blueleaks who leaked the personal information of 700 000 law enforcement officers; Anonymous hacked 485 Chinese government websites to protest citizen harassment (2012); the Arab Spring cyber-attacks against the SABC for not airing country- wide protests (2016) and attacks on the 2014 football World Cup sponsors by those against Brazil hosting the event. Insiders (employees and third-party service providers) for personal gain, revenge or by recruitment. A growing segment is “accidental” insiders who unwittingly expose data and/or back doors into their systems. Intellectual property (IP) theft is on the rise by executives leaving organisations. There has been an increase in Anton Piller orders relating to IP theft (a court order that requires the defendant to permit the plaintiff to enter the defendant’s premises to obtain evidence essential to the plaintiff’s case). Service magazine | 25

Copied successfully!

Other recent publications by Global Africa Network: