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Steady spending slow progress for government ICT

Posted on August 23, 2011

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Public Sector ICT spending is on the rise, but government still lacks a national
vision for technology's role in service delivery.

The South Arican government is steadily ramping up its investment in ICT,
although progress on many key projects that were meant to transform the
country's public sector remains agonisingly slow. A changing political landscape,
a beleaguered State IT Agency (Sita) and a shortage of key technology skills have
all hampered the progress on projects such as the National Treasury's Integrated
Financial Management System (IFMS) and the Department of Home Affairs' 'Who
Am I Online?' project some 15 years after they were initiated... read more >>

The public sector will account for nearly a quarterof the $11.5 Billion in it spending
expected in South Africa during 2011, according to IDC.

But government spending isn't as easy to tap as it once was, with the public sector becoming a more discerning buyer. "The recession has had an adverse effect on government spending across the world," says Ahmed Simjee, client executive at IBM South Africa. "Governments are expected to do more with less. Vendors have to be creative and help government get more value out of its IT."

Industry observers say a lack of a national strategy for ICT in government means systems remain fragmentedm, with little coordination between departments that could benefit from sharing information.

"By working with the private sector in PPPS, Government
benefits from a fixed-price for labour and IT Services."

Logistics Management System, which are used by most government departments to run their back-office functions. "When completed, the IFMS will consolidate and renew government's back office applications," Ramlal says. By replacing the older systems with modern technology, the National Treasury hopes government will be able to reduce costs and improve service delivery. The integration challenges are immense since government is mixing and matching packaged software such as the SAP HR solution with custom developed applications such as the asset management module. Government argues that its needs are so unique and complex that no single off-the-shelf solution could met more >>

"There is a rising demand for service delivery from the public"

Technology has a massive role to play in even the most underdeveloped rural areas, says Bouwer. The high penetration rate of cellular phones means e-government services needn't be for the rich and middle-class alone since simple text messaging services can be used to interact with people who don't have access to more >>