SITA must reduce costs - DPSA

June 9, 2011 10:57 am 0 comments

State IT Agency (SITA) to reduce costs

As more government services are provided on the Internet, the State IT Agency (SITA) will have to provide wider service coverage through the government network and reduce costs, says the Department of Public Services and Administration (DPSA).

Speaking during his budget presentation to Parliament, Public Service and Administration minister, Richard Baloyi, noted that the agency would drive initiatives to ensure all government departments use the value-added services of the network.

“…The network costs must drastically be reduced whilst the government network utilisation is optimised. The optimal utilisation of the SITA Next Generation Network (NGN) must result in the reduction of overall voice and data costs,” he explained.

Baloyi noted that in terms of the turn-around strategy, the focus would be on reconciling the SITA performance profile with the objectives of its development.

“Through SITA, we will soon unveil an electronic mechanism for the declaration of interests by sms members,” he revealed.

Turning around

Baloyi noted that while the focus has been on the challenges the agency faced in the past, some positives had been achieved with the introduction of the turnaround strategy.

Following consultations with stakeholders, the agency revealed that some of the challenges which were highlighted included, poor service delivery; the absence of an integrated Customer Relationship Management approach; weak procurement processes; high cost and pricing models; high turnover of leadership at executive level and lack of core skills and poor governance leadership.

In April 2010 a full board of directors was appointed. This was followed by the selection of Khumbudzo Ntshavheni as Chief Operating Officer in November 2010 and Blake Mosley-Lefatola as CEO, in January 2011. The DPSA revealed that all outstanding executive appointments will be finalised during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Getting something right

“It should be noted that, whereas there has been so much talk on SITA challenges, which we are addressing as per the strategy, we can still refer to a record of service delivery,” Baloyi argued.

He noted that a telemedicine project is currently underway at the Department of Health and Department of Social Development in Limpopo. The project will see the upgrading of infrastructure for the utilisation of telemedicine equipment and facilities. Of the 14 sites identified, 10 have been upgraded.

Baloyi also revealed the national network upgrade program for the South African Police Service (SAPS) has made some progress . The integration of IT support functions have also been improved on the Active Directory at the Mpumalanga Department of Education.

Most recently, SITA hosted the Independent Electoral Commission’s call centre during the local government elections of 2011. He added that the development of a Master Systems Plan (MSP) for the Mpumalanga Department of Social Development was underway and phase one of the project would soon be completed.

Five out of the nine Integrated Finance Management System modules have been built or acquired and the agency was providing the Thusong Centres with connectivity.

The SITA Library Information Management System (SLIMS) has been implemented and the agency was on track to meet the deadline of Dec 2011 for full migration, Baloyi noted.

“In order to regain the lost confidence and to give space for the implementation of the turn-around strategy, we led consultation processes and we continue to do so with national and provincial government departments. Through these engagements, SITA is expanding its client base.”

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