Moving Forward SSC ICT Sector Engagement Process


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Part 2 of SSC's ITIR Discussions.

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Moving Forward SSC ICT Sector Engagement Process

  1. 1. Moving Forward: SSC ICT Sector Engagement ProcessContextFollowing a series of consultations with associations in the information andcommunications technology (ICT) sector, Shared Services Canada (SSC) has identifiedfive possible areas for further work. SSC believes that these areas of work will help thedepartment achieve its transformation objectives for the Government of Canada’sinformation technology (IT) infrastructure, while also addressing items of interest froman ICT sector perspective. SSC wants to ensure that it develops a long termrelationship with the ICT sector that is substantive and sustainable.Clear outcomes for some of these areas of work have been proposed. In other cases,SSC needs to further explore how to best move forward. SSC has sought feedbackfrom all associations that participated in the consultation process on these areas of workand the proposed approach for moving forward has been endorsed.SSC has received preliminary feedback from other government departments on thediscussions that it held with associations. The input from associations is consistent withthe type of commentary that other departments have heard from the ICT sector inrecent years. SSC’s discussions with associations represent a specific point in time anddo not necessarily reflect steps that have been taken in other departments to addressprocess gaps or other problem areas. In particular, PWGSC feels that there may be alag between some association views and initiatives that PWGSC has recentlyintroduced to improve the procurement process.SSC will continue to be driven by its guiding principles (see below) that were developedat the outset of this engagement process.• Fairness, transparency, inclusiveness and integrity are the foundation of our value system.• Market-based competition is the best vehicle to deliver the most efficient, effective and highest value solutions.• The current federal government policy framework governs our execution.• Portfolio and individual project risk will be managed at all times.• Our horizon is biased towards the future.• Leading edge innovation will be an important determinant in assessing alternative solutions.
  2. 2. 2    Areas of WorkA. IT Infrastructure RoundtableAn early, open and ongoing consultation between the Government of Canada and theICT sector has been identified as key to a “win-win” relationship. Historically, theGovernment of Canada has tended to engage industry after decisions were made.However, meaningful consultations and open dialogue have shown to be more effectiveif they occur early in the process in order to affect or influence an outcome.SSC places a high premium on outside advice as a touchstone for validatingapproaches and providing guidance on complex issues. SSC also needs to be able tokeep pace with the best industry solutions while achieving value for money, soundstewardship, innovation and service excellence. Trying to strike that balance anddeliver through new and different sourcing approaches can be challenging.To support ongoing substantive consultation, SSC will establish a quarterly mechanismfor dialogue with the ICT sector – the IT Infrastructure Roundtable (ITIR). Leadingtechnology innovators will form an important component of ITIR’s membership.The purpose of this consultative body will be to discuss the long term IT transformationagenda for the Government of Canada; emerging technologies in the marketplace; firstuse technologies; provide progress reports on other key initiatives within government(e.g., Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program); and future directions forinnovation.B. Government of Canada Architecture FrameworkSSC agrees with the feedback from the ICT sector that reference architectures are abest practice tool in managing technology diversity while promoting interoperability,standardization and cost management. Additionally, SSC in cooperation with itsgovernment partners (Communications Security Establishment Canada and TreasuryBoard of Canada Secretariat), needs a modern information security architecture tounderpin our forward work on cyber security.Moving forward, SSC proposes to work with the sector, and in partnership with theTreasury Board of Canada Secretariat, to establish a Government of CanadaArchitecture Framework with layered domains for security, data, applications andtechnologies (e.g., platforms, networks and middleware). The Framework would bereviewed annually and its inaugural publication would be targeted for April 2013. Thespecific vehicle to accomplish this work could take the form of a Government ofCanada / ICT sector working group that would:a. identify best practices in establishing and adopting reference architectures and standards in the ICT industry in Canada while encouraging compliance; and
  3. 3. 3    b. identify and encourage adoption of technical standards, as well as the appropriate use and development of product-based reference architectures that support standardization and interoperability while simultaneously encouraging innovation and competition.It will be important to strike the right balance in the development of a Government ofCanada Architecture Framework. The Framework will need to have sufficient precisionto be a useful reference tool while not unintentionally limiting innovative solutions as aresult of being overly prescriptive.C. Supporting Innovative Canadian EnterprisesSSC has a keen interest in spurring innovation so that it can access the besttechnologies available to meet its transformation needs while ensuring value for moneyand service excellence. In particular, SSC would like to create a forum to furtherexamine the procurement limitations faced by Canadian ICT companies developingintellectual property. SSC believes that the significance of the economic value that iscreated as a result of these solutions has not always been well understood withingovernment.As a new federal organization with a mandate in the IT field, SSC has a uniqueopportunity to lead a dialogue on supporting Canadian enterprises, and in particularsmall and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, there are other measureswithin the Government of Canada that will also contribute to addressing these issues.Economic Action Plan 2012 announced a number of initiatives in support of innovation.• Support innovation through procurement by connecting SMEs with federal departments and agencies to build their capacity to compete in the marketplace.• Refocus the National Research Council on demand-driven business oriented research that will help Canadian businesses develop innovative products and services.• Further explore recommendations from the Jenkins Expert Panel, in particular options to consolidate the suite of programs that supports business innovation to make it easier for businesses to access government support and improve efficiency.• An additional $95 million over three years, starting in 2013–14, and $40 million per year thereafter to make the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program permanent and to add a military procurement component.SSC proposes to work with its federal counterparts to explore possible models foradvancing a dialogue on the procurement limitations faced by Canadian ICT companiesdeveloping intellectual property.
  4. 4. 4    D. Procurement BenchmarksSSC agrees that there is room for improvement with respect to the execution ofgovernment-wide procurement and that business outcomes need to drive procurementactivity. SSC will adopt best practices with respect to focusing on outcomes andavoiding over-prescriptive specifications, as well as fairness monitors for large Requestfor Proposals’.Timely and effective procurement processes are a critical component of SSC’stransformation journey and are also important to the ICT sector. Lengthy, protractedand litigious process is costly and harmful for both business and government.SSC will consider adopting a performance benchmark which stipulates that allprocurements need to be completed in a given period of time (e.g., less than twelvemonths). In cases where a contracting process is likely to exceed the twelve monthperiod, the cause for delay will be examined and SSC will cancel the process if thecause cannot be addressed and the contract awarded in reasonable timeframes. As itmoves forward, SSC will explore other potential performance benchmarks forprocurement to ensure it is less costly and faster for all parties.E. “Right” SourcingAs part of its ICT sector consultations, SSC asked for feedback on sourcing models.SSC agrees that it will be important to articulate the department’s views on “right”sourcing for the Government of Canada’s IT infrastructure services. By April 2013, SSCcommits that it will provide declarative statements on the sourcing models it will pursuefor email, data centres and telecommunications. Specifically, the department will outlinethe components of its IT infrastructure services that could potentially be considered foroutsourcing and will also outline those components that will be managed directly withinthe Government of Canada.SSC believes that this type of information will help the ICT sector to better position itselfand plan for potential opportunities to work with the department. This approach alsoprovides SSC with the ability to better work with its current employees and those of thefuture.