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Citizen today, July 2012 - Building Canada's government 2.0 - EY - Global

Citizen today, July 2012

Building Canada's government 2.0

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“This is the first ever IT department of the Government of Canada, so there has really been no previous example to look at.” Liseanne Forand, SSC President

Shared Services Canada was created to consolidate and transform the Canadian Government’s email, data center and network services. SSC’s President, Liseanne Forand discusses a hectic but rewarding year of progress.

Part of a broader plan to re-engineer its administrative services for a 21st century public service, the Canadian Government’s Shared Services Canada (SSC) aims to deliver long-term solutions to modernize the Government’s IT infrastructure.

For SSC President Liseanne Forand, it’s proved to be an exhilarating time. “Building a new organization within government and all that entails — attracting staff, establishing governance, leading the establishment of a service-oriented environment and instituting partnership engagement — has been really exciting,” she says.

SSC will transform the Government’s IT infrastructure in three key areas: email, data centers and networks. The goal is to consolidate as many as 100 email systems into one modern email platform for the Government of Canada, and more than 300 data centers into fewer than 20.

Moving to a single email platform for the Government of Canada is well under way.  “We aim to have this completed by April 2013, after which we expect it will take up to two years to roll out. This is going to be an exciting change for public servants,” says Forand.

The second initiative, the streamlining of the Canadian Government’s data centers, will be implemented in stages and will take about 6 years to roll out. Detailed and long-term planning will allow SSC to make use of common servers and technology, leveraging synergies and skills, instead of contracting for additional storage space and services.

“This is going to be a bigger job than email and obviously we have to plan really well going forward,” says Forand.

The third area of focus is the establishment of a consolidated government-wide IT network. Correcting what Forand describes as “a spaghetti of network connections” will be yet another challenging task.

“This is the first ever IT department of the Government of Canada, so there has really been no previous example to look at,” she points out. “The fact that 43 different departments have operated in their own individual way for many years just reinforces the value proposition of standardization — we’re learning that every day.”

But it is clear that despite the challenges, the new system is already delivering value. “No one before has had the chance to look across 43 departments in terms of IT incidents and to draw together the lessons learned,” she points out.

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