Queensland’s decision to revisit the state’s troubled CorpTech is symptomatic of a broader reconsideration of shared service provision across Australia’s public sector.

Despite this, continued expansion in client expectations across local, state and federal government will drive ongoing opportunities for the local ICT industry.

Significant industry attention has focused on the announcement by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh’s that the state will revise attempts to centralise back-of-office IT functions within CorpTech, in the wake of an Attorney-General’s report castigating the shared service provider for its hand in Queensland Health’s recent payroll fiasco. Bligh has indicated that the state’s efforts will be redirected towards a more flexible approach, combining ‘hubs’ of shared services for smaller agencies with tailored solutions for larger so-called ‘mega’ departments.

At its heart, this change of tack by Brisbane reflects growing awareness across the Australian public sector of a tension between top-down pressures for efficiency savings, and grass-roots customer and client demands for individualised, even personalised, services.

As New South Wales has discovered while wrestling with the transition to its combined Health Support Services, and Western Australia with regards to its mammoth bid to centralise the platforms for 120 state agencies, cost-effective solutions are elusive and purported silver-bullet solutions frequently reveal themselves in time to be deeply problematic.

In spite of the involvement of industry heavyweights such as IBM and Oracle, procurement decision-makers are increasingly recognising that service synthesis cannot be driven solely through existing generic platforms. Rather, the application of robust centralised architecture must be tempered by solutions tailored to the unique demands of specific business, stakeholder and citizen expectations.

This suggests ongoing opportunities for the Australia ICT private sector to better leverage its regional experience and awareness of local consumer demands.