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Tech Sector and GCIO Team commit to work together for a better NZ


At the December 2016 meeting between the leading tech sector representative groups; NZTech, NZRise, ITP and the team from the Department of Internal Affairs GCIO office, the focus was on how to make 2017 a year with a more purposeful interaction.

The tech bodies have been meeting with GCIO regularly for the last two years, taking the concerns of the industry direct to Government.  This also includes regular meetings with Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dunne.

While the interactions with the Minister have been very positive, there has been a growing sense of frustration at the department’s response to some issues previously raised by industry, including getting timely updates on key activities.  It was encouraging for these issues to be well addressed at this meeting and a commitment made to openly communicating on these and other issues.

It was a welcome decision to develop a more strategic NZ Inc focused framework around the interaction between the GCIO and the tech sector.  As was a strong verbal commitment from the DIA for more regular, collaborative communications that can be shared beyond meetings.

The agenda also covered New Zealand’s progress within the D5, the government’s programme for accelerating cloud adoption, an update on the cloud marketplace and plans for improving communications.

New Zealand and the D5

The D5, a self-selected grouping of the five most digital governments, has spent the past 18 months fleshing out its existence and moving from a concept to an active group with a purpose.  At the recent meeting in Busan, South Korea, the D5 charter was reaffirmed and signed off formally by the Ministers from the D5 nations.  At the summit, Minister Dunne delivered a speech highlighting New Zealand’s move to a citizen centric approach.

During the summit, the Presidency of the D5 was passed to New Zealand until the next summit, in New Zealand in February 2018.  The Busan Summit also stood up five working groups that will spend the next 15 months working together on:

  1. Digital Identity; how to assert digital identity across borders
  2. Digital government operating models
  3. Developing digital leaders in government
  4. Building a digital workforce in government
  5. The digital needs of the citizen; putting the citizen in the centre of digital service

According to the GCIO team, a standout feature of the Busan Summit was the engagement of the local industry in an event to showcase local govtech.  While only an idea at this stage, we’re hoping to collaborate with the GCIO team on the creation of an event around the New Zealand D5 Summit in February 2018, perhaps building on the February 2017 NZTech Advance Government & Technology Summit.

The GCIO team has also committed to connect the work within the D5 around skills development with the sector’s Digital Skills Forum.

Accelerating Cloud

The update on the government’s plan to accelerate cloud adoption began with recognition that this is fundamentally a change management programme rather than a tech focused programme.  The GCIO has set up an active steering group from across agencies to help drive this change in approach, encouraging all agencies to develop the use of cloud within their various business unit plans.

The Cloud Marketplace

The largest project within the Cloud First strategy is the development of a government cloud marketplace.  The driver behind this is to help reduce the friction for agencies to adopt cloud products.  The approach is very much a minimal viable product approach (MVP) in order to rapidly gain a live marketplace and to encourage agency confidence while the marketplace grows.  A number of concerns have been raised by industry about this programme, especially with regards to the timing.  While it is 18 months into the project, the intention is to procure a marketplace platform, implement it, spread the word to both industry and government agencies, gain industry buy-in, implement APIs in cloud products being listed, sort out and publish costing models and determine a security framework – all in essentially 6 months (given the Christmas period).

The industry bodies also reiterated the lack of communications to date.  While the GCIO has participated in a presentation series with industry, there is no information available to date to either industry or Government agencies, which also significantly increases the risk around the initiative.

Officials at the meeting assured us that through close working relationships and a series of meetings with Australian and UK counterparts undertaking similar projects, the GCIO has taken into account a full range of potential pricing models.  Other matters were being considered and a more detailed update would be forthcoming, alongside a more coordinated communications plan.

The GCIO has also simplified the marketplace to only include Cloud-based “products” rather than “services”.  While technically everything in the Cloud world is a service, the meaning is “off the shelf” cloud products rather than those with consulting or other service built into the model.

The GCIO also noted they had run two proof of concepts in recent months which have involved a number of tech firms.  The GCIO is looking to release an RFP for providers in February for contracting, with the implementation of a MVP in the second half of 2017.  The plan is for the marketplace to go live and then continue to iterate and improve.

Getting the Story Out

The meeting wrapped up with a discussion about the benefits of more proactive and regular communications from the GCIO team across all of these subjects and more.    There is a commitment for a more proactive approach to sharing the work being undertaken by the New Zealand government to use technology to make New Zealand a better place for its citizens and companies.

The tech sector groups are looking forward to a better flow of information from the GCIO and to working closely to help get the story out.

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