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Ministry of Education denies ICT project blowouts, points to changes in scope

Ministry of Education denies ICT project blowouts, points to changes in scope

Cabinet mandated changes to one project while another received an authorised funding increase after full scoping

Ministry of Education says there were no budget blowouts in two key ICT projects.

Ministry of Education says there were no budget blowouts in two key ICT projects.

Two Ministry of Education ICT projects appear to be over budget, but the Ministry says additional spending was authorised to cover scope changes and complexity.

The Ministry's annual review by Parliament showed its Helios school property management project, with an original 2009 budget of $7.7 million, costed at $21.7 million.

Another project, the Education Sector Logon system (ESL) which was originally budgeted at $6.9 million is now costed at $16.7 million.

The Ministry told Reseller News that Helios, which stores data about school property, improves forecasting of future infrastructure needs across the entire school estate and supports decision making about how much to invest and where.

The main application is provided by the Tribal Group, with some additional components developed by Ministry staff.

"Cabinet wanted the project modified extensively to enhance the role played by the Ministry in the management of school property," a spokesperson said.

"It was also necessary to ensure Helios aligned with new health and safety reforms, and the learnings from Novopay were built into the project."

 As a result, Cabinet approved a new budget for $21.7 million.

"So it’s not correct to say Helios is over budget The scope of Helios changed at Cabinet’s direction."

Helios went live in 2016 and closed under budget at $19.28 million, the Ministry said.

The ESL system manages access for teachers and administrators to applications using a single username and password, the Ministry said.

"It comprises around 70,000 user accounts and provides access to 22 applications that are critical to the operation of all educational institutions."

ESL involves several vendors, Ministry staff and contracted resources.

Microsoft provides an “Identity and Access Management Broker” hosted on its Microsoft Azure cloud service while Datacom designed and implemented a component called "Sector IAM", delivered through the Department of Internal Affairs.

Sector IAM was built for the education sector leveraging the government's RealMe identity and access management service and, the Ministry said, complements the public-facing RealMe Logon and Identity Verification services.

"The ESL project had an initial budget set aside of $6.9 million to scope out an upgrade," the Ministry said.

"After detailed analysis, the scope identified greater complexity and increased duration, as a result the approved budget to upgrade ESL increased to $16.7 million.

"Again, it’s not correct to say the ESL project is over budget."

 


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