Total Pageviews

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

CPC: Incompetance beyond belief

Built to crash: The ugly, sputtering beginning of Shared Services, and how politics conspired against it

Liseanne Forand really didn’t know what to expect. On Aug. 4, 2011 she was making her way on foot to Phase III of the Gatineau office complex known as Place du Portage.
A career bureaucrat, Forand had, the day before, been appointed president of Shared Services Canada — a new federal department that would manage the government’s email, data centres and telecommunications.
Her mandate — representing about one-third of the federal government’s $5-billion-a-year technology services budget — was breathtaking in its scope and complexity. She was to simultaneously streamline and modernize the government’s electronic backbone, and keep the old gear running. Sixty-three email systems would be collapsed into one. More than 500 data centres were to be decommissioned, to be replaced by a mere handful. Fifty telecommunications networks connecting 3,500 federal buildings were to be upgraded. 
Forand was to do this with staff cobbled together from 43 different departments. But on this day, she had no office, and the paperwork had been approved for just 1,200 of an eventual 6,000 employees.
As she entered Phase III, she was surprised, seemingly touched, to see that a small army of government workers had gathered in the main foyer to greet her. 
After introductions, she was escorted to the 17th floor. There, Forand found a temporary office. She sat down and began making lists of things to do.
As Forand tapped out her notes, Public Services minister Rona Ambrose and Treasury Board president Tony Clement were in the National Press Theatre, directly across from Parliament’s venerable West Block.
Ambrose said she and Clement were there to introduce “new measures that will improve the efficiency of information technology services.” Shared Services would lead this effort, Ambrose said, and generate “substantial savings” through economies of scale.
It was up to Forand to flesh out a strategy that had little substance at launch.
Not that a more detailed plan would have mattered.
What Forand didn’t realize was that the seeds of failure were already being sown. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was preparing a government-wide spending strategy that would hobble Shared Services before it could even get going.

No comments:

Post a Comment