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Archived - Government of Canada to Reduce Information Technology Costs and Save Taxpayers' Dollars

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GATINEAU, Quebec, August 4, 2011 — On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, along with the Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, today announced measures to streamline and identify savings in Information Technology (IT) through Shared Services Canada.

“Canadians work hard for their money and expect our Government to manage taxpayers dollars responsibly,” said Minister Ambrose. “Shared Services Canada will have a mandate to streamline IT, save money, and end waste and duplication.”

“The top priority of our Government is ensuring that our economy remains strong while we continue on our plan to return to balanced budgets,” said Minister Clement. “This is why we are squarely focused on finding savings for taxpayers and implementing the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.”

The Clerk of the Privy Council, Wayne Wouters, said that this will help “the Public Service streamline and modernize our administrative services. Through new business models, we are renewing the organization as a whole and supporting innovation and excellence across the Public Service.”

The Government has over 100 different email systems, over 300 data centres, and over 3,000 network services within the Federal Public Service. This is inefficient and wasteful. The Government will move to one email system, reduce the overall number of data centres from 300 to less than 20, and streamline electronic networks within and between government departments. This will improve services to Canadians, make IT more secure and reliable, and save taxpayers’ dollars in line with the Government of Canada’s plan to return to balanced budgets.

All resources associated with the delivery of email, data centre and network services are being transferred from 44 of the more IT-intensive departments and agencies to a new entity called Shared Services Canada.  These departments and agencies will no longer provide these services internally. Rather, the services will be provided by Shared Services Canada.

Minister Ambrose will be responsible for Shared Services Canada, which will be part of the PWGSC portfolio. The President of the new entity was also appointed by the Prime Minister today, and will be leading this consolidation and transformation initiative.

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For more information, media may contact:

Michelle Bakos
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
819-997-5421

Heather Hume
Office of the President of the Treasury Board
613-957-2666

Media Relations
Public Works and Government Services Canada
819-956-2315

PWGSC news releases are also available on our Internet site at http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/medias-media/index-eng.html.

 

BACKGROUNDER

Shared Services Canada

Fact Sheet: Shared Services Canada

Information Technology (IT) is essential to support daily federal government operations and deliver services to Canadians, but it costs taxpayers more than it should.

Presently, each department of government sets up and runs its own IT infrastructure. This results in fragmentation, duplication and inefficiencies. Consolidating and streamlining email, data centre and network services will improve service and save money.

The Government of Canada is building on proven models.

Other governments and private sector companies have demonstrated that streamlining and consolidating in the areas of email, data centres and networks is the smart thing to do. They are reporting substantial savings and efficiencies. For instance:

  • The Government of Ontario launched its IT transformation initiative in 1998. It reports that at maturity it saves $100 million annually, representing 10% of the total IT spending, and between 20–25% of IT infrastructure spending.
  • The Government of British Columbia began its IT consolidation in 2002 and has reduced its data centres from over 100 to 2 in 2011. It further reports that energy costs are expected to be 50% lower.
  • In 2010, the United States government announced that it is working on reducing its 2,100 data centres by at least 800 by 2015.
  • The Government of Australia has developed a data centre strategy to consolidate data centres, which support over a hundred agencies, from 2010 to 2025. That government reports that it anticipates avoiding $1 billion in future costs.

Shared Services Canada is being created to transform and get better value for money from Information Technology services across the federal government.  Led by the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, Shared Services Canada will be mandated to streamline and reduce duplication in the Government’s IT services.

Within the next two months, Shared Services Canada will consolidate the existing resources and personnel relating to email, data centres and networks and associated internal services from 44 departments and agencies. These organizations are the more IT-intensive in the Government of Canada. This will enable Shared Services Canada to manage and transform IT infrastructure such as email, data centres and networks at a whole-of-government level, drawing on significant economies of scale. Where it makes sense to do so, we will pursue public-private partnerships to deliver these services, and will use the government’s purchasing power to get the best possible prices from the private sector.

Through this initiative the Government will:

  • produce savings and reduce the government’s footprint;
  • strengthen security and the safety of government data to ensure Canadians are protected; and
  • make it more cost-effective to modernize IT services.

Business Priorities of Shared Services Canada

Email
The Government has over 100 different email systems for federal government employees. This is inefficient and wasteful.

  • There is no standard for email across the Government of Canada, making it difficult for ordinary Canadians to find the people they need to contact and for public servants to conduct their work. There should be a standard email system and more easily accessible government directory to contact public servants.
  • The email systems are also not fully compatible. While approximately 80% of departments use Microsoft Outlook, 15% use Lotus Notes, and 5% use Novell Groupwise for their email system, departments have different versions, and have adopted a variety of rules and practices. This results in fragmentation and higher costs.
  • The operation of multiple email systems across the government also means that departments are negotiating and maintaining separate licenses, and have their own technical support teams in place. This duplication is very costly, and unnecessary.
  • Having so many email systems also means that email is less secure than it should be. It is imperative that the Government of Canada move to a single standard for email.

Shared Services Canada will move the government to one email system. This will save money and make it easier to reach federal government employees.

Data Centres
The Government has over 300 data centres across the country, which store data and computing equipment for departments. This is not reliable, nor economical.

  • In some data centres, there’s a lot of excess computing capacity that’s barely used. Other data centres are straining to meet demand.
  • Each data centre has different reliability and security standards.
  • The Auditor General raised concerns about aging IT in her spring 2010 report. In particular, she noted that many IT systems are “supported by old infrastructure and are at risk of breaking down. A breakdown would have wide and severe consequences—at worst, the government could no longer conduct its business and deliver services to Canadians.”
  • Older data centres are also less energy efficient than newer ones, as they have out-of-date heating and cooling systems, which cost a lot and are wasteful in terms of energy use.

Shared Services Canada will save taxpayer dollars by reducing the overall number of Government of Canada data centres, and make sure they’re robust, secure and energy efficient. Over the medium term, this means reducing the number of data centres from over 300 to less than 20. This will save taxpayers’ money, be good for the public service and good for the environment.

Networks
Across the federal government, there are over 3,000 overlapping and uncoordinated electronic networks within and between departments and agencies.

  • As Shared Services Canada streamlines and renews data centres, it will also be streamlining the networks that link data centres together. This will lead to further efficiencies and savings.
  • In addition, many government buildings house several departments. Instead of having one network for the building, each department has its own network.
  • For example, Place du Portage in the National Capital Region, the Dominion Building in PEI, Canada Place in Alberta, and the Guy Favreau Complex in Quebec all have several departments, and several different networks. The Guy Favreau Complex, for instance, has 9 different networks.
  • This is inefficient and difficult to maintain. The Government can save money by planning better and building networks once, and by serving many departments at the same time.
  • The Government will also be more secure. Having an organized, coordinated system of electronic networks means that it will be easier to detect and address security problems. Canadians can rest assured that sensitive information will be better protected.

Shared Services Canada will reduce the number of networks that connect to data centres, and streamline networks in Government buildings.


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