- Government and departmental strategic IT plans.
- Investment plans for IT with an oversight committee.
- The total cost of ownership (TCO) needs to be analyzed.
- Large projects can generate cost overruns that embarrass the government.
Mr. Job says that there are so many delays in procurement that systems get implemented quickly. Often the system does not integrate across multiple needs such as supporting financial and non-financial reporting requirements.
Mr. Job recommends that software should be thought of as an asset where there will be a limited life span. Upgrades will be needed. He also described many of the hidden costs that increase the total cost. Software effectiveness is 5 to 10 years. Computers are obsolete by the time they are put into place.
Cost overruns have been very embarrassing to the government. The practice in Canada for large projects is to hire a large systems integrator and a different integrator to provide oversight. Government departments are encouraged to buy standard systems. The cost for custom systems is very high and difficult to maintain. Mr. Job encourages government departments to use standard processes in the Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) software.
The Government of Canada has reduced the number of financial systems in use from over 50 to 7. Mr. Job expects that this will be reduced to 2 or 3 in the future.
The current systems in place in the Government of Canada do not generate the quarterly financial and non-financial reporting needed. Many IT systems have failed in the Government of Canada, as they have in many other countries. "Don't treat IT as a black box solution." Mr. Job says that "just like stimulus money, IT spending must be clearly managed, understood and explained to all."