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Aligning digital, data and ICT investment to digital public service outcomes

Understand the investment principles that your digital, data or information and communication technology (ICT) initiative must align with to achieve good digital outcomes.

The Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) and the Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS) have developed a set of investment principles to support government organisations in their development of digital and data investments.

5 investment principles

Purpose of the investment principles

The investment principles provide a mechanism to encourage and support the submission of initiatives which:

  • come together as a coherent suite that avoids duplication and aligns with the agreed strategic direction for the digital and data system
  • consider the extent to which an initiative delivers value beyond a single agency — in other words, a ‘system win’
  • provide important component parts needed to address critical system gaps and build the digital and data system in a sustainable and enduring way.

While these principles form a framework that is used to assess budget bids, the GCDO and GCDS recommend that government organisations use the principles for any digital or data investment they may be considering.

Engage early

Digital, data and ICT initiatives

If your investment initiative contains significant components of digital, data or information and communication technology (ICT), it’s important to get advice and engage early with the Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) and/or the Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS).

The roles of the GCDO and GCDS are to:

  • help to ensure any future ICT investment is targeted, efficient and value for money
  • provide advice to government’s Budget decision makers on how well proposed initiatives fit the criteria necessary to be successful using the digital, data and ICT investment principles
  • help to identify where government organisations could benefit from coordination and collaboration using existing forums like the Digital Government Partnership working groups.

Predominantly data-focussed initiatives

The GCDS supports government organisations in the development of initiatives that are predominantly data focussed to ensure a strong system focus.

This support includes providing:

Note: A refreshed Data Strategy and Road Map will be released before the end of 2021.

Choose a category for your investment initiative

It’s helpful to determine which investment category or categories your initiative fits under as these categories are used when assessing and prioritising budget bids.

5 categories of digital, data and ICT investments

Service delivery

Initiatives that fall under the service delivery investment category are core systems and tools for delivering or managing services to customers, including:

  • customer relationship management
  • case management
  • static websites
  • customer-facing applications and portals
  • contact centre / help desk
  • statutory registers and record systems
  • collection and payment systems
  • Geospatial Information System (GIS)
  • workforce management
  • emergency management
  • multi-function line of business.

It’s also important to consider the impact a digital investment may have on data — for example, in terms of security, privacy, storage, capability and access.

Information and data services

Initiatives that fall under the information and data services investment category include those that:

  • have a significant data component
  • have a significant information management element
  • look to share data
  • provide data related insights
  • use data for innovation
  • are about a system that supports the management of data, including:
    • business intelligence
    • data warehouse
    • enterprise content management
    • intranets and knowledge bases
    • legacy systems kept live for records management.

Corporate (back office)

Initiatives that fall under the corporate category are systems that support corporate functions, including:

  • payroll
  • Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS)
  • Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs)
  • facilities management
  • travel booking
  • procurement
  • project and portfolio management.

It’s also important to consider the impact a digital investment may have on data, for example security, privacy, storage, capability and access.

Digital foundations and infrastructure

Initiatives that fall under the digital foundations and infrastructure category are enabling digital technologies, including:

  • digital government platforms
  • identity and access management services
  • end-user computing
  • networks
  • system integration
  • security services
  • servers and storage.

It’s also important to consider the impact a digital investment may have on data, for example security, privacy, storage, capability and access.

Specialist

Initiatives that fall under the specialist category are those involving specialised hardware, including the software operating this hardware — for example, medical equipment, passport printers, police radio network, customs X-ray scanners or air traffic control systems.

The hardware is likely to be unique to an agency or to only a few agencies across government.

It’s also important to consider the impact a specialist investment may have on data, for example security, privacy, storage, capability and access.

Ensure your initiative aligns with the investment principles

Make sure your initiative aligns with the investment principles for the category or categories it falls under. These principles help guide which projects will be prioritised by the government’s Budget decision makers.

Service delivery investment principle

Your initiative is more likely to be prioritised if it:

  • prioritises the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs) to expose business functions, rules and data
  • uses innovation and design thinking to solve complex problems, including:
    • taking a collaborative approach by co-designing and co-delivering solutions across sectors and clusters[Footnote 1]
    • prototyping solutions that can be scaled around customer-centric outcomes
    • adopting digital technologies and components to enable flexibility and to deliver value for money
    • valuing consistency through utilising government digital and data standards and guidance — for example, identity and digital design standards
    • investing in flexible and reusable systems, components and rules, and including design considerations for responding to changing business, environment and government priorities.

Information and data services investment principle

Your initiative is more likely to be prioritised if it:

  • focusses on the development of an enabling data system, as described by the Data Investment Framework, that prioritises investment in any of the following Budget focus areas:
    • the delivery of data and analytics for decision making, with an emphasis on meaningful measures of progress that deliver value to address current government priorities, and that seek to enhance capability in the use of data for policy and decision making
    • the design of data for system re-use, where a system mindset and culture ensures that the environment for data is designed with all-of-government needs in mind, with an emphasis on a shared process for the collection of common data variables, and a common approach to embedding te ao Māori perspectives about data into the way data is managed and used
    • stewardship of the system to ensure that the moving parts and key actors enable a system where activity builds on existing and parallel work to add value, and where theres an emphasis on supporting data system outcomes and infrastructure.

Corporate (back office) investment principle

Your initiative is more likely to be prioritised if it:

  • standardises back office functions under the all-of-government common process model
  • invests in a fit-for-purpose solution, considering the scale and size of the solution and the functionality it offers
  • uses existing all-of-government contracts or commodity services and takes a collaborative system procurement approach.

Digital foundations and infrastructure investment principle

Your initiative is more likely to be prioritised if it:

  • is supported by multiple agencies to create system assets or enablers
  • invests in components for a digital public service — for example, digital identity, marketplaces, service innovation labs
  • prefers cloud-based infrastructure services or all-of-government common capabilities when investing in ICT infrastructure or telecommunications.

Note: Capital (or asset ownership) investment in infrastructure will only be supported by exception — for example, when the underlying infrastructure to support a key system is owned by the agency for reasons of national security or critical service delivery.

Specialist investment principle

The considerations for specialist initiatives are on a case-by-case basis.

Note: Investments that extend legacy business models and technology assets will not be prioritised. Exceptions may exist for critical systems that require investment to prevent imminent system failure or loss of significant service delivery.

Checklist when developing an initiative for a budget bid

Make sure you can demonstrate that:

  • your initiative aligns with the digital, data and ICT investment principles
  • your initiative fits within the priority of initiatives from an overall system perspective
  • your proposed solution is achievable and can be delivered when taking into consideration market and workforce constraints
  • you have a sound delivery approach
  • your organisation is ready and has the digital and data maturity to deliver your solution.

Get advice

Advisors in the GCDO and the GCDS teams can help you understand the relative priority of initiatives from an overall system perspective using existing frameworks like the Data Investment Framework, where appropriate.

Email:

Background to the investment principles

In 2018, the Minister for Government Digital Services and the Minister of Finance began work to develop an all-of-government system view of ICT spending to ensure any future ICT investment is targeted, efficient and value for money.

The investment principles were presented for Budget 2020 by the Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) and the Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS), jointly with Treasury.

In 2019, Cabinet endorsed the investment principles. In 2020, the principles were refreshed and endorsed by the Digital Government Leadership Group.

Ongoing development of the principles

The investment principles will continue to evolve over the coming years and be applied to both existing baseline and to new Budget investment, resulting in more coordinated and efficient investment.

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